OUR PICK: Gigabyte GTX 970
You can get yourself a kickass CPU and you’ll still complain why it isn’t pumping pixels out satisfactorily. After all, the graphic card IS considered to be the beating heart of your gaming PC.
Without it, well…let’s say you’re better off playing minesweeper. We selected few of the best GTX 970 options that’s deserving of going in your next PC.
Let’s talk real about GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970, people. I’ll tell you what I’ve examined since I had this delivered to my door. I honestly was expecting that the video card would be 16 inches long on the dot – considering Newegg claimed that it was.
Maybe I wasn’t sure what they were referring to, but it was 16 inches alright. Well, at least the box is. I tried to give the video card itself a rough estimation on how long it actually is, I’ve concluded it runs around 10-11 inches. It’s at least six inches wide, and three inches tall. But that doesn’t really bother me.
GIGABYE has made the fans face downward, which I think was intentional to hide the LEDs. But what really got me going is the card’s WINDFORCE logo – it lights up like a Christmas tree. Very pleasing to the eyes, and it generally looks super cool. Just for design and aesthetics, I’ll reward it with an additional point.
If you’re the type who enjoys tweaking things up, then its downloadable OC GURU II will give you a run for your money. It basically gives you the power to do whatever the hell you want – from changing the LED color, style, and even fan management (which has an automatic setting, BTW.)
The software is super easy to get around with. It offers quick and easy download, and it only takes a couple of second to figure out how everything works.
My first impression on the card’s weight was that it’s heavy, but the small details doesn’t really bother me. If anything, the weight adds its overall premium quality vibes. In addition, its back plate is pretty much well-made, so I have no complaints at all.
Although I do have some few comments on its overclocking capabilities. I doubt that this is what anyone would have expected it to be, it’s unable to make a considerable gap between when it has been OC and its factory OC.
In addition, I have some concern with its stated power supply. Although that they have stated that this comes in with a 500W power supply, it actually needs a hundred more. What I’m trying to say is that it requires a 600W power supply unit.
But aside from these minors concerns – hey, there’s no such thing as perfect card – I can honestly say that it’s one of the best cards to date. Its performance is definitely off the charts, and the price is worth the experience.
When we talk about ASUS, we’re talking about the big dogs in the industry. You see, in its time doing business, ASUS has no room for fooling around.
One of the best examples I can give you is GTX 970, which has been heavily incorporated with exclusive ASUS technologies.
I’m talking about its awesome DirectCU II that gives us the winning edge to win for any intense, action gaming.
What’s more is that it carries an impressive a 0dB fan technology. This is to ensure that you’ll be crushing your games in silence – you must admit, fan noises are often intolerable.
Although I’ve heard audible sounds at 70%, it’s quite understandable considering it had a H80 beside the video card, and not to mention the 4-case fans are there as well. So yeah, I wouldn’t blame it on the card itself.
But seriously, if you were using a 480 before you’ve upgraded to this monster, you’re going to fall in love with the upgrade.
The guys at ASUS were kind enough to give us a Blu-ray movie playback, which really works to keep the background noise at bay.
ASUS STRIX GeForce also follows an exclusive ASUS DIGI+ voltage-regulator module just for additional support. And when it comes to bringing in the big guns, they really outdid themselves, GeForce GTX 970 wouldn’t be complete without its 10-phase super alloy power parts.
The entire product is far from feeling inferior. This enhances its game points for added durability and cooling. It swoons you with its 4GB feature of amazing speed GDDR5 video memory.
Let’s talk about how cooler it is than with any other model – and technically speaking, ASUS claims that it’s approximately 30% cooler. Like I said, it has the advantage of silent gaming in the bag.
Purchasing GTX 970 means that you’re also getting yourself an exclusive 10mm heat pipe. Don’t worry, I didn’t just add the numbers just to make it sound fancy.
It carries a rather important role of transporting at least forty percent of heat away from the GPU. Yup, you know it – this is actually a FIRST for the industry!
As for its rad design, the makers decided to add in a 220%-larger heat-dissipation. Well, it’s just a fancy way of saying that it’s ultra-stable meant for hardcore gaming session.
Feel free to play your heart out, the fan has been programmed to stop completely when GPU temperature is below the set level. So, anyone up for League of Legends
If you haven’t heard of EVGA before – then you must be living under a rock. Either you’re Patrick Star OR you’re new to this whole gaming hubbub.
But it doesn’t matter, I’ll explain what makes this one of the BEST graphic cards out there.
Over the years of my experience with EVGA, it has never let me down. EVER. Just for your information, for every EVGA product I’ve tried in the past, it gave me a good number of 7 years in service.
With that being said, I’m not going to be biased and I’ll show you both the good and the bad. First thing’s first, it’s hella FAST. It’s impressive how it’s able to play 90% of games at 60 FPS.
If you’re curious, I was using a 1920x1080 monitor. So far, I find it hard to find a game that it can’t handle. In fact, The Witcher 3 worked beautifully with this thing. I haven't tried using this on a 1440p gaming monitor, but I might do a test run in the very near future.
There’s one thing I’m not a huge fan of – it’s freaking LOUD. You’ll hear an annoying BRRRRRRRR sound (which doesn’t sound, by the way.)
