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Pros: Build quality, runs very cool and quiet, powerful, little to no coil whine while under load, quality components i.e. capacitors etc., compact form factor....
Cons: Not up to EVGA warranty standards and customer service.
Other Thoughts: I forgot to mention that this card does expel a surprising amount of air out of the back port on the card. However, not all air is expelled out of the back vent where connectors are located.
Also, other than the plastic shroud (black and red plastic on the front surrounding fan etc), it has an overall solid/excellent build quality.
While most cards give off coil whine, this card gives off an extremely small amount. You literally have to put your ear right next to the card.
While I mostly harp on Asus for lack of warranty and customer support, I will give them credit for using high-quality components, which EVGA tends to lack on some of their graphics card offerings.
If EVGA doesn't offer particular form-factors I'm looking for, Asus will be my second brand of choice now...
Pros: cool, quite, powerful, overall design, back plate included, SLI connectors, compact
Cons: Plastic shroud, Asus customer service and warranty support.
Other Thoughts: Overall this is a solid running GTX 970 card. I have this card running with an i5 4690S, 1TB Samsung 840 series SSD, Asrock base mobo, 16GB (2 by 8) Corsair Vengeance memory, Seasonic 720 Watt PS (with hybrid mode) all crammed in an Elite 110 chassis.
I'm very happy with this configuration considering I tried a similar setup, but with MSI's GTX 770 graphics card. That card ran extremely hot, which concerned me with running inside a small chassis already limited with airflow. I didn’t want to bake the rest of my system due to a hot running graphics card. I also returned it because it ran fairly loud and at an idol I could hear a ticking sound coming from it.
I had low expectations for Asus due to my poor experience with MSI's GTX 770. However, the Asus GTX 970 runs cool and quite in this system. When the fan does spin up, it sounds like a smooth whirring sound similar to Noctua's fans (I only use Noctua fans). I'm extremely fussy when it comes to fan bearings that give off a ticking/scraping sounds since my chassis is on my desk about three feet away. I can happily say this card comes with a high quality fan and bearing (GPU cooler as well).
While playing Titan Fall, my graphics card fan runs at 40 to 50% (around 1700 to 2000RPM… GPU temp at 79 degrees…I Have it set for this temp manually, which is default from factory) while playing ultra-settings at 1080p with 2X MSAA. The GTX 980 I had experience with could actually due 4X MSAA. This GTX 970 isn't too far behind (I don’t like to play at less than 60 FPS, anything less is unacceptable and bothersome for me).
Other than this card being from Asus, I would definitely recommend it. I usually favor EVGA due to their fantastic customer support, but they don't offer a GTX 970 in this particular form factor. For me, a company’s warranty and customer service reputation is as important as the product. I feel Asus’s just isn’t quite there from poor past experiences.
This graphics card is one of the first ones I can confidently recommend running is a mini-ITX chassis, without hitting any extreme temperatures, while still being able to do some extreme/serious gaming.
If you are hesitant to purchase this card, I recommend you give it a try. Full-sized twin fan graphics cards now seem way over-size and unnecessary unless you plan on doing some serious overclocking. I don’t care to overclock my components although I think you can get a fairly healthy overclock out of this already over-clocked card from factory, which runs far from hot as it already is.
Pros: Build quality (all metal cooler and backplate), EVGA product support and customer service, quit !, runs cool (Low TDP), performance (One fast beast), backplate included, modest overclock from factory, reference cooler, blower design to push hot air out of my Elite 130 cassis.
Cons: I don't care much for the built in lighting effects. Just something that may stop working later. EVGA packaging not exciting or desirable. Dropped frame in FarCry 4; I'm assuming it needs a little more optimation.
Other Thoughts: I started out with a GTX 970 mostly to play Titanfall. I could not max out all of the setting (just anti-aliasing; I could only make up to 4x and wanted 8x MSAA. Also, getting dropped frames in some games). So I upgraded from Nvidia GTX970 to the EVGA Superclocked GTX980 and now I can max out all the setting on all my games at 60htz, 1080p. The only other graphics intensive game I play that wouldn't max the settings without negligable frame drops from 60 was Far Cry 4. I only get a few frame drops rarely on occasion with the GTX980, which is fine because I don't notice unless running FRAPS.
My other main motive for upgrading from the 970 to the 980 was because the 970 was purchased from Nvidia through a local retailer. I have dealt with defective products from EVGA in the past and they have taken excellent care of me. So I decided to return the Nvidia branded card for the EVGA for PC of mind. That was one of my main motivations with ordering the EVGA GTX 980 through NewEgg and not going to an Nvidia branded reference card through the same local retailer.
The packaging for the EVGA card was little to be desire, but everything else is fine and it came with extra adapters compared to the Nvidia branded card. I would not hesitate to recommend this card to anyone unless price were a factor. If it were, I would send them towards a GTX 970. For those of us who aren't hunting necessarily the "best value," the GTX 980 is the champ.
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