ASUS Strix Edition GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card Review

Print
by Rob Williams on September 24, 2014 in Graphics & Displays

With the help of Maxwell, NVIDIA has hit a definite home run with its GeForce GTX 900 GPUs. In our look at the GTX 980 last week, we were left thoroughly impressed, but little did we realize at the time, the GTX 970 – and ASUS’ Strix edition in particular – was about to impress us even more. Simply put, you need to check this card out.

Best Playable: Single Display

For about as long as GPU-accelerated games have existed, an ideal performance target has been 60 frames-per-second. Owing thanks to this is the standard 60Hz monitor, which delivers its best result when the framerate matches its refresh rate. To make sure the monitor’s refresh rate and game’s framerate keep aligned, to avoid visible tearing, VSync should be enabled.

While I believe our Best Playable results will appeal to any gamer, they could especially prove useful to those intrigued by livingroom gaming or console replacements. The goal here is simple: With each game, the graphics settings are tweaked to deliver the best possible detail while keeping us as close to 60 FPS on average as possible.

Because our Metro Last Light and Total War: SHOGUN 2 tests are timedemos, and because this kind of testing is time-consuming, I am sticking to six out of the eight games I test with for inclusion here.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9805160
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Environment:Very HighShadow:Soft Shadow High
Texture:HighReflection:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+ HighVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5261
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Environment:Very HighShadow:Very High
Texture:HighReflection:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:High
Ambient Occlusion:SSAOVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix5662
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Environment:Very HighShadow:Very High
Texture:HighReflection:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+ HighVolumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

ASUS’ Strix came ahead of the 780 Ti in most of the game tests seen on the previous four pages, and the card kicks this page off with even more impressive performance. While the 780 Ti was best playable with the same settings used in our regular apples-to-apples benchmarking, I found that I was able to boost the ambient occlusion to HBAO+ High and not only peak at 62 FPS, but gain 4 FPS on the minimum as well.

Battlefield 4
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9804763
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Quality:UltraTexture Filtering:Ultra
Lighting:UltraEffects:Ultra
Post Processing:UltraMesh:Ultra
Terrain:UltraTerrain Decoration:Ultra
Anti-aliasing Deferred:4x MSAAAnti-aliasing Post:High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti4362
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Quality:UltraTexture Filtering:Ultra
Lighting:UltraEffects:Ultra
Post Processing:UltraMesh:Ultra
Terrain:UltraTerrain Decoration:Ultra
Anti-aliasing Deferred:2x MSAAAnti-aliasing Post:Medium
Ambient Occlusion:SSAO
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix4660
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Quality:UltraTexture Filtering:Ultra
Lighting:UltraEffects:Ultra
Post Processing:UltraMesh:Ultra
Terrain:UltraTerrain Decoration:Ultra
Anti-aliasing Deferred:4x MSAAAnti-aliasing Post:Medium
Ambient Occlusion:SSAO
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

To hit 60 FPS in Battlefield 4, decreasing the anti-aliasing to 2xMSAA with the 780 Ti was necessary. By contrast, the GTX 970 could stick with 4xMSAA. Unlike the GTX 980 though, the 970 had to drop from HBAO to SSAO – not exactly a hard pill to swallow.

Crysis 3
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9804465
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:Very High
Effects:HighObject:Very High
Particles:HighPost Processing:High
Shading:HighShadows:High
Water:HighAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti4266
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:High
Effects:HighObject:High
Particles:HighPost Processing:High
Shading:HighShadows:High
Water:HighAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix4461
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:High
Effects:HighObject:High
Particles:HighPost Processing:High
Shading:HighShadows:High
Water:HighAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

As we saw with our Crysis 3 results earlier, the GTX 970 in this particular game scores a bit lower than the 780 Ti. However, at 1440p, we’re still hitting 60 FPS with “High” detail. Not even the GTX 980 could boost many of the settings to Very High – this game might be a year-and-a-half old, but it’s still a graphical beast.

GRID 2
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9806988
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OnAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti7383
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OnAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix7886
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Multisampling:4x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OnAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

Perhaps not surprisingly, the ASUS Strix handles this game without issue at max detail at 1440p resolution.

Sleeping Dogs
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9806578
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:HighHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5471
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:HighHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix5772
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Anti-aliasing:HighHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:HighMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

While the differences in AA modes in this particular title are difficult to see the difference between, it’s safe to stick to the High setting when using the GTX 970 – even the minimum is nearly 60 FPS.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
MinimumAverage
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 9805060
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO & HBAO+
Anti-aliasing:TXAA 2x
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti5871
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO & HBAO+
Anti-aliasing:FXAA
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix5968
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 2560×1440
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO & HBAO+
Anti-aliasing:FXAA
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 Strix

Like the GTX 780 Ti, the GTX 970 handles the game just fine using the same settings as our apples-to-apples test. The only detail level that can go higher is AA, and any change there will cause the FPS to plummet.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

twitter icon facebook icon googleplus icon instagram icon