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A class action lawsuit brought against Nvidia over a slow RAM partition has resulted in a proposed settlement (PDF) that could pay $30 to anyone who bought the company’s GTX 970 graphics card before its troubles came to light.
In early 2015, a group of customers found that the GTX 970—which was advertised to have 4GB of high-speed GDDR5 RAM—experienced performance issues when pushed to the limits of that memory allotment.
It then came to light that the graphics card only had 3.5 GB of the high-speed RAM, with the remaining 0.5 GB running roughly 80 percent slower, as Ars Technica reported last year.
Nvidia claimed at the time that there was an error in communication between the company’s engineers and its technical marketing team, but that it had not been intentionally misleading.
A year later, that position hasn’t changed: according to the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement filed in Northern California District Court last week, Nvidia “[continues] to vigorously deny all of the claims and contentions alleged in this Action.” The company, however, “considered the risks and potential costs of continued litigation of this action,” and decided to work toward a settlement, the motion adds.After a year’s worth of negotiations, lawyers representing customers and Nvidia came to an agreement.
Besides offering $30 for each unit purchased by a customer, Nvidia will also pay $1.3 million in legal fees and plaintiff’s attorneys fees.
The motion explains that the $30 per unit should compensate customers for the missing data speed they thought they were getting.
The GTX 970 cost approximately $350 on average between the day it went on shelves in stores and the day the lawsuit against Nvidia was filed. “A cash payment of $30 for each Unit would constitute approximately 8.6 percent of the purchase price,” the motion reasoned.
“One of the primary misrepresentations at issue is that the GTX 970 does not operate with a full 4 gigabytes of RAM, but rather with a 3.5 GB pool of RAM and a decoupled and less performant 0.5 GB spillover segment that operates at one-seventh the speed of the main pool,” the motion continued. “Accordingly, Settlement Class Members allege they were shortchanged on 0.5 GB of their 4 GB of RAM, or about 12.5 percent.”
Lawyers offered that if affected customers took a class action lawsuit to court, the best case scenario would be that they could expect to receive 12.5 percent of $350, or $43.75 each. “In this way, a recovery of $30 would represent approximately 70 percent of the anticipated value of these claims,” the lawyers wrote.
Of course, the settlement is still awaiting preliminary approval, so details could change before a judge grants final approval for the plan.