Galax GTX970 EX OC Black Edition Review
Such is the intensity of competition in the graphics card market it seems that it is even more difficult to stand out than it used to be. The days when a ton of reference cards were the norm and a factory overclocked model with a non-standard cooler was a luxury are behind us. Everything has to have a custom cooler to even be noticed, and a factory overclock is almost expected. This is particularly true on the models that aren't at the very top of the tree, as those are the ones that shift the most units.
With the lengthily-named Galax GTX970 EX OC Black Edition we have a card that promises everything we've come to expect, so the important thing is how does it deliver? Especially up against a couple of very heavy hitters.
Well, seems to be the overriding answer. That sounds like damning with faint praise, something we certainly aren't doing. However, the differences between the three GTX970's we've tested are slight enough that recommending one over another is going to be more a price/looks thing than necessarily performance based. In everything we threw at the EX OC Black it performed well, hopping between the fastest and second fastest positions on a regular basis. It was never disappointing and there is bundles of thermal headroom if you want to go mental with the clock speeds without frying anything. The GPU will run out of performance before the cooler does.
When we'd finished testing the GTX970 EX OC Black Edition, and found ourselves very impressed by the overall quality, we had to investigate who this new company was that had leapt out of the box with such a great product. Of course as soon as we found out it was KFA2, the people behind an awesome GTX570, the pieces fit into place.
If we had to sum it up, and we do, then we'd say that perhaps the ASUS Strix has slightly better "balls to the wall" performance, and the MSI Gaming is slightly better looking, but the understated dark grey and black looks of the EX OC Black Edition, coupled to the ludicrously good cooling performance and fast factory overclock make it a worthy winner of our OC3D Gold Award, and a card you definitely need to put on your short list.
Thanks to Galax for supplying the GTX970 EX OC Black Edition for review. Discuss it in our OC3D Forums.