MSI GTX970 Gaming Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

MSI GTX970 Gaming Review

Introduction

It can't have escaped your notice that the latest Maxwell GPUs have been released from nVidia. Normally this means us having to endure a reference model with the high temperatures and noise that usually entails whilst wondering what the partner cards will bring to the table.

Today though we're going straight out of the blocks with one of those partner cards, and one of the most consistently impressive manufacturer models of recent years, the MSI Gaming. 

It's nearly impossible to remember the old days when MSI were strictly for people on a budget who accepted the mediocre looks in exchange for affordability. Since the original Dragon appeared heralding the MSI Gaming range it has been a tale of success after success. Excellent design ethos matched to reliability and performance, whilst not breaking the bank.

Is the GTX970 Gaming similarly good? Let's find out.

Technical Specifications

Obviously pure CUDA power isn't the whole story, but compared to the GTX770 the GTX970 has 128 extra CUDA Cores, bringing the total up to 1664. For comparison purposes the GTX780 had 2304 and the GTX780Ti a whopping 2880. With a refinement of the architecture that is inevitable when you give a R&D department time and money, which the nVidia gurus have in spades, we're interested to know how much performance nVidia have squeezed from such a relatively low amount of CUDA Cores, especially when coupled to the MSI overclock and cooler.

It's also worth noting the dimensions of the MSI GTX970 Gaming, which is a darn sight smaller than previous high-end nVidia models.

MSI GTX970 Gaming Review  

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Most Recent Comments

18-09-2014, 22:45:56

tinytomlogan
http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...102304894l.jpg

The next generation of nVidia GPUs is upon us, and we're starting our coverage with the MSI GTX970 Gaming, equipped with the Twin Frozr V cooler.


Read more on the MSI GTX970 Gaming ReviewQuote

19-09-2014, 00:47:13

Wraith
Bloody impressive stuff Guv, Maxwell seems to have been worth the wait, the OC results have staggered me.. I really can't wait now to see what the GTX 980 Ti is capable of.Quote

19-09-2014, 01:42:02

WYP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraithguard View Post
Bloody impressive stuff Guv, Maxwell seems to have been worth the wait, the OC results have staggered me.. I really can't wait now to see what the GTX 980 Ti is capable of.
The GPU core used in the GTX 980 is the full core, so do not expect a 980Ti (at least with any extra CUDA cores).

I see a Titan 2 in 2015, but that's just a hunch. I guess we will see.Quote

19-09-2014, 04:31:56

WillSK
Quote:
Originally Posted by Watsyerproblem View Post
The GPU core used in the GTX 980 is the full core, so do not expect a 980Ti (at least with any extra CUDA cores).

I see a Titan 2 in 2015, but that's just a hunch. I guess we will see.
I actually hope they don't carry on with a top of the range "Ti"

My personal opinion was that the previous positioning was better. To me a Ti card was always a mid high end card with that Extra "Oomph"

I think the "Titan" branding is far more suited to high end

Just my 2 cents.

P.S This card looks awesome Quote

19-09-2014, 06:55:46

Cru
970 is the real winner of this release. f'ing amazingQuote

19-09-2014, 07:57:00

piezor
Love the look of this card. Cooler looks tall though. Will this fit in a corsair 240 air case. Got one coming at the end of the month so don't have it to measure myself yet :-(Quote

19-09-2014, 08:22:13

jezza
Quote:
Originally Posted by piezor View Post
Love the look of this card. Cooler looks tall though. Will this fit in a corsair 240 air case. Got one coming at the end of the month so don't have it to measure myself yet :-(
Also I'm wondering this too. I've been holding off getting a GPU until the announcement of the 970’s.



My plan is to go for the 240 Air with the MSi Z97M Gaming and MSi GPU.



If it turns out it doesn’t fit I will go down the route of getting the reference 970 then maybe water cooling it.Quote

19-09-2014, 10:23:42

piezor
Quote:
Originally Posted by jezza View Post
My plan is to go for the 240 Air with the MSi Z97M Gaming and MSi GPU.



