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Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 And 980 Review: Maximum Maxwell

Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce OC

The Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce OC’s specifications are quite different from the 980's in some places. According to Gigabyte, the 970 also uses GPUs binned for better-than-average overclocking potential and lower power consumption. Still, our tests show why this graphics card costs less than the flagship.

Fortunately, it retains the higher-end board's six video outputs (of which four can be actively used at a time). And again, Gigabyte keeps the second DVI connector that’s missing from the reference design. HDMI 2.0 makes this new card somewhat more future-proof.

The Speeds And Feeds
Form FactorDual-slot design
Length (from Slot Panel to End)297 mm
Height (from Slot to Top)108 mm
Depth 1 (from PCB to Front Cover)35 mm
Depth 2 (from PCB to Back Plate)5 mm
Weight797 g
Connectors1x DVI-I, 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI 2.0, 3x DisplayPort
Pros- GPUs binned for better overclocking and lower power consumption- Total of six video outputs (better connectivity)- Dual-slot design, well-suited for SLI- Suitable cooling headroom
Cons- RPM at idle is too high (35 percent)

Gigabyte's GTX 970 WindForce OC sports the WindForce cooler that we know from the company's older GeForce cards. It’s still a solid cooler that’s both thin and fairly quiet. It’s been updated with the new rotor blades found on the WindForce 600 W.

Once again, the backplate doesn’t contribute to the graphics card’s cooling. It only provides some stability and a nice finishing touch we aren't used to seeing on Nvidia-based boards.

The vertically-oriented fins send waste heat toward the top and bottom, and not toward your hard drives and SSDs. It'd be better to exhaust it entirely, though.

One 8- and one 6-pin PCIe power connector are supposed to keep the Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce OC stable when overclocked. As on the 980, this card's WindForce label lights up blue.

You get a total of three DisplayPort connectors, two dual-link DVI connectors, and an HDMI 2.0 connector on the rear bracket. Together, they take up almost all the available space.