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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review

It’s been a while since we looked at a GTX 970… AMD’s Fury cards have been taking a lot of the limelight, some GTX 980s too. However the 970 continues to offer an interesting mix of price and performance and with a new model just being released by Gigabyte it’s time to revisit that part of the market. Welcome to our Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review – Packaging and Bundle

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The Xtreme Gaming version of the GTX 970 arrives in a fairly plain box from Gigabyte. Some key feature info, branding and notes on the back are our lot. Inside is the product documentation, case badge, power cable and a small cloth. Some regions will also find a game bundle arrives with their card, for example in the UK at the time of writing we can choose between Assassins Creed Syndicate or Rainbow Six Siege.

Gigabyte also make their tweaking and monitoring software, OC Guru 2, available for download (free). A nice simple tool it allows us to maximise the performance of the card as well as alter LED lighting, fan speeds etc.


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review – The Card

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Above is the Xtreme Gaming, Gigabytes premium version of the GTX 970. What sets it apart from the competition? Other than a factory overclock we get the Windforce 3X cooling system which includes four 6mm and two 8mm copper heat pipes. These run through a large number of aluminium fins and sitting above them are three fans. Each has blades designed to maximise airflow and each is lined with LEDs to enhance appearance. Gigabyte select their best GPUs for the Xtreme gaming cards and add to the build quality though a metal backplate, dust/moisture/corrosion resistant PCB and use of the same chokes and capacitors found on the higher spec Titan cards. Gigabyte also employ a 10+2 phase power design and add a little extra twist by providing two LEDs next to the power connectors which alert us to any issues with stability.

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On the top edge of the card (along with another set of LED ares) are two power connectors,  both 8pin which help to provide the card with its 250w  (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 (1774MHz) 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.


Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review – 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 10 was the OS and all games along with the OS were patched.

NVIDIA Driver: 359.06
AMD Driver: Crimson Edition

NOTE: Both cards feature a factory overclock, the Xtreme Gaming clocks are noted above. The 390X was a retail card running at up to 1070MHz core out of the box.


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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming Review – Conclusion


Starting with the build quality of the GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming we have a card from Gigabyte which impresses. The use of quality PCB and primary components is enhanced by the presence of some nice extras such as metal heatsink cover and status LEDs. The card looks great when on and altering the LED colours/configuration is a breeze, as is overclocking (both with the free bundled software).

As far as performance goes the GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming compares well to the very slightly more expensive 390X. The key finding overall would be that the 970 was more than capable of providing us with smooth framerates at 4K in the games we tested, including the likes of Battlefront. Power use was in line with expectations and thermal performance good. Noise levels were particularly impressive. At low loads the fans turn off and the card becomes silent, when gaming it is whisper quiet.

This is one of the more expensive  GTX 970s however the factory overclock, high level of build quality along with excellent cooler help it to win our performance award. The free game bundle is a nice extra bonus.

Performance Award

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming
Author Rating

About Author

Stuart Davidson


  1. Law_dog3

    What is the difference between GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming and GTX 970 G1 Gaming – cards??? I need help to decide which is better, thank-you

    • Studi27

      XTREME has slightly faster clock speeds (1342Mhz Boost compared to 1329Mhz) and overclocked memory (7.1Gbps compared to 7Gbps), and has RGB lighting on the fans and Windforce logo, with a few other extra’s (Coating on PCB for added protection etc). The G1 has 1 extra DVI port if that’s something you need.

  2. zabiste

    Does the GTX 970 Xtreme Gaming has the same problem like the rest of the 970s with the memory allocation (3.5gb+0.5)?

  3. John

    How would this 970 Xtreme stack up against a R9 390x?

  4. DozensOfUs

    These are the worst photos I’ve ever seen in a graphics card review. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.

  5. Michael DFirenze

    I have it, and I love it!
    But something I notice from this, is that when fans start to run from “Silent” a little noise is audible (just when they start, not when there are running) don’t know if it’s suppose to be like that or I should RMA it.

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