When the GTX 980 and GTX 970 from Nvidia came along we were very impressed with, among other things, the low TDPs. Now, it seems that thanks to the 145 W TDP of the GTX 970, Gigabyte has been inspired to build a Mini-ITX variant. Yes, you read that right: Gigabyte built a Mini-ITX GTX 970. Its model number is GV-N970IXOC-4GD.
So what did Gigabyte sacrifice to make this happen? The truth is, not a whole lot. Presumably, the VRM circuitry isn't as elaborate, and the cooler certainly isn't either, but the card is still overclocked, running at 1076 MHz Base with a Boost clock of 1216 MHz. Reference GTX 970's run at 1051 MHz and Boost at 1178 MHz. It's not much of an overclock, but it's enough to show that Gigabyte has faith in its design. It is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-Express power connector.
The cooler on the card resembles a WindForce 3X cooler, except that it only has one fan rather than three. The aluminum fin array underneath it is inspired by that of the larger WindForce 3X cooler, and this smaller version still has the "Triangle Cool" design to guide the air for more effective cooling. Heat is transferred to this fin array through two 8 mm heatpipes and one 6 mm heatpipe.
Gigabyte provided some temperature numbers too, which showed that the card ran at about 62 degrees C while running the Metro Last Light benchmark, compared to a reference card (with the NVTTM cooler) running at 76 degrees C. Whether that's accurate we can't confirm without testing it ourselves, but those numbers are promising.
While the card might still be a dual-slot unit, it is actually narrower than other high-performance Mini-ITX graphics card solutions that we've seen in the past. Solutions from Asus and MSI, for example, are ever-so-slightly wider than this one, meaning that they still have compatibility issues in some cases. Gigabyte's card is only 12 cm wide. That's still not the reference width, but it is a wee bit better.
Display outputs are the same as the larger 900-series card from Gigabyte, consisting of two DVI ports, three DisplayPort interfaces, and an HDMI port.
So, a card like this is going to be expensive, right? Wrong. Gigabyte has priced the card at $329.99, which is Nvidia's reference MSRP pricing, and a damn good deal for what is now the most powerful Mini-ITX card to date. Shipments should arrive starting early November.
Correction: This article was updated at 3:15 PM EST on October 23 to include the correct thickness of the third heatpipe.