When searching for a new video card you are often presented with a wide variety of factors to contend with from overall performance and price to which cooling method matches my style of gaming and overclocking. We have mentioned that factor overclocked video cards are a good investment. They may cost more but come with better out of box performance and are backed by a factory warranty. Of course you can attain the same level of performance doing it yourself however, you also miss out on the benefits custom coolers bring both in cooling performance and noise control.
In doing this review we discovered a few things. The first is that Maxwell tends to top out at ~1500Mhz regardless of the GPU core. Of course if you have a good ASIC chip backed by a good thermal solution the overclock gets closer to 1600Mhz. The next thing we noticed is that having three 75mm fans on the Windforce cooler does an extremely good job at keeping the card cool but tends to be a little nosier than you would expect.
Overall temperatures never rose above 50c and the core contact design offered a rapid temperature drop once the benchmarking load was removed. The included backplate didn't benefit from active cooling but did absorb a good amount of heat and had noticeable surface temperatures around 40c under heavy load.
The factory overclock is a nice perk and we would strongly suggest that if you happen to be in the market for a GTX 970 that you look the overclocked edition. As we have shown the card scales quite well and doesn't produce a lot of excess heat.
In our benchmarks you will notice that every game was near or above 60FPS average at 1080p. Considering that all of the quality settings turned on we find that to be very impressive. This extra performance can really change the visual aspect of games and in some cases even allow you to render a 4K image which is then scaled down to match your monitor resolution. (DSR: Dynamic Super Resolution) Combine the power of Maxwell with the patented Gigabyte Flex Display Technology and you could very well have some rather insane gaming sessions split across a 2x2 quad display at whatever resolution you choose.
Low Power Consumption
Custom VRM Configured for Overclocking
Windforce Triple Fan Cooler
GPU Boost 2.0
Excellent Core Overclocking (1539Mhz on Air)
Dedicated VRM Cooling
Gigabyte Flex Display Technology
Lots of Display Connections
A bit noisy at idle
Power plugs flipped around
Null on memory overclocking