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Nvidia: We will not boost GeForce GTX 970 performance with drivers

Nvidia Corp. on Thursday retracted its promise to improve performance of the GeForce GTX 970 using new drivers. According to the company, one of its representatives made an incorrect statement and there is no new driver with a fix for the graphics card incoming.

As discovered by numerous enthusiasts and confirmed by Nvidia earlier this week, the GeForce GTX 970 graphics card cannot access all four gigabytes of onboard memory at full speed. Due to limitations of the cut-down GM204 graphics processor used on the model GTX 970, only 3.5GB of memory can be accessed with maximum bandwidth, whereas 512MB pool can be accessed at considerably lower speed, which results in performance degradations in certain cases.

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On Wednesday it was reported that Nvidia was working on a special driver that would improve performance of the GeForce GTX 970 in certain situations. Unfortunately, while Nvidia is constantly working on new drivers, the company is not working on a special driver that will fix the issue when the GeForce GTX 970 cannot use more than 3.5GB efficiently.

“[Performance improvement plan] is not something we have officially said,” a spokesperson for Nvidia said in an emailed statement.

The GM204-200 graphics processor used for the GeForce GTX 970 lacks a part of level-two cache as well as features only 56 raster operations pipelines (even though initially Nvidia declared 64 ROPs and full 2MB L2 cache). Due to nature of the Maxwell architecture, 512MB of 4GB onboard memory cannot be accessed at full speed because of such configuration. As a result, Nvidia’s abilities to fix the 3.5GB GeForce GTX 970 memory issue with drivers are limited.

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KitGuru Says: Looks like the memory allocation issue of the GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards is not a bug, but rather a feature. As a result, expect new graphics adapters to change specifications of the product on boxes. Besides, Nvidia could reconsider pricing of the GeForce GTX 970 and even provide a compensation for owners in order not to fuel the scandal.

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