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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI is a high-end DirectX 11-compatible graphics solution for laptops, consisting of two GeForce GTX 970M. Each card has a 28 nm GM204 GPU based on the Maxwell architecture, which is the same chip as found on the GTX 980M as well as several desktop cards. The clocks for the SLI-setup are usually identical to a single GTX 970M (924 MHz GPU, 1250 MHz memory).

With SLI, each card renders a single frame (AFR mode). Therefore, it may suffer from micro stuttering in low fps ranges of 30 fps. This happens because of different timespans between two frames (e.g., irregular delays between sequential frames).

Architecture

GM204 is based on Nvidia's Maxwell architecture, which replaces the previous Kepler generation. Among other changes, Nvidia have restructured the streaming multi processors (SMM) in order to increase workload and efficiency. Now each SMM contains only 128 shader units and 8 TMUs, which is noticeably less than an equivalent Kepler GPU. The GM204 features four GPCs, and each consists of four SMMs. But, in the GeForce GTX 970M, Nvidia have deactivated 6 of 16 SMMs. As a result, only 1280 shader ALUs and 80 TMUs are active. In addition, there are 48 ROPs in three clusters with 16 units each.

The memory interface has a bandwidth of 192-bits (3x 64 bit) for each of the two GPUs. Thanks to an improved compression algorithm, the connection to the GDDR5 memory should be significantly more efficient per MHz. Furthermore, the L1 (96 KB per SMM) and L2 caches (2 MB) have been significantly increased to lower the needed bandwidth. Compared to the mid-range GM107, the newer and larger GM204 has several additional features and changes. Aside from the improved polymorphic engine in the SSMs, it is also the first Nvidia chip to support DirectX 12 Feature Level 12_1.

Performance

With good driver support, SLI almost doubles the performance of a single card. The GTX 970M SLI outperforms the former GeForce GTX 880M SLI by about 10 percent and is the second fastest mobile graphics solution in late 2014. Only the significantly more expensive GTX 980M SLI offers even more 3D power and is about 30 percent faster. Nevertheless, the GTX 970M SLI is powerful enough to run even the most demanding games with highest details, AA/AF and resolutions exceeding FullHD.

Features

Most of the features are identical to the GeForce GTX 800M series. With the GTX 970M, there can be up to 4 active displays possible, but this will likely decrease due to Optimus. Displays can be connected with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels via DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0 (no HDCP @ 4K). HD audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS HD can be sent to a compatible receiver as bitstream. As with previous models, 3D Vision is not supported with Optimus.

The updated video processor VP6 supports the usual formats like H.264 and can also decode and encode H.265 with a resolution of up to 4K via the NVENC API. Several parallel streams, such as picture-in-picture in a Blu-Ray movie, are also possible.

Further features of the GTX 900M series, which are also partly supported by older cards, include Battery Boost (longer battery life during gaming), Shadowplay (recording of gaming videos up to 4K60p and 130 Mbit/s) and Gamestream (game streaming on Shield console). More information on these features are available here.

Power Consumption

The power consumption of each GeForce GTX 970M including its MXM board and memory should be similar to a GTX 870M with a specified TDP of 100 W, leading to a total TDP of about 200 W. Given the significantly higher performance, this can be considered a massive increase in performance-per-watt. Nevertheless, the SLI setup can only be used in very large and heavy gaming notebooks with powerful cooling systems. Under low load, dynamic clock rates help the GPUs to save energy.

ManufacturerNVIDIA
GeForce GTX 900M Series
GeForce GTX 980M SLI 3072 @ 1038 - 1127 (Boost) MHz2x 256 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 970M SLI 2560 @ 924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz2x 192 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 965M SLI 2048 @ 924 - 950 (Boost) MHz2x 128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 980M 1536 @ 1038 - 1127 (Boost) MHz256 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 970M 1280 @ 924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz192 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 965M 1024 @ 924 / 935 - 950 / 1151 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 960M 640 @ 1029 - 1097 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 950M 640 @ 914 - 993 - 1124 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 1800 - 5000 MHz
ArchitectureMaxwell
Pipelines2560 - unified
Core Speed *924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed *5000 MHz
Memory Bus Width2x 192 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory2x 6144 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 12 (FL 12_1), Shader 5.0
Power Consumption162 Watt
Transistors2x 5200 Million
technology28 nm
FeaturesBattery Boost, GameStream, ShadowPlay, GPU Boost 2.0, Optimus, PhysX, CUDA, SLI, GeForce Experience
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement07.10.2014
* The specified clock rates are only guidelines for the manufacturer and can be altered by them.

Benchmarks

GFXBench 3.0 - Manhattan Onscreen OGL on screen
0%
100%
min: 74.8     avg: 74.8 (33%)     median: 74.8 (33%)     max: 74.8 fps
Cinebench R15
Ref. Match 64Bit +
OpenGL 64Bit +
3DMark - Fire Strike Graphics 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 14231     avg: 14776 (38%)     median: 14759.5 (38%)     max: 15354 Points
3DMark - Fire Strike Score 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 10621     avg: 10865.2 (46%)     median: 10741 (46%)     max: 11358 Points
3DMark - Cloud Gate Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 88044     avg: 96256.5 (59%)     median: 96943.5 (59%)     max: 103095 Points
3DMark - Cloud Gate Standard Score 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 23191     avg: 25744.5 (52%)     median: 25556.5 (52%)     max: 28674 Points
3DMark - Ice Storm Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 157047     avg: 276540 (37%)     median: 303556 (40%)     max: 342001 Points
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 168.5     avg: 168.5 (63%)     median: 168.5 (63%)     max: 168.5 fps
ComputeMark v2.1 - Normal, Score 1024x600
0%
100%
min: 5307     avg: 5327.5 (24%)     median: 5327.5 (24%)     max: 5348 Points
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 18249     avg: 19109 (37%)     median: 18870 (37%)     max: 20447 points
3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 14203     avg: 14633 (51%)     median: 14514.5 (51%)     max: 15300 points
3DMark Vantage
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
P Result 1280x1024 +
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 +
SPECviewperf 12
Solidworks (sw-03) 1900x1060 +
Siemens NX (snx-02) 1900x1060 +
Showcase (showcase-01) 1900x1060 +
Medical (medical-01) 1900x1060 +
Maya (maya-04) 1900x1060 +
Energy (energy-01) 1900x1060 +
Creo (creo-01) 1900x1060 +
Catia (catia-04) 1900x1060 +
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit +
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit +
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailled information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

Need for Speed 2016
low 1280x720
107.6  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
102.5  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
90.7  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
68.1  fps    + Compare
3840x2160
37.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Additional Benchmarks
Medium / Off 1920x1080
102.1
Hitman 2016
low 1280x720
60.7  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
60.3  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
52.2  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
50.2  fps    + Compare
3840x2160
25.1  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Additional Benchmarks
Medium / Off 4xAF 1920x1080
59.6
The Division
low 1280x720
161.3  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
129.4  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
71.9  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
54.9  fps    + Compare
3840x2160
26.2  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Additional Benchmarks
Medium Preset 4xAF 1920x1080
93.5
Far Cry Primal
low 1280x720
69  fps    + Compare
med. 1920x1080
64  fps    + Compare
high 1920x1080
63  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
60  fps    + Compare