If it turns out it doesn’t fit I will go down the route of getting the reference 970 then maybe water cooling it.
Same here. ordered the 240 and the board already. would be ideal if i didn't have to mess about with water to get the card.Quote

19-09-2014, 10:27:57

mrmeep
Just wow...

They've made the upgrade choice so much easier it appears.
Simply choose 970 you like the look of.
Or splash the cash on a 980.

I do actually like the look of the MSI. Colour scheme goes with the VII Ranger board that's on the shopping list too Quote

19-09-2014, 10:53:58

Pogal_31
Great review Tom, thank you for your hard work, and this is again a wonderful piece of hardware !
I was planning to go for a matrix 780 Ti and to give my 280x to my wife, but now I'm lost xD. Should I go for a 970 (or two ) or perhaps a 980? To be honest I'm really tempted with the pricetag of the 970, I could buy two of these instead of the matrix, or buy one and a good screen for my wife... Hell... Any thoughts to help me please mates ?Quote

19-09-2014, 10:54:48

You_What?
The cards do look good!Quote

19-09-2014, 11:22:38

Tolemac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogal_31 View Post
Great review Tom, thank you for your hard work, and this is again a wonderful piece of hardware !
I was planning to go for a matrix 780 Ti and to give my 280x to my wife, but now I'm lost xD. Should I go for a 970 (or two ) or perhaps a 980? To be honest I'm really tempted with the pricetag of the 970, I could buy two of these instead of the matrix, or buy one and a good screen for my wife... Hell... Any thoughts to help me please mates ?
I suppose it depends on what monitor you are using for 1080p just one of these should suffice Quote

19-09-2014, 11:29:12

Pogal_31
I'm going for a 1440p really soon, that's why i was planning to upgrade from my matrix r9 280x that won't handle it at the settings I like to play with Quote

19-09-2014, 13:53:13

d1974
As well as selling the cards, Scan.co.uk has a very good article describing the new GK204 varieties. Well worth a good read.
http://www.scan.co.uk/tekspek/gpu-gr...(28nm-maxwell)Quote

19-09-2014, 13:54:57

The_Governour
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pogal_31 View Post
Great review Tom, thank you for your hard work, and this is again a wonderful piece of hardware !
I was planning to go for a matrix 780 Ti and to give my 280x to my wife, but now I'm lost xD. Should I go for a 970 (or two ) or perhaps a 980? To be honest I'm really tempted with the pricetag of the 970, I could buy two of these instead of the matrix, or buy one and a good screen for my wife... Hell... Any thoughts to help me please mates ?
Happy Wife = Easy Life.

Spoken through experience. Quote

19-09-2014, 15:34:04

zatoichi
bought an msi gaming 770 2gb - £220 this year
4gb version was £280, just a bit too much for me.

now they release this card for £280

25% more performance for the same money and lower power concumption i feel like a gfx card buying noob.Quote

19-09-2014, 15:52:23

Pogal_31
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Governour View Post
Happy Wife = Easy Life.

Spoken through experience.
Yep, totally agree with you, I'm trying hard to make her happy everyday, and she gives me back a lot more, but reading your words is a good reminder, thank you Quote

19-09-2014, 23:56:58

Deejeta
Maxwell. Yep here is your crown. I was hedging my money on this gen to follow suit of what we saw with the 750ti. Well done nVidia. For peeps like us here in Australia where electricity prices are going bonkers these power efficient, high performance cards are a godsend.
My 760's will be finding a new home soon to make way for a 980 or 2x 970's.
Will be interested to see what AMD does. I hope they can pull a rabbit out of their hat.Quote

20-09-2014, 01:10:56

Tolemac
I'm so glad I held on to my cash for this release now I can get rid of the HD7970 Matrix PlatinumQuote

