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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M is a 28 nm DirectX-11 graphics card for high-end notebooks. It was introduced in Fall of 2014 and is based on the Maxwell GM204 architecture. The clock rates specified by Nvidia are 924 MHz (+ Boost) for the GPU and 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective) for the up to 6 GB of GDDR5 memory.

Architecture

Just like the mid-range GM107 chip (GeForce GTX 860M), the GM204 is also based on Nvidia's new 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). 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.

Although the GM107 and the GM204 both belong to the Maxwell generation, 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

Thanks to the increased efficiency, the GeForce GTX 970M performs somewhat better than the former top model, the GTX 880M and should sit comfortably as the second fastest model after the GTX 980M. According to our benchmarks, it is about 15 % faster than the GTX 880M depending on the scenario. The GTX 980M is a further 20 to 30 percent faster than the GTX 970M. Overall, the GTX 970M is fast enough to run even the most demanding games with highest details and FullHD resolution. Additional quality features like anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are also not a problem for this card in most titles as of 2014.

3DMark (2013) - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Graphics (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
11926 Points ∼43%
GeForce GTX 980M
9598 Points ∼35%
GeForce GTX 970M
7268 Points ∼26%
GeForce GTX 880M
6095 Points ∼22%
GeForce GTX 780M
5744 Points ∼21%
Radeon R9 M290X
5294 Points ∼19%
GeForce GTX 870M
4802 Points ∼17%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
15823 Points ∼44%
GeForce GTX 970M
9907 Points ∼27%
GeForce GTX 880M
8690 Points ∼24%
GeForce GTX 780M
8014 Points ∼22%
Radeon R9 M290X
6817 Points ∼19%
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - 1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
145.9 fps ∼54%
GeForce GTX 970M
93 fps ∼35%
GeForce GTX 880M
81.2 fps ∼30%
GeForce GTX 780M
76.8 fps ∼29%
Radeon R9 M290X
62 fps ∼23%
Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:2xSM AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
52.3 fps ∼52%
GeForce GTX 970M
33.4 fps ∼33%
GeForce GTX 880M
33.2 fps ∼33%
Radeon R9 M290X
22.8 fps ∼23%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
61.8 fps ∼44%
GeForce GTX 970M
53.3 fps ∼38%
GeForce GTX 880M
42.6 fps ∼30%
GeForce GTX 780M
41 fps ∼29%
Radeon R9 M290X
33.1 fps ∼24%
GeForce GTX 870M
35.3 fps ∼25%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
104 fps ∼57%
GeForce GTX 970M
72.5 fps ∼40%
GeForce GTX 880M
65.6 fps ∼36%
Radeon R9 M290X
46.8 fps ∼26%
Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
84.5 fps ∼48%
GeForce GTX 970M
54.8 fps ∼31%
GeForce GTX 880M
45.4 fps ∼26%
Radeon R9 M290X
38.7 fps ∼22%

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 the GeForce GTX 970M including its MXM board and memory should be about the same as a GTX 870M with a specified TDP of 100 Watt. Given the significantly higher performance despite the identical manufacturing process (28 nm TSMC), this can be considered a massive increase in performance-per-watt. Nevertheless, the graphics card can only be used in very large and heavy gaming notebooks with powerful cooling systems.

Under low load, dynamic clock rates help the GTX 970M to save energy. While idle, the Optimus technology also allows for the complete deactivation of the GPU in favor of the integrated processor graphics card.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M is a high end DirectX 11.2 graphics card for laptops. The card is not yet officially announced and therefore the following information is based on rumors and leaks. The card based on the GM204 Maxwell chip, that is already available in the desktop GeForce GTX 970 and 980. Thanks to the improved efficiency, the GTX970M should be clearly faster than the previous GTX 870M and even the old GTX 880M.

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
Pipelines1280 - unified
Core Speed *924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed *5000 MHz
Memory Bus Width192 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory6144 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 12 (FL 12_1), Shader 5.0
Power Consumption81 Watt
Transistors5200 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

Cinebench R15
Ref. Match 64Bit +
OpenGL 64Bit +
3DMark (2013) - Fire Strike Standard Graphics 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 7241     avg: 7475.8 (27%)     median: 7460 (27%)     max: 8216 Points
3DMark (2013) - Fire Strike Standard Score 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 5982     avg: 6567.8 (28%)     median: 6564.5 (28%)     max: 7124 Points
3DMark (2013) - Cloud Gate Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 24050     avg: 48403.3 (30%)     median: 51247 (31%)     max: 55797 Points
3DMark (2013) - Cloud Gate Standard Score 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 13453     avg: 20336.9 (58%)     median: 20720 (59%)     max: 22537 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score 1280x720 offscreen
0%
100%
min: 265020     avg: 277485 (62%)     median: 274626 (61%)     max: 303296 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Extreme Graphics 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 42740     avg: 103456 (28%)     median: 96678 (26%)     max: 203891 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 48702     avg: 130534 (17%)     median: 116692 (16%)     max: 340853 Points
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 91.6     avg: 92.8 (34%)     median: 93 (35%)     max: 93.7 fps
ComputeMark v2.1 - Normal, Score 1024x600
0%
100%
min: 4975     avg: 5196.4 (33%)     median: 5137.5 (32%)     max: 5622 Points
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit - Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
0%
100%
min: 1113     avg: 1234 (34%)     median: 1222.5 (33%)     max: 1395 Samples/s
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit - Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
0%
100%
min: 1920     avg: 2246 (39%)     median: 2223 (38%)     max: 2545 Samples/s
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 9439     avg: 9950.2 (27%)     median: 9877.5 (27%)     max: 12446 points
3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 8533     avg: 9369.3 (41%)     median: 9403 (42%)     max: 10936 points
3DMark Vantage
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
P Result no PhysX 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 +
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
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.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst
low 1280x720
125  fps    + Compare