NVIDIA released the GTX970 with specifications that claimed 4GB of GDDR5, 2MB of L2 Cache and 64 ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines). This was sent out to multiple review sites and also to partners that would build these for retail sale. The marketing material all contained these specifications and the world was expecting solid performance from this card.
After a few weeks complaints started to emerge that when the card was under load (multiple monitors or very high resolutions) the card would slow down and stutter. After this hit the Internet things quickly got heated. There were site that were condemning NVIDIA and others that were saying it was no big deal. The people that bought the cards also seemed divided, but at least 8,100 people signed a petition that was in favor of forcing NVIDIA and their partners to give full refunds.
This petition and the tacit admission that NVIDIA knew they card was not exactly what they and others claimed it was are what led to the class action being filed.
The claim is that NVIDIA and partners knowingly marketed the card as having a higher spec than listed. Although the card does indeed have 4GB of memory on it. There is some questions about what types. NVIDIA’s Senior VP of GPU Engineering, Jonah Alben stated that the 4GB of memory on the card does not all operate the same way. 3.5GB of memory operates at full GDDR5 speeds while the remaining .5GB (512MB) operated much slower. To use this the card slows down the memory to match the speed of the slower VRAM. Likewise Aleb also appears to have stated that there are not really 64 ROPs, but 56 and that the L2 Cache is only 1792KB and not the 2MB stated.
If these allegations are true then NVIDIA could be in trouble. The suit clearly states that they are trying to prove that the card was not as represented. NVIDIA’s marketing material all shows information that is not accurate. It does not matter if there is only a small chance of a performance issue because of this design. All that matters from a legal standpoint is what is said and what is truly received. Of course there are a few people that claim they are having issues with the GTX970 due to the design, but it might be hard to prove that they are directly related to the missing L2, ROPs or memory.
We have a feeling that NVIDIA might settle this out before it gets to court.