Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia Corp. on Tuesday wrote an open letter to the company’s customers covering the recent GeForce GTX 970 controversy. The head of the GPU developer admitted that the company failed to communicate how memory sub-system works on the GeForce GTX 970, but said that the graphics card should still be considered as a “4GB” adapter. He promised not to make the same mistake again.
“Some of you are disappointed that we didn’t clearly describe the segmented memory of GeForce GTX 970 when we launched it,” wrote Mr. Huang. “We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer. […] GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth.”
Although Mr. Huang admitted that the GeForce GTX 970’s memory sub-system works rather oddly, he did not reveal why the company incorrectly stated the amount of raster operations pipelines (64 instead of 56) and level-two cache size (2048KB instead of 1792KB).
“Unfortunately, we failed to communicate this internally to our marketing team, and externally to reviewers at launch,” Mr. Huang acknowledged.
This is the not the first time Nvidia admits is mistake and blames poor communication within the company for the incorrect advertising. However, Nvidia offers no compensation to customers, who bought the GeForce GTX 970 based on specifications of the product.
Last week an end-user sued Nvidia for incorrect advertising and demanded a refund from the company.
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KitGuru Says: While it is good to see that Nvidia’s chief executive officer takes the GeForce GTX 970 issue very seriously, he did not reveal anything new and did not propose anything to owners of the graphics cards. While it is obvious that the GeForce GTX 970 is a great performer for the money, it is clear that many people are disappointed with the fact that they did not get what they paid for (and some even report about issues like micro-stuttering, which is a clear driver problem) and providing them some kind of a compensation would be a good step. It is unknown why Nvidia does not want to give anything back to its customers in this case.
The full text of Jen-Hsun Huang’s letter reads as follows:
Some of you are disappointed that we didn’t clearly describe the segmented memory of GeForce GTX 970 when we launched it. I can see why, so let me address it.
We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer – i.e., so that GTX 970 is not limited to 3GB, and can have an additional 1GB.
GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment.
Unfortunately, we failed to communicate this internally to our marketing team, and externally to reviewers at launch.
Since then, Jonah Alben, our senior vice president of hardware engineering, provided a technical description of the design, which was captured well by several editors. Here’s one example from The Tech Report.
Instead of being excited that we invented a way to increase memory of the GTX 970 from 3GB to 4GB, some were disappointed that we didn’t better describe the segmented nature of the architecture for that last 1GB of memory.
This is understandable. But, let me be clear: Our only intention was to create the best GPU for you. We wanted GTX 970 to have 4GB of memory, as games are using more memory than ever.
The 4GB of memory on GTX 970 is used and useful to achieve the performance you are enjoying. And as ever, our engineers will continue to enhance game performance that you can regularly download using GeForce Experience.
This new feature of Maxwell should have been clearly detailed from the beginning.
We won’t let this happen again. We’ll do a better job next time.