20-09-2014, 03:59:47

Asen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deejeta View Post
Maxwell. Yep here is your crown. I was hedging my money on this gen to follow suit of what we saw with the 750ti. Well done nVidia. For peeps like us here in Australia where electricity prices are going bonkers these power efficient, high performance cards are a godsend.
My 760's will be finding a new home soon to make way for a 980 or 2x 970's.
Will be interested to see what AMD does. I hope they can pull a rabbit out of their hat.
They will pull a rabit from their hat, but it will be a very fat rabbit that eats 5 kilos of grass every day.Quote

20-09-2014, 17:57:05

BigBlue1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deejeta View Post
Maxwell. Yep here is your crown. I was hedging my money on this gen to follow suit of what we saw with the 750ti. Well done nVidia. For peeps like us here in Australia where electricity prices are going bonkers these power efficient, high performance cards are a godsend.
My 760's will be finding a new home soon to make way for a 980 or 2x 970's.
Will be interested to see what AMD does. I hope they can pull a rabbit out of their hat.
Yep, like the round file in the corner. Quote

21-09-2014, 05:41:02

jezza
Quote:
Originally Posted by piezor View Post
Same here. ordered the 240 and the board already. would be ideal if i didn't have to mess about with water to get the card.
After some searching around the MSi GTX 970 Gaming is to high for the case. It's 140mm where the case can only handle 120mm height GPU's.Quote

22-09-2014, 04:21:14

piezor
Quote:
Originally Posted by jezza View Post
After some searching around the MSi GTX 970 Gaming is to high for the case. It's 140mm where the case can only handle 120mm height GPU's.
Thanks for that mate. Shame about it being too tall.

looking at the evga superclocked card instead. seems to have a reference height cooler on it and looks alright, just noisier than other 970s. I guess that's from having reference sized cooler and a higher clock speed than the msi card.

decisions decisions.......Quote

22-09-2014, 06:47:54

Bozzy
Thinking of selling my EVGA ref GTX780 for one of these for 1440p... maybe even two at that price...Quote

26-09-2014, 10:33:02

Tolemac
I will have the money in a week or two for one of these cards I've always done asus with any build i've made but I quite like the look of the msi and it's £20 cheaperQuote

27-09-2014, 20:37:58

BigBlue1
OK, but how does it look on the screen? they have put a lot of new features into these cards like Dynamic Super Resolution, letting a 1080 monitor show 4k quality images, Multi-Frame-Sampled Anti-aliasing (MFAA) which allows a much faster alternative to MSAA with a final result that looks just as good, Voxel Global Illumination which will allow dynamic lighting, and VR Direct to support OC Rift and other vr hardware (I hope they (oculous) change the hardware that rift uses to be comfortable to use).
The VXGI in particular looks most promising as it will free up game designers to create dynamic light sources and the objects in the game can be assigned properties that determine how they’ll reflect or absorb the light cast upon them. With this technology, the game programmer can simply place light sources, and those lights will react dynamically to any changes in the environment. Result: more things will be able to be destroyed in a game easier.

When it's all said and done, you buy a card for how well it performs and a huge part of GPU performance is the quality of the rendered images.Quote

28-09-2014, 02:14:34

NeverBackDown
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlue1 View Post
The VXGI in particular looks most promising as it will free up game designers to create dynamic light sources and the objects in the game can be assigned properties that determine how they’ll reflect or absorb the light cast upon them. With this technology, the game programmer can simply place light sources, and those lights will react dynamically to any changes in the environment. Result: more things will be able to be destroyed in a game easier.
If it only it was that easy.Quote

03-10-2014, 12:30:12

Watky
Just ordered one Can't wait for the delivery! It's going to be an upgrade om my 1GB GTX 650.Quote

04-11-2014, 13:04:01

anti-duck
Absolutely gutted lol, I just got mine a day before Nvidia started the Pick Your Path bundle. Absolutely fantastic video card though, I managed to get a stable overclock of +189 core and +493 memory for a 1543MHz boost clock speed and 7992MHz effective memory clock and it still doesn't go over 65°C, I can ever play F1 2014 maxed out at 4K and the fans don't even spin.Quote
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