Tobold's Blog
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Geforce GTX 970

I don't think I mentioned it, but I recently bought a 27" screen with 2560 x 1440 resolution. That is a hell lot of pixels. Which might be the explanation why shortly afterwards I started to observe problems with my Geforce GTX 770 graphics card: In World of Warcraft, which isn't the newest game with the sharpest graphics, I observed some dips in framerate. And several times per day I got the dreaded "Display driver nvlddmkm stopped responding and has successfully recovered." error. In those cases my screen went black for 10 to 20 seconds in the middle of the game, but then recovered. Only that when hunting elite beasts for Savage Blood in WoW, if you are blind for 10 to 20 seconds in the middle of the fight, you end up dead.

At first I did my research and discovered that whole encyclopedias have been written on the internet about that display driver error. I tried at least a dozen different recipes that people proposed on how to fix it, but nothing worked. Some people suggested it was a problem with overheating. The GPU temperature I measured under full load at around 80°C is high, but below the 98°C maximum spec for the card. Other people suggested flaky video RAM.

So after fiddling for a day I had enough and went for the simple but expensive option: I bought a new graphics card, Nvidia Geforce GTX 970. I stuck with Geforce so I wouldn't have to change my drivers and Geforce Experience software. That makes changing the graphics card rather easy, especially since I have a large tower case with an easy to open door and lots of room to manipulate. So the card is up and running. My 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark went up from 7,500 to 9,721, and World of Warcraft is running perfectly at 60 fps (VSynced). I'll see if I'm not getting the display driver error any more.

The GTX 970 might be a bit overkill, a GTX 960 probably would have done the job too at half the price. But this way the new graphics card is presumably sufficient until the end of life of the computer.

I got a GTX 970 before Christmas and I am very pleased with it. It can pretty much max out any of the games I play but as an added bonus it draws relatively low power for a card of its level.
How loud is that thing?

My PC is only a year old and runs without problems. When it's time for the next upgrade I will buy a soundless system. Pretty expensive, same specs as I already have (i5-4440 and R9 270x) would be ~1500 Euro now.

The older I get the more the noise bothers me. Back in the day when I mainly played first person shooters I regularly bought high end grafic cards, noisy as hell if you wanted top fps.
The GTX 970 has two large fans. It is making less noise than my previous card, presumably because the fans are spinning less fast. And the temperature is lower.
It may seem unintuitive but the larger the fans the quieter they are as a general rule. Large fans move a lot of air without having to spin as rapidly.
Cooling systems on current grafic cards are pretty sophisticated, heat pipes and everything. Still they need fans to cool down, better brands tend to use better fans. GPUs are full blown CPUs nowadays, so not very surprising they need the same cooling.

Vacuuming the inside of a PC every couple of weeks is good for keeping the noise down too.

Btw, I find Intel disgusting when it comes to CPU cooling. They box with the cheapest cooling solution imaginable, always have to shell out 50 bucks extra if you don't want it to sound like a vacuum.

I bought my EVGA GTX 960 the day they started taking orders. I had just finished working a holiday and so had the bit of extra cash, and my 550 was getting long in the tooth. It's very quiet, my case fans are easily the most audible things in my case.

Intel does ship some of the most skeevy heat sinks and fans with their CPU's. My i5 can with this tiny little fan and the heat sink was made with maybe about as much aluminum as a soda can has in it. I replaced it with a giant Coolermaster thing that can use two 120mm fans at the same time.
It's a great card. I think you'll be happy with it. I got the Zotac a few months ago. My only complaint is the coil whine I hear, but that is only a problem with some manufacturers.
Ooh, I'd actually really like to hear what you think about the new monitor (or rather its size). I'm also considering getting a larger monitor now, but I'm afraid it would make it difficult to take the entire picture in.
No problem here taking the entire picture in. But I'd guess it also depends how close you are to the screen. I'm at just over arm's length away.
Yeah blachawk, coil noise is bad to have. I only had one card with coil noise and also only when it was pushed to the limit by 3dmark.

If it had coil whining during normal playing I'd return it.
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