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OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review

OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review

For all that NVIDIAs GTX 970 has been successful there have been issues with the card. Some consumers have found that theirs creates more noise from the components than expected, or that the custom design of the manufacturer isnt as good as they would like. The same cant be said of the GTX 980 because it has a reference design which end users can opt for if they feel the need. But what if someone took the base design of the reference GTX 980 and built a custom GTX 970 around it? Well thats what we find out today in our OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review.

OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review – Packaging and Bundle

overclockers-manli-gtx-970-review overclockers-manli-gtx-970-review-bundle

The card arrives in a fairly plain box with Manli branding. There is little detailed info on the card itself and inside we find a fairly basic bundle which includes a software disc, power cables, installation guide and DVI to VGA adapter.

OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review – The Card

overclockers-manli-gtx-970-review-card overclockers-manli-gtx-970-review-back

So this is the custom GTX 970 that OcUK have put together. What’s unique about it? Well in the simplest terms it is much more like the GTX 980 than the average 970. OcUK. They sum its design up in the following way:

“This very special NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 is the only one of its kind designed by our in-house VGA Guru Gibbo making this the worlds ONLY genuine reference 970 available in the world. Gibbo’s design request were very specific, genuine NVIDIA 970 cooler, yes the crazy expensive one just like the 980 cooler and a NVIDIA BGA Board using all original NVIDIA components with absolute zero cost down in the design.”

In addition to that OcUK have had the containers which surround the inductors enhanced to remove the potential for coil whine and the factory is instructed to only sue Samsung memory in the construction of the cards. Of course the use of the standard NVIDIA cooler also means that in cases with limited space, or multi GPU setups, the two slot design can be very beneficial.

OcUK-gtx-970-NVIDIA-Cooler-Edition-review-top OcUK-gtx-970-review-outputs

The top edge retains the GeForce GTX branding which glows green when our system is powered on and along to the left are two 6pin power connectors which help to provide the card with its 145w. Turning round to the card outputs we see the GTX 980 style perforated area which allows air to exhaust from our system and beside those holes are our outputs. In this case the connectors are a single DVI being accompanied by three DisplayPort connectors and HDMI. NVIDIA do allow multi-screen configurations to create resolutions such as 5760×1080 across varied output types however the card is very much geared to 4K support (including over HDMI 2.0).

In terms of core configuration the Maxwell GPU used on the GTX 970 features 1664 Cuda Cores with a reference speed of 1051MHz. The GPU boost spec is 1178MHz  and our memory configuration is 4GB of GDDR5 (1753MHz) on a 256-bit bus. This is of course a card which supports the latest DirectX as well as the key NVIDIA technologies of PhysX, G-Sync, Gamestream, Dynamic Super Resolution, Voxel Global Illumination, MFAA and 3DVision. GPU compute is also supported as is 7.1 audio over HDMI.


OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review – Performance

OcUK GeForce GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition (4GB)
Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Edition
R9-290X OC

Intel Core i7-5960X
Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2800
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
Corsair AX1500i Antec Kuhler 1250

Installed on a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench

Intel Wireless AC 7260
Razer DeathAdder
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate
ASUS 120Hz/3D Display

Windows 8.1 64-bit
AMD Drivers: 14.12 Omega
NVIDIA Driver 347.52
Assassins Creed Unity
Alien Isolation
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
F1 2014

The test system was built from scratch, a format of the hard drive was performed (NTFS) and then Windows 8.1 was installed. Following the completion of the installation, the video drivers were installed. All windows updates were then installed as were the latest builds of the benchmarking tools. Finally, the hard drives were de-fragmented (where appropriate). For each test, the video drivers were set to default quality/optimizations (unless otherwise stated).

Good Benchmarking Practice

Where possible, each benchmark was performed three times and the median result for each resolution/setting is shown in the tables that will follow. All applications had their latest patches applied and all hardware features the latest BIOS/Firmware.

