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::>Graphics cards > 2014 > 12 > Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra

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Republish review

27-12-2014


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Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra graphics card: review and testing

In this review, we will continue to acquaint you with the modification of one of the most powerful graphics card of company NVIDIA, namely, the recently announced NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970. Its key features can be found in the materials dedicated to GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970 G1.Gaming and microarchitecture NVIDIA Maxwell.

 

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

And we will focus on the Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra. This modification is probably one of the most original versions of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, which have visited our test lab. In addition to a very curious proprietary cooling system Herculez X4 Air Boss, its key features include a good level of factory overclocking, the qualitative circuitry and excellent delivery set.

But first of all let’s learn the detailed characteristics of the tested device.

Model

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra

(Inno3D C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM204-200-A1 (Maxwell)

Q-ty of shader pipelines (CUDA-cores)

1664

Support of technologies and API

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Basic/dynamic core frequency,  MHz

1178 / 1329

Nominal memory frequency (effective), MHz

1800 (7200)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Bus size, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

230,4

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Additional power sockets PCIe

2 x 6-pin

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

300 х 115

(315 х 130)

Drivers

Drivers can be downloaded here: Inno3D or GPU  

Producer website

Inno3D

As you can see, Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra differs from the standard version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970. This modification has proprietary cooling system, as well as factory overclocking the GPU and video memory up to 1178 MHz and 7200 MHz, respectively. Recall that the recommended frequency is 1050 MHz and 7012 MHz. Also don’t forget about the technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, taking into account that the average graphics core is clocked at 1329 MHz instead of recommended 1178 MHz.

Packaging and content 

 

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The graphics card comes in a rather large box, traditionally made of thick cardboard, which is decorated with dark red colors. Key information located on the front side of the box contains the information about the amount and type of video memory, support of technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12, as well as mention about the fact that the novelty refers to the original series «Ultra» of factory overclocked graphics cards. Do note the presence of supplied brand pad and the full version of the benchmark 3DMark Advanced Edition.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The reverse side of the package has the description of the benefits of the card in several languages.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Inside the package graphics card Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX) is securely fastened with a special shock-absorbing soft forms, there is no need to take care during transportation.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Supplied set of graphics card includes:

  • instruction;
  • CD with software;
  • mouse pad;
  • two hexahedrons to remove the metal plate from the housing of the cooler;
  • a code for a free download of full version of benchmark 3DMark Advanced Edition;
  • adapter for graphics card power;
  • adapter DVI - D-Sub.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

To display an image the novelty has a reference set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Analog up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

New product is made on black PCB with the reference design and has a standard arrangement of key components, where the video memory chips are placed around the GPU, and power system is on the right side of it. In this case, the circuitry is designed using high-quality solid capacitors and ferrite chokes.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Power of Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra is performed by standard five-phase scheme (four phases for the GPU and one for the memory chips).

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The power subsystem is implemented on a digital PWM controller NCP81174 manufactured by ON Semiconductor. According to the documentation, it is equipped with short circuit protection and is characterized by increased efficiency by supporting the power saving function (PSI).

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

In addition to slot PCI Express 3.0 x16 graphics card power supply is provided via two additional connectors located on the side of the board. Similarly to the standard version they both are 6-pin. 

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

To provide the operation of technology NVIDIA SLI the Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra uses two connectors for connecting the respective bridges. They allow you to combine from two to four graphics cards for shared calculation of graphic effects.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The reverse side of a novelty, originally covered with a solid metal base plate is almost completely devoid of significant elements as the PWM controller and the video memory chips are located on the front side.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The heart of the tested model is the graphics chip NVIDIA GM204-200-A1 (Maxwell) produced by 28-nm process technology. It includes 1664 unified shader pipes (CUDA cores in the terminology of NVIDIA), 64 blocks rasterization and 104 texture units. As we have said, the graphics card is different by factory overclocking of graphics core with frequencies 1178 and 1329 MHz for nominal and dynamic modes, respectively.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

A total capacity of the device is 4 GB and it is designed using 8 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity 512 MB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7 GHz, but in this case it was increased to 7200 MHz. The data exchange between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 256-bit bus, which is capable of passing of 230.4 GB per second.

Cooling system

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The total length of the graphics card with installed proprietary cooling system Herculez X4 Air Boss which takes three expansion slots is 300 mm according to the official website of the company (315 mm as measured in our lab).

 

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The cooler consists of a massive two-part radiator, which uses 62 and 56 nickel-plated aluminum plates, three fans with impeller diameter 87 mm and the plastic casing with metal plates, which covers the entire structure above.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The fans are produced by Colorful labeled «CF-12915S» and they based on sliding bearings. Their rated voltage is 12 V and the current strength is 0.35 A, which results in a power of 4.2 W. The special mention is the original cut-outs on the blades, which contribute to the generation of more powerful airflow.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

For a more uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator there are five copper heat pipes: two 8 mm and three 6 mm. They are covered with a layer of nickel, which serves to prevent oxidation of copper during operation and the subsequent fall of heat exchange effectiveness.

The GPU contacts with copper base of the cooling system via a small layer of thermal paste. To improve the efficiency of the cooler the heat contact of pipes with copper base is improved by solder.

 

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Individual component of the cooling system is an side plate with additional 47 mm fan Colorful CF-12510M (12 V, 0.15 A, 1.8 W) based on a ball bearing, which is connected by the 8 mm heat pipe with a small, low profile radiator. Note that the side fan has a fixed speed 2800 rpm. It does not depend on the load on the graphics card and can not be adjusted manually.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Another low-profile heatsink is responsible for cooling the rest of the video memory chips, which is in contact with a special thermal interface.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

The functions of this part of the cooling system are perfectly illustrated by the manufacturer on these figures. Two additional radiators collect excess heat from the memory chips and power elements of the power subsystem, which goes up via a nickel-plated heat pipe. Here it is cooled by downward air flow generated by a 47 mm fan. Hot air also escapes through a number of additional slots in the upper side face.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Metal plate mounted on the back of the card, has no any thermal interface. Nevertheless, during the operation it was heated significantly, however, it has not only a supporting function to prevent fracture under the weight of the printed circuit board of the cooler and serves as an additional heat sink.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

To control the red LED-backlit there is a special three-position switch, which can disable it completely, or transfer into soft flickering mode.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

In case of automatic speed control of fan blades, under the maximum load, the graphics core was warmed up to 47 degrees and cooler worked with the virtually silent for 36% of its maximum capacity. The rotational speed of the fan blades was about 1530 rpm.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

Under the maximum fan speed the GPU temperature dropped to 4 degrees. At the same time the noise can be described as "above average", and it was not very comfortable for extended use. This is not surprising, because all three turntables rotate with an estimated frequency of 2700 - 2800 rpm.

Inno3D GeForce GTX 970 iChill Ultra (C97U-1SDN-M5DNX)

In case of absence of load the frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically reduced, resulting in lower power consumption and heat dissipation. This cooler works absolutely silent mode when the rotational speed of the fan was at the level of 1200 rpm.


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