What started as an arcane debate among hardcore hardware spec analyzers has now become a legal headache for Nvidia. The graphics card maker is facing a class-action lawsuit in the Northern District of California over allegations that it falsely advertised the total hardware power in the GTX 970 graphics card released late last year.
In marketing materials and reviewer guides provided when the GTX 970 launched in September, Nvidia advertised a card that had 4GB of high-speed GDDR5 RAM. Earlier this year, though, many users online reported performance issues when trying to utilize the entirety of that RAM, including stuttering and crashing on games and video editing applications.
Subsequent analysis found that the GTX 970 actually splits its RAM into two segments—a high-priority 3.5GB segment that is indeed high-speed GDDR5 RAM and a lower priority 0.5GB segment with a data bandwidth that’s roughly 80 percent slower. Some other advertised specs for the card also don’t match the shipping reality: the GTX 970 has only 56 Render Output Units, down from an advertised 64, and a 1.75MB L2 RAM cache rather than the advertised 2MB.
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