1920×1080 + Thermals and Power

3DMark FireStrike Extreme and Ultra
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Assassins Creed Unity 1920×1080 Ultra High Detail
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Alien Isolation 1920×1080 Ultra Detail
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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1920×1080 Maximum Detail
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DOTA 2 1920×1080 maximum
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F1 1920×1080 Ultra Detail
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Assassins Creed 4K Low Detail
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Alien Isolation 4K Ultra
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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 4K Maximum Detail
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DOTA2 4K Maximum Detail
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F1 2014 4K Ultra Detail
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OcUK GTX 970 NVIDIA Cooler Edition Review – Conclusion

Going into this review we were very interested to see how the card would stack up against more well known manufacturers. After all, it isn’t often that a retail gets so hands on with the type of product they sell. Of course if anyone was going to go down this route, and succeed, it would be OcUK who are well known for their staff being technology enthusiasts themselves… for example “8 Pack” who is one of the best (if not the best) overclocker in the UK.

So with that in mind, its pretty clear to us that OcUK have succeeded with their take on the GTX 970. We very much like the reference design GTX 980, it does exactly what we want which is to run cool and quiet with minimal size and no frills. The OcUK card therefore does the same and it provides some great peace of mind that the components used, including the low noise capacitors/inductors, are high quality. Its also hard to beat Samsung as far as GDDR5 goes and the NVIDIA PCB design is proven.

Currently this card is retailing for around £25 more than the average 290X OC and around the same level as some of the more extreme versions. In that comparison the card stacks up very well. Generally, regardless of the resolution, the OcUK card is faster. Looking to the GTX 970 models out there, many (including overclocked models) are a bit cheaper than this model. That is of course understandable as we get varied quality of component. Performance wise, we would have loved to see OcUK apply some form of factory overclock to the card to maximise its price/performance ratio but there is nothing to stop us doing that ourselves. Speaking of overclocking, our sample was able to achieve speeds of over 200Mhz more than factory settings with complete stability and around 250Mhz more on memory.

Summary: High quality build, one of the more compact GTX 970s and good thermal/framerate performance.

Recommended Award

Available from OcUK.

About Author

Stuart Davidson


  1. IvanV

    It’s a decent card. It’s biggest problem? The competition based on the same GPU: Zotac is faster, cooler and uses less power. You can’t go wrong with taking a reference design and high quality components and having an established company do the actual manufacturing (Manli isn’t a new name), but I don’t see a reason to pay extra to get this over another, well established maker.

  2. Bob

    So you compare a synthetic benchmark, heat & power consumption against another 970 card, yet you don’t include any actual game benchmarks against it? Surely people want to know why they should buy this 970 over any other one, especially given it’s probably going to cost more than most others.

    • As you can see from the 3DMark test, the result between this card and a slightly factory overclocked 970 is very close. Essentially 1fps or so in gaming terms. Adding the comparisons for another 970 in every game would therefore have wasted everyone’s time. The point of this card is that it fixes a known issue with noise and maximises build quality without going down the ultra extreme route. Thats why people should consider it over another 970 and that was clearly stated in the article.

  3. Andrew Gibson

    The reason to buy this card is crystal clear, GTX 980 PCB, better components, coil whine reduction technology, NVIDIA backplate, NVIDIA Genuine cooler, lower acoustics and the build quality is superior to other 970’s as it uses 980 components and genuine NVIDIA cooler. You cannot buy a reference 970 from anywhere else online in the world, such an amazing card. 🙂

  4. Tsubasa Hanekawa

    this i can see myself buying in a few months if they still have them in stock at the time, they’re not cheap and you can get the same core allot cheaper elsewhere but firstly it looks amazing but more so it uses the GTX 980 PCB which means quite obviously that waterblock compatibility will be allot better assuming these changes they made to the inductor casings and whatnot aren’t any bigger than the standard 980 ones, if they’re the same measurement wise then throw a nice all clear plexi EK block at it and put it in a reverse atx case and you’re set 😛 or just leave that beautiful reference cooler on and call it a day 😛 be difficult choosing between them XD water which looks brilliant or leave the ref cooler on which also looks brilliant XD

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