EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming 4GB - 04G-P4-1976It's hard to believe that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 is still a viable cutting edge graphics card today as it first debuted along with the GeForce GTX 980 in September 2014! Over the past 1.5 years the GeForce GTX 970 has become a very popular card for 1080P gaming as it features a competitive price point and you can more times than not get 60 FPS on average with the image quality cranked up in game titles. The add-in board (AIB) partners have continued to release new GeForce GTX 970 video cards over the years and just before 2015 ended our friends over at EVGA announced that the EVGA HYBRID line was being expanded to include GeForce GTX 970. This is great news for those that are concerned about GPU temperatures as you can now buy purchase a GTX 970 that features a maintenance free closed loop 'all in one' water cooling solution that significantly lowers the GPU operating temperature. [gallery ids="178928,178932,178930,178929,178931,178934,178933"] The GeForce GTX 970 is powered by NVIDIA's GM204 'Maxwell' GPU that features 13 Streaming Multiprocessors (SMMs) that have a combined 1664 CUDA cores, 104 Texture Units and 56 ROPs. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 reference card was released with a 1050 MHz base and 1178 MHz typical GPU Boost rate. Since the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming graphics card features a self-contained cooling solution with a 120mm radiator and fan it means they can really ratchet up the clock speeds on this particular card. How does a 1140 MHz clock and 1279 MHz typical boost clock sound? This factory overclock is 8.6% higher than the reference clock speed and that should translate to better gaming performance. The cards 4GB of Elpida GDDR5 memory is clocked at 7010 MHz, which is not overclocked. The GeForce GTX 970 is a little different than the GeForce GTX 980 due how NVIDIA had to disable some things on the GM204 GPU. For example the GTX 970 has 1.75MB of L2 cache instead of 2MB on the GTX 980 and the GTX 970's memory is segmented into 3.5GB and 500MB partitions instead of having a solid single 4GB partition. This means that the cards memory runs at different speeds due to the way the memory is allocated. The 3.5GB chunk of memory runs up to 196 GB/s and then the small 500MB chunk runs up to 28 GB/s. In GPU-Z on this card you'll discover that it shows the card having 224.3 GB/s of memory bandwidth, but there is a bit more to it than that. We've covered the GeForce GTX 970 memory snafu in greater detail over a year ago, so be sure to read up on it if you like. Despite the rough start that the GeForce GTX 970 had, it has proven to be a solid performing card that continues to sell well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjgLN9YvxIc As we mentioned in the introduction, the main selling point of the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid is the Asetek closed-loop cooling solution that it features. This is a hybrid cooling solution, so the water cooler takes care of the GM204 Maxwell GPU and the blower fan keeps the VRM power components cool as well as the GDDR5 memory. Here is a look at the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming with the fan shroud removed. Taking off the fan shroud assembly is easy as it is held on by just five normal Philips head screws. With the black plastic fan shroud removed the card goes from 10.5-inches to just 6.75-inches in length. If a case had really good airflow you might be able to run this card without a fan shroud! EVGA has released 11 different NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 video cards to the market since the card debuted in 2014, so it can be pretty tough to pick one out. We expected that the EVGA GeFoce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming with its extreme water cooling solution would have the highest clock speeds of all the models, but it does not. We were shocked to learn that there are a handful of models with even higher clock speeds, so in terms of just clock speeds this card is second from the bottom and three from the top in the EVGA product stack.
