EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX 4 GB Review 55

EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX 4 GB Review




The GeForce GTX 970 is the other big graphics card launch of the day, apart from the high-end GeForce GTX 980. If you haven't given our GTX 980 launch review a quick browse through, check it out first as it goes into many more technical details and discusses all new software features. The GTX 970, much like its predecessors, the GTX 770 and GTX 670, is destined to be an underrated card decking up lower shelves under the GTX 980's shadow. Steam Hardware survey trends would also agree with our guess that this card will end up selling more between the two in volume, probably even fetching NVIDIA more revenues.

Priced at $329, displacing the GeForce GTX 770 (which is now discontinued), the GTX 970 is a higher-grade performance-segment graphics card not too far away from the crucial $250 price-point, which earns NVIDIA and AMD a sizable bulk of their discrete GPU revenues. The card is designed to run anything you throw at it at resolutions as high as 2560x1600 pixels and, perhaps, even Ultra HD, with watered down details. That alone makes the GTX 970 very exciting because today's $250 offerings, the Radeon R9 285 from AMD and NVIDIA's own GTX 760 (it saw a price-cut down to $220 at the time of writing), will run anything at 1080p, but may falter with higher resolutions. So your choice boils down to whether spending an additional $80 as a feature-proofing measure is worth it to you.

The GeForce GTX 970 is carved out of the 28 nm GM204 silicon on which the GTX 980 is based, by disabling three of sixteen streaming multiprocessors with, each, 128 CUDA cores. The resulting shader count is 1,664. Texture memory units are, proportionately, down to 104, as are clock speeds, although they stay well above the 1 GHz mark. The ROP count stays at a whopping 64, with a 256-bit memory bus width and a standard memory total of 4 GB.

Today, we're reviewing the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SuperClocked ACX, a non-reference design, factory-overclocked GTX 970 graphics card with a custom design PCB and the company's signature ACX cooler, an aluminum heatsink with a trio of copper heat pipes that draw heat directly from the GPU die, dissipating it with the airflow its two 80 mm fans provide. The EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX's estimated retail price is $349, which is only a small increase over NVIDIA's reference design.

GeForce GTX 970 Market Segment Analysis
GTX 680
GTX 780
R9 290
GTX 970
970 SC ACX
R9 290X
HD 7990
GTX Titan
GTX 780 Ti
GTX 980
Shader Units1536230425601664166428162x 2048268828802048
ROPs3248646464642x 32484864
Graphics ProcessorGK104GK110HawaiiGM204GM204Hawaii2x TahitiGK110GK110GM204
Transistors3500M7100M6200M5200M5200M6200M2x 4310M7100M7100M5200M
Memory Size2048 MB3072 MB4096 MB4096 MB4096 MB4096 MB2x 3072 MB6144 MB3072 MB4096 MB
Memory Bus Width256 bit384 bit512 bit256 bit256 bit512 bit2x 384 bit384 bit384 bit256 bit
Core Clock1006 MHz+863 MHz+947 MHz1051 MHz+1165 MHz+1000 MHz1000 MHz837 MHz+876 MHz+1126 MHz+
Memory Clock1502 MHz1502 MHz1250 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHz1250 MHz1500 MHz1502 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHz


Package Front
Package Back


You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Driver CD + Documentation
  • 2x PCI-Express power adapter
  • DVI adapter

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

EVGA updated the shroud of their ACX cooler with improved fans and a modern design, but the cooling assembly below it is the same. Our review sample came without a backplate, EVGA tells us that retail boards will not have a backplate, but EVGA will be mailing backplates for EU customers, while US customers can purchase one. Dimensions of the card are 24.5 cm x 11.5 cm.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires two slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. You may use all outputs at the same time, so triple-monitor-surround gaming is possible with one card.

The GPU also includes an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 2.0 compatible, which includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies support.

Multi-GPU Area

You may combine up to three GTX 970 cards in a multi-GPU SLI configuration. AMD recently switched to transferring CrossFire data via the PCI-Express bus in order to handle 4K frames. NVIDIA's SLI has no such limitations, so there is no reason to use PCIe.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back).
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