Nvidia (and their partners) advertised last year’s Geforce GTX 970 video card as having 4 gigabytes of memory and earlier this year we found out that the memory was on a lower-speed path after the first three-and-a-half gigabytes in addition to other limitations which didn’t match their advertising. There’s now a proposed class-action lawsuit from people who bought the piece of crap and today we have the official blog post from Nvidia founder Jen-Hsun about the mistake:
Some of you are disappointed that we didn’t clearly describe the segmented memory of GeForce GTX 970 when we launched it. I can see why, so let me address it.
We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer — i.e., so that GTX 970 is not limited to 3GB, and can have an additional 1GB.
GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment.
Unfortunately, we failed to communicate this internally to our marketing team, and externally to reviewers at launch.
Since then, Jonah Alben, our senior vice president of hardware engineering, provided a technical description of the design, which was captured well by several editors. Here’s one example from The Tech Report.
Instead of being excited that we invented a way to increase memory of the GTX 970 from 3GB to 4GB, some were disappointed that we didn’t better describe the segmented nature of the architecture for that last 1GB of memory.
This is understandable. But, let me be clear: Our only intention was to create the best GPU for you. We wanted GTX 970 to have 4GB of memory, as games are using more memory than ever.
The 4GB of memory on GTX 970 is used and useful to achieve the performance you are enjoying. And as ever, our engineers will continue to enhance game performance that you can regularly download using GeForce Experience.
Shut the company down and give the money back to the shareholders or properly admit you made a fucking mistake and make it right for the people who bought these cards by taking back the 970 and upgrading them, for free, to the GTX 980 which doesn’t have the problem. What damning buffoonery it is to pretend that the people who bought the GTX 970 are wrong and are just disappointed and misinformed. This explanation is both inaccurate and does nothing to fix the mistake. For the people who spent $300-$400 on a video card that doesn’t match the specifications advertised, Nvidia needs to make it right.