|EVGA GeForce GTX 970||GTX 970 SSC Gaming||GTX 970 FTW Gaming||GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming|
|GPU boost clock||1342MHz||1367MHz||1279MHz|
|GPU base clock||1190MHz||1216MHz||1140MHz|
|Memory Size||4 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5|
|Memory clock||7010MHz||7010 MHz||7010 MHz|
|GPU Cooler||ACX 2.0+||ACX 2.0||Hybrid All-in-One|
Test SystemBefore we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we've always done out testing 'hot' since the site started back more than a decade ago. Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:
- AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1.1
- NVIDIA GeForce 361.82
Intel X79/LGA2011 PlatformThe Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1704 that came out on 05/08/2015. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-13-13-30 2T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room and gives us more accurate sound measurements. Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:
|The Intel X79 Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4960X|
ASUS P9X79-E WS
16GB Kingston 2133MHz
|Solid-State Drive||OCZ Vertex 460 240GB|
|Cooling||Intel TS13X (Asetek)|
|Power Supply||Corsair AX860i|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Monitor||Sharp PN-K321 32" 4K|
Battlefield 4Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. It is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3 and was released on October 29, 2013 in North America. Battlefield 4's single-player Campaign takes place in 2020, six years after the events of its predecessor. Tensions between Russia and the United States have been running at a record high. On top of this, China is also on the brink of war, as Admiral Chang, the main antagonist, plans to overthrow China's current government; and, if successful, the Russians will have full support from the Chinese, bringing China into a war with the United States. This game title uses the Frostbite 3 game engine and looks great. We tested Battlefield 4 with the Ultra graphics quality preset as most discrete desktop graphics cards can easily play with this IQ setting at 1080P and we still want to be able to push the higher-end cards down the road. We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on the Shanghai level. All tests were done with the DirectX 11 API. Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming video card pulled ahead of the air cooled Zotac GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Omega edition video card thanks to having a slightly higher base/boost clock speed. None of the cards tested here were below 60 FPS in our test scene at the minimums and all should handle most game titles at 1920 x 1080 screen resolutions without any issues at all. Benchmark Results: If you game on a 2560x1440P display we found the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming coming in at 59 FPS and was basically performing just faster than the XFX Radeon R9 390 8GB and statistically the same as the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 that we tested it against. Benchmark Results: When it comes to 4K Ultra HD gaming the XFX Radeon R9 390 BE OC was 3 FPS faster on average than the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming.
Fallout 4Fallout 4 is an open world action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war, in which the player character emerges from an underground bunker known as a Vault. Gameplay is similar to Fallout 3. The title is the fifth major installment in the Fallout series and was released worldwide on November 10th, 2015. Fallout 4 was benchmarked with ultra image quality settings with TAA and 16x AF. These settings are tough for entry level discrete graphics cards, but are more than playable on high-end gaming graphics cards. V-Sync can't be disabled in the games options, so we edited the necessary INI files and disabled vsync in the driver software as well. We used FRAPS to benchmark Fallout 4 after you emerge from the vault and are in The Commonwealth. Benchmark Results: In Fallout 4 at 2560x1440 the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming card remained above 60 FPS in the spot that we test in. Both the EVGA and Zotac GeForce GTX 970 cards were faster than the XFX Radeon R9 390 at 1080P. Benchmark Results: With the display resolution cranked up to 2560x1440 we found the XFX Radeon R9 390 performed faster than both GeForce GTX 970 cards on average, but it wasn't significantly faster. Benchmark Results: When we increased the resolution to 3840x2160 for some 4K gaming goodness the performance gap widened between the Radeon R9 390 and GTX 970's.
Grand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto V, currently one of the hottest PC games, was finally released for the PC on April 14, 2015. Developed by Rockstar, it is set in 2013 and the city of Los Santos. It utilizes the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which Rockstar has been using since 2006, with multiple updates for technology improvements. In Grand Theft Auto V we set the game to run with no MSAA with 16x AF and high image quality settings as we didn't want the GPU to bottleneck the system too bad, but wanted a setup that your average gamer would actually play on. We used the games built-in benchmark utility to have at least one game we used that could be compared to your setup at home. We averaged all the five of the default benchmark runs and omitted the maximum values as those results are garbage for some reason. 1440P Benchmark Results: After running the games built-in benchmark and averaging the runs together we found that the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid was slightly faster on average than the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 card. The games built-in benchmark minimum frame rate was higher on the Zotac card for some reason. 4K Ultra HD Benchmark Results: At 4K the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming was again slightly faster than the Zotac GTX 970 card and a touch slower than the XFX Radeon R9 390.
