Nvidia’s still caught in a bit of a brouhaha over alleged misrepresentation of the mighty GTX 970’s specifications. They could now be facing a class-action lawsuit as a result. Nvidia’s uberboss, Jen-Hsun Huang has released a statement to address the issue. Perhaps a little later than it ideally should have been, it does however put an end to speculation and hearsay over the card’s segmented memory.
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.”
Essentially, he apologies for misleading consumers, stating that it was never the intention – and that it shan’t happen again. It’s not a bug though. It’s a feature! Despite the class-leading GTX 970 being one of the most powerful consumer level cards available and this memory revelation not changing the benchmarks that made people buy the card in the first place, I think people have a right to be annoyed, and feel like they were cheated. Especially as Huang doesn’t even factor the lower number of ROPS and L2 cache in his apology. It’s not just the segmented memory that has people up in arms. The GTX 970 may be the best bang for your buck right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that consumers were mislead.
Last Updated: February 25, 2015