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Asus GTX970 STRIX OC Review

Rating: 9.5.

In the second of our GTX970 launch articles today, we look at the new ASUS version of the card – the GTX970 STRIX OC. As the name would suggest it ships in an overclocked state with a proprietary cooling system and a hybrid fan system to drop noise levels to a minimum.

strix overview650x650px
The Asus GTX970 Strix OC is a mean looking card – the artwork is intentionally minimalistic, fitting in with the theme. Asus say the name STRIX is taken from the ancient Roman and Greek for the word ‘OWL’. Bird lovers all over the world will be happy.

Even though we have a handful of reviews ready for the launch today, Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture deserves a little discussion before we get into testing the ASUS GTX970. If you are a regular reader of KitGuru then you will already have studied our multiple analysis of the lower level GTX750Ti solution throughout the year.

The GTX750ti has been one of the most exciting cards that Nvidia have released in recent years – performance is close to the HD7850 while consuming half the power at the socket – and all without the need for a PCIe power cable. It produces such a modest heat emission that the Asus GTX750Ti Strix OC we reviewed recently didn’t need to spin the fans most of the time, even when gaming.

AMD really are so far behind now when it comes to power consumption that they will need to release a new architecture to compete. Not an easy thing to do overnight, but we hope they have something in the pipeline to become competitive again in the coming months.

The Maxwell architecture has been designed to deliver twice the performance per watt of previous generation Geforce hardware. It sounds easy enough on paper, but the real world challenges for Nvidia have been complex.

GPU GeForce GTX 680 (Kepler) GeForce GTX 980 (Maxwell) Geforce GTX 970 (Maxwell)
Streaming Multiprocessors 8 16 13
CUDA Cores 1536 2048 1664
Base Clock 1006 mhz 1126 mhz 1050 mhz
GPU Boost Clock 1058 mhz 1216 mhz 1178 mhz
Total Video memory 2GB 4GB 4GB
Texel fill-rate 129 Gigatexels/Sec 144.1 Gigatexels/Sec 109.2 Gigatexels/Sec
Memory Clock 6000 mhz 7000 mhz 7000 mhz
Memory Bandwidth 192 GB/sec 224 GB/sec 224 GB/s
ROPs 32 64 64
Manufacturing Process 28nm 28nm 28nm
TDP 195 watts 165 watts 145 watts

The new GM204 GPU is very efficient. The Maxwell SM has been rebalanced so that the CUDA cores are fully utilised more often. Doing so saves power and enhances overall performance. The L2 cache size in the GM204 is 2MB, or four times larger than the GK104. The addition of extra cache means that fewer requests to the GPU memory are needed – again reducing power consumption and pushing more performance.

The Geforce GTX 970 is equipped with 7Gbps memory. Those of you with higher resolution monitors, or running in a multi screen configuration will also be pleased to hear that there is 4GB of GDDR5 memory on the card, not 3GB – this memory will push 224 GB/s sec. Nvidia have added a new compression engine to reduce the demand on DRAM bandwidth.

The Asus GTX970 Strix OC has received a core clock enhancement to 1,114mhz, from 1,050mhz on the reference design. The GDDR5 memory remains untouched, as we would expect – its certainly not going to be a bottleneck.

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  • Have been in the market for a R9 280x for the past several months…

    After reading this review, whelp, I’m sold; Asus 970 Strix it is.

  • Charles Charalambous

    Dude no go for the MSI 4G it performs better and is £20 cheaper in the UK been doing a ton of research this morning. Also be have managed overclocks of 1502 ON THE BASE CLOCK. Without much effort. 1400 WITHOUT ADJUSTING VOLTAGES o_o

  • EM87

    The MSI is 2fps faster, sorry but i’d rather have a better cooler who stays silent until the card reaches 60° and oc it myself if i need to. Even a 50mhz boost, which is nothing, is more than enough to get more than those 2fps. MSI solutions remains fantastic though, you can’t really go wrong with both of them.

  • Charles Charalambous

    True but the MSI one also stays incredibly cool, some reviewers go tit to 1567 with no voltage increase and does not go above 65c. That is damn impressive. The MSI cooler is also really well designed to be fair.

  • DG

    MSI disable fans under 50C as well…


  • Link?

  • Charles Charalambous


    I actually got mine £5 cheaper from them, they just upped their price.

  • Antonio Parra

    Hello people Kitguru, you have an error in the selection list, says MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G
    instead of ASUS Strix GTX 970. Please fix that, thanks!

  • Thanks!

  • Dobies

    Hey Kitguru, I am wondering what your opinion on the different partner cooling solutions is. TwinFrozr (MSI), Windforce (Gigabyte), ACX (eVGA), and Strix (?, ASUS) – all seem to be formidable choices. I am personally a fan of the Gigabyte Windforce one, but what about the other selections? How do they compare?

  • Frankie

    So just to be sure, I should definitely look into MSI cards if I want to build a silent system right?

  • Charles Charalambous

    Not really ASUS are also silent, but this MSI card is insanely silent I am amazed and it is cheaper. to it with a bit of an OC max temp of 70 and it is silent. Nothign wrong with ASUS. I like them a lot but MSI are also solid, and this is £20 cheaper so no brainer for me.

  • Frankie

    Gotcha. What if I wanted to buy a relatively silent gpu in the $150-200 range? Would you recommend ASUS and MSI for their silence (even at the price range)?

  • Charles Charalambous

    Hard one would need to do your research on that front. Thing is the 900 Series seems to be the quietest of them all due to the lower power consumptions fans turning off below 60c etc. Silence in that range may not be achievable. Would have to look back at the 700 series to try and find a quiet solution.

  • Carlos Quiroz Mandela

    I wonder If this type of system fan doesnt die through the years, all those constant changes from 0 to X rpms makes me wonder, thats my only concern about this card. Even if MSI is faster and more silent I wouldnt go with them. Asus has better quality components all the way. Comes to my mind the cheap ass mosfets that MSI use in their 970 Gaming mobos, so NO MSI. This is a must have as Kit Guru says. Bad thing is al re-sellers here in Latín America are gonna raise the price of this model for a while. Greedy basterds…