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EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition)

EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition)

Over the past week or so, and into tomorrow, there is a real shift in the graphics market as new parts from AMD launch and existing products receive appropriate price updates. One such card is the GTX 970, a GPU which blitzes 1920×1080 performance and is ideal for 2560×1440 at a reasonable price (£280/$350). Today we test a high spec version in out EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition).

EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition) – Box and Bundle

evga-geforce-gtx 970-review-boxevga-geforce-gtx 970-review-bundle

The SSC Edition arrives in a fairly standard EVGA box with a little logo identifying the model. Our box had an extra fold out section with more info on the new cooler which has been installed and inside the box we get a thorough bundle. We get a poster, case badges, stickers, product documentation, power cables and DVI to VGA adapter. NVIDIA also have a bundle running currently which will also get us a copy of Batman: Arkham Knight and some retailers are offering a free backplate too…then rounding things up EVGA offer one of the best overclocking and monitoring tools around.

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EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition) – The Card

evga-geforce-gtx 970-review-front evga-geforce-gtx 970-review-back SSC-cooler

The SSC Edition (04G-P4-3975-KR) of EVGA’s GTX 970 is shown above and it uses the ACX 2.0+ cooler. It features double ball bearing fans with swept fan blades which have the ability to turn off when the card is at low load (or more specifically below 60c) and mixes aluminium fins with three chunky copper heatpipes. EVGA make the card stand out from the competition by adding in a dual BIOS switch, Memory and Mosfet cooling plate and optimised 6 power phase design which allows up to  33% more power delivery.

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On the top edge is the dual bios switch and nearby are two power connectors,  one six pin and one 8pin which help to provide the card with its 150w  (approx). Turning round to the card outputs we see 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 1190MHz. The GPU boost spec is 1342MHz 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.

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EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition) – Performance

Testing was performed on the Intel Core i7-5960X running on an X99 board with 16GB of DDR4 and a Samsung 850 Pro SSD. Windows 8.1 was the OS and all games along with the OS were patched.

NVIDIA Driver: 353.30
AMD Driver: 15.6 Beta

3DMark

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EVGA GEFORCE GTX 970 Review (SSC Edition) – Conclusion

The GTX 970 was already an impressive card and in our opinion one which hit a great price point given the performance offered. Anyone wanting to game at 2560×1440, which we really recommend over 1920×1080, would find the card to be a perfect match for those screens without too much of a drop in performance over the more expensive 980.

With their SSC edition of the GTX 970 EVGA have created an exceptional version of the GPU. Dual BIOS allows enthusiasts to really have fun with the card, the enhanced cooler is quiet while also keeping temps well under control and it is good to see EVGA implement a profile which turns off the fans at low temperatures.

As for performance, this is the fastest GTX 970 we have tested, without doubt. It is sitting in a price range with a bunch of cards which are changing daily (290X’s for example, which are the exact same as a 390X, are priced very competitively) however in the majority of our tests the SSC provides higher framerates. A particular highlight was Project Cars however DOTA 2 Reborn showed some exceptional performance too. Our manual overclocking test saw the core hit 1450Mhz (approx) with memory peaking at 2000MHz resulting in 3DMark score of 6004. A very nice increase indeed.

So that brings us to value where the standard bundle from EVGA offers some fun items, the NVIDIA bundle adds Batman Arkham Knight to really enhance value and some retailers offer a free backplate to add further polish. When we then consider that this card has a minimal price increase over a standard 970, we have no issue in giving it our Performance Award. Keep in mind as well that EVGA have some of the best customer support around…

Performance Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

12 Comments

  1. All sounds good with your review except the part where the card has terrible coil whine. Unless it’s just mine out of the box that got it, it’s bad. In fact so bad that I would skip this card to go with a different brand that does not have the coil whine.

    • Hi Mike, from what I understand these newer versions are fine (ours is). So maybe get in touch with support and see if they will swap it out for you

      • quicksterdnb

        Yup. Just bought one last week. No coil whine. The default curve on the fans wasnt kicking on until around 70c though. Although that’s totally safe. I changed the fan curve to kick on at 60c.

  2. stevee

    My EVGA 970 SSC does not have coil whine either. Maybe you were unlucky or something 🙁

  3. BoutTime

    No coil whine on mine either. I have the 3975.

  4. Birgir Gudjonsson

    coil whine usually comes from a bad power until.

  5. Barry Cooper

    No coil whine here thankfully. I got 1474mhz on core by just moving the sliders over and adding +100 on normal voltage. Im not to clued up about over clocking either. My first ever EVGA product and definitely not my last. I was mad that I couldn’t quite afford a 980 and mad that my 780 was slugging a bit in my small form factor build. I couldn’t care less now.

    • Brian Blair

      Your full of it! You never had a 780! The 780 is pretty much equal to the 970! There would be barley any performance gain! At’least research things better before you lie!

      • Frank Honest

        yes there is. its more efficient so uses less power and runs cooler, all helping with ocing.
        almost all custom designs run close to the 980 (and some games even faster) when oced.
        ever heard about nvidias temp/power limits??
        my +100MHz 780 did ~13000, when a 970 does it at stock clock and about 30% cooler..

        not even talking about MFAA and other things maxwell has (over the 700 series).

  6. Shorty20122012 .

    So you review a 1080p card, and run it at 1440p, at unplayable frame rates, and this is suppose to be useful info? LOL

    • Frank Honest

      because people want to know if it can.
      most FPS gamers run wqhd res (on +24″ monis) to improve detail.
      snipe over long distance,and you can tell the difference. 😉

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