However, it doesn’t mean you can’t fix it. You can easily configure it to fix the problem. So before you start complaining, it’s going to need a bit of tweaking around.
Also, there’s no such thing as a coil whine in GTX 970 4GB SC. At least, that’s what I’ve experienced. On a working product, it’s in tiptop condition. What you might be hearing is coming from the loud fans.
You can get rid of it by saving the "Precision X" software. After which, just set it at 30%, and you’ll do fine. Although the sound isn’t completely eliminated, it isn’t as annoying anymore. It’s nothing that’ll bother you when you’re gaming.
Moving on, we have the cool posters and stickers to talk about. I’m all about the overall impact, and I can say it scored a good impression. But it isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, it has its own share of flaws.
The size might be an issue for you guys. EVGA tends to create graphic cards which carry a HUGE junk – it’s an Anaconda, alright. But it doesn’t have much butt as my previously owned 470. As long that it fits, there’s nothing wrong with it.
I originally bought this card to try out something new. At least something that could handle 1080p perfectly. In a nutshell: I guess you can say that it went as planned.
As for its first trial, I went on Skyrim – one that’s heavily modded. The result actually came as a shocker: my character was running like a beautiful unicorn at full speed.
Heck, it never even dropped below 65 FPS. Tell me, how’s that for awesome?
I did try it on my 770 before, and let me tell you, the results weren’t pretty. There are certain parts of the game where the grass is incredibly dense. Here’s the thing, it went down to a measly 30 FPS. If anything, GTX 970 went beyond my expectations.
Since I’ve started using, there’s no game that it can’t handle at 1080p. Put it on max setting, and it’ll still give a killer experience for you. It’s pretty much an overkill for 1080p, if you ask me.
However, it’s not a perfect card. There are big titles which would challenge GTX 970. I mean, these games are pretty tough to handle on its own.
I’m talking about Shadows of Mordor and Crysis 3. But not to the point that it sabotages the experience, it’s still consistently playable. In fact, it’s pretty hard to spot it drop below 60.
If we’re going to mention performance-per-dollar and performance-per-watt, then you’re being faced with a beast right here. Although it has the 980 for its big bro, it can outclass it by overlocking 970. With that being said, it’s safe to assume it can eat up any other card.
Going into the heat dissipation department, I’m still in awe. TDP is a 145w. It’s being partnered with a cooler that’s at 600w – as what you can immediately tell, it comes in with 4 times of what’s being needed to cool the card.
From that alone, it ranks itself as one of the best coolers that’s being sold on the market. Not only does it have a sleek cooling performance, but its noise level is also taken care of as well.
Since it runs coolly, you’ll be able to get more out of your gaming experience. From what I can remember, there wasn’t a day that I went beyond 49c. During that time, I was enjoying myself with The Elder Scrolls Online at 1080p.
There’s another advantage to this thing, it’s relatively quiet. Sure, it offers quite a huge cooler headway, but the fun amazingly is at low speeds.
I was playing a game for a couple of hours, and it remained the same between 35-50% fan speeds. I can’t recall hearing it over the sound of my volume – no, it wasn’t high up the scale.
Before we end this, it has an audible coil whine. This only happens when I turn my speakers off, and IF it has been pushed to what it can do. Just make sure you don’t push it to its limits too much.
In the gaming industry, we’re all about performance. Maybe aesthetics matter from time to time – okay, it does. But the thing I particularly like about MSI Armor is that this lean mean GeForce machine can do both.
Honestly, if you’re going to put my old HD5770 beside this beast, it tells a different story. It’s generally an awesome card that doesn’t take A LOT of waiting for it to be detected by Windows.
As a matter of fact, it was up and running at startup – which is always really appreciated.
Before I did purchase this baby, I was having second-thoughts of whether I should go for GTX 970 or GTX 980. But I don’t have any regrets with choice, even if it does cost more than the usual MSI GTX 970 Gaming.
This is considered to be a special Nvidia commemoration edition, one of the features that make it “special” is its great back plate. It works its cooling magic perfectly, it generally prevents the card from sagging.
It doesn’t surprise me that this is listed as one of the best products from MSI, it seems gamers are absolutely going bananas over this thing (including myself) and it’s completely understandable why.
As for overclocking, I haven’t done anything crazy yet. However, I’m quite sure you’re able to overclock it to almost near GTX 980’s powers.
And just for your information, I still haven’t found the need for SLI just yet. It’s running at a 1980 X 1080 resolution. However, I do see this as something I’d eventually go for.
To test it out, I’ve tried playing various games on this thing. For instance, CRYSIS Warhead. I decided to crank it up to its Ultra settings just to see how this puts up a fight. As expected, it works wonderfully well on a 1980 X 1080 at 60 FPS.
Again, it’s way cooler than most of the video cards I’ve tried, and it doesn’t murder the power supply as much. MSI ARMOR gives one hell of an overall performance. In addition, it comes with a rather reliable independent fan system that keep everything cool and running.
This also comes with other great features. I particularly like how this comes in with silent mode, it gives you the benefit of keeping the noise levels down. At the same time, it carries a default gaming mode, and a coloring modification system.
I’ve also found its included 6 to 8 pin cable adaptor to be really useful when the time comes. Mind you, this also needs around 2 GPU spaces from your motherboard as well.