Rise of the Tomb RaiderRise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series. It was released for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. Players control Lara Croft through various environments, battling enemies, and completing puzzle platforming sections, while using improvised weapons and gadgets in order to progress through the story. Crystal Dynamics used a proprietary game engine called 'Foundation' for Rise of the Tomb Raider and it is able to create some pretty nice looking graphics. We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider with the Very High preset, but then changed the ambient occlusion setting from HBAO+ (an NVIDIA developed feature) to 'ON' to have as fair of a match up as we could. We also disabled VSync. Once we had the graphics and display settings figured out we used FRAPS to manually benchmark a section of the Siberian Wilderness that is about 10% into the game for a couple minutes. Rise of the Tomb Raider does not have a built-in benchmark, so this is one of the only ways you can benchmark this particular game title. 1080P Benchmark Results: For those running Full HD 1080P displays the good news is that all higher-end desktop graphics cards are able to play Rise of the Tomb Raider with 60 FPS averages. The GeForce GTX 970 and Radeon R9 390 still dip down into the low 50 FPS range at times, but the performance on the cards is more than acceptable as we played from the start of the game (Mountain Peak) to the Soviet Installation on the Radeon R9 390 without any major performance issues that we noticed. If you can afford higher-end card than a GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 390 you should be able to stay above 60 FPS at all times. 1440P Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming graphics card was able to best both the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 Amp! Omega and the XFX Radeon R9 390 Black Edition OC at 2560x1440! 4K Ultra HD Benchmark Results: Rise of the Tomb Raider with these image quality settings were tough on the GeForce GTX 970 cards as they fell into last place and averaged in the low 20 FPS range and you could certainly see screen tearing and the gamplay was far from stellar at 4K Ultra HD resolutions on this card.
Star Wars: BattlefrontStar Wars: Battlefront is a series of first- and third-person shooter video games based on the Star Wars films. Players take the role of soldiers in either of two opposing armies in different time periods of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars: Battlefront is built on the Frostbite 3 engine. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Digital Illusions CE and published by EA DICE/Disney Interactive on November 17, 2015. We ran Star Wars: Battlefront with the image quality settings set at Ultra and VSYNC was disabled. We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on Battle on Tatooine. 1080P Benchmark Results: All of these high end cards were able to play Star Wars: Battlefront at 1080P Full HD resolution and never dipped below 100 FPS in the map that we tested. The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid performed slightly better than the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 Amp! Omega and was on par with the XFX Radeon R9 390. 1440P Benchmark Results: The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid wasn't able to best the XFX Radeon R9 390 at this higher resolution, but not that it really matters much as all the cards were above 60 FPS at all times. 4K Ultra HD Benchmark Results: When moving up to 3840x2160 the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hyrbid Gaming was just shy of 40 FPS on average and we found that Star Wars: Battlefront was actually playable with this card!
3DMark 20133Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.
Fire Strike Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: The 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark had the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming card scoring 10,441 points versus the 11,007 points scored by the XFX Radeon R9 390 Black Edition OC and the 10,232 points on the Zotac GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Omega Edition card.Fire Strike Extreme Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: In 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme we see different scores, but basically the same scaling and performance results. The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming 4GB video card scored 5,333 points, just behind the XFX Radeon R9 390 Black Edition OC graphics card.
Temperature & Noise TestingThe gaming performance on a graphics card is the most important factor in buying a card, but you also need to be concerned about the noise, temperature and power consumption numbers. EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming Idle and Load Temps: When it comes to temperatures the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming video card idled at 23C on our open air test bench and got up to 40C when gaming for over an hour non-stop. These are very impressive GPU temperatures thanks to the water cooling solution! If you are wanting low temperatures and have room to mount the 120mm radiator/fan, then this card should be of interest to you! Here is a chart that shows the temperatures of some of the recent cards for comparison!
We test noise levels with an Extech sound level meter that has ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.The two fans on the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming are always spinning as this is not a 0dB model and you also have the water pump humming along. This means that the idle speeds are higher than all other cards, but the load temps were on the louder side, but it should be noted that the fan speed ramped up when we hit 40C on the GPU and that only happened on select game titles. ** The AMD Radeon R9 Fury X reference card that we are using was the original model with a loud water pump that whines. AMD changed the pump design before the cards hit the retail market, but wasn't willing to replace ours. We expect retail cards to perform quieter for this and hopefully AMD will send us a replacement card for proper noise testing. **