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MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G Review

MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G Review

We love gaming and and often that is on consoles such as the Xbox One and PS4… but there is one problem. Those are built around older technology despite them being reasonably recent releases. If you want the latest and greatest graphics features, fastest performance and highest resolution then you need to game on PC. One card which looks to deliver all of this is the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G. With high end cooler, support for DirectX12 and costing less than a modern console it may just be the upgrade your PC needs for maximum gaming potential…

MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G – The Card

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MSI build this card around the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics processor. It is the latest offered by NVIDIA and the GTX 970 variation shares the exact same features as the more expensive GTX 980. We get support for DirectX 12 (the platform modern games are built on), support for 3D and 4K gaming and it can even assist our processor with content creation. For example speeding up the processing of an image in Photoshop, or rendering of a video.

MSI’s version is quick to install. It drops into a PCI-Express slot which is found on most motherboards made in the last 5+ years and takes power from our PC’s power supply via two standard connectors (one 8pin, one 6pin). Once screwed in we can connect it to our monitor/TV using either of the DVI connectors, HDMI (2.0) or DisplayPort (1.2). It is also possible to connect multiple displays, for example three, and have the image spread out across all for a more immersive experience. The card will pass audio through to the displays too, on the HDMI or DisplayPort cable if needed. Keeping wires to a minimum.

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When buying a graphics card, even if they use the same chip, the specification can vary a little. With this version of the card MSI go with a spec which is very much towards the high end of the market and have a core speed which varies between 1051MHz and 1279Mhz. It has 4Gb of memory available and MSI also separate their card from the competition by enhancing the components used on the card. For example we get chokes which maximise efficiency and minimise temperatures and capacitors rated for a longer lifespan (over 10-years).

The cooler is also significantly redesigned, including fan blades created to maximize airflow and minimise noise. Plenty of aluminum fins help the large copper heatpipes disperse heat, the fans remain idle (silent!) when watching videos, surfing or performing light gaming. There are even some cool LEDs added which add to the overall appeal if you PC case has a window on it.

MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G – Performance (Gaming)

All testing was performed on a system running the Intel Core i7-5960X, X99 motherboard, 16GB of DDR4 memory and Windows 10.

First up is 3DMark Extreme, a test which you can run on your PC to compare performance:

3dm

In the following games we tested real world gaming at 1920×1080, full HD resolution (twice that of Xbox One). Any figure above 30 frames per second is considered to give completely smooth gameplay. Above 60 frames per second is considered excellent. (Green is average FPS, Red is the Minimum we recorded and Blue, the maximum).

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In this final gaming test we have changed the resolution up to 4k, matching the latest high end TVs and gaming monitors.

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MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G – Performance (Temperature and Power)

As noted earlier in the review, this card is designed to run silent (fans off) when at the desktop, in video playback, while surfing the internet etc. When gaming the fans will turn on to maintain a temperature of around 75c. They can also be manually configured by you, for lower speed or enhanced cooling using MSI’s software. Power draw was recorded for the full system, so in this case a 500w PSU would be acceptable to power the GTX 970 and system filled with components. (Green is idle, Red is under load)

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MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G – Conclusion

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As the figures above show, the MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G with Twin Frozr cooler is more than capable of powering the latest games. If you want to game at HD resolution it breezes through with high framerates and all detail enabled. 4K gaming is also an option which makes the card particularly futureproof. We love that the fans stay off when using our system at the desktop, or when performing light gaming and the overall build quality is top notch.

Utilizing the latest NVIDIA GPU also means that we get features which are completely up to date as well as support through driver updates which will go on for years. MSI further add to the overall value of the product by providing a good warranty, free copy of XSplit Gamecaster (record and broadcast your gaming via the web) and even offer an industry leading software panel (MSI Afterburner) which lets us tweak our card for even more performance if needed.

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Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI NVIDIA GTX 970 Gaming 4G
Author Rating
5

About Author

Stuart Davidson

1 Comment

  1. shteve

    Personally I’ve had an MSI 970 4G for almost 18 months and it’s a great card (actually running 2 in SLI). Not convinced a Maxwell based card is the latest thing from nVidia cough cough Pascal GTX 1080/1070.

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