It feels like Nvidia launched their incredibly popular Maxwell range of cards just yesterday, but it’s hard to deny just how popular the GTX 970 is still among PC gamers. The perfectly priced GPU became a quick favourite with Steam users globally after launch, and it was somewhat fortunate that demand for the card shot through the roof before controversy hit. In January 2015, we were one of the first to break the news of Nvidia’s “false advertising” with the GTX 970, and the lawsuit surrounding it has finally be settled.
If you’re unfamiliar with the debacle, you can catch up n full here. In short, Nvidia advertised the GTX 970 as having a full 4GB of GDDR5 vRAM, when in actual fact the card only featured around 3.5GB of sufficiently speedy ram, with a further half a GB of much slower memory. That crippled half made a massive difference for the card’s future proofing, and is part of the reason why some of the cheaper, more bulky Pascal cards are an alluring upgrade option today.
Nvidia was taken to task for the issue in a class action lawsuit that ended up costing around $1.3 million. The good news or consumers is that Nvidia were forced to settle, paying the exorbitant legal fees of the court proceedings and being ordered to refund all GTX 970 customers with $30. This amount reportedly makes up the discrepancy between what customers should’ve paid had Nvidia been honest about the memory constraints from the start.
It is, however, unclear as of now exactly how GTX 970 owners and previous customers are able to apply for the reimbursement, and even murkier as to whether this will apply to international customers. There isn’t a limit to how many GTX 970 purchases Nvidia has to pay out for though, with the company set to deal out thousands of refunds should the application process be worth it. A full $30 isn’t a small amount either when compounded like that, and I certainly think Nvidia will be making sure a mistake like this won’t happen again.
Or not. The GTX 970 ranked as the most popular card used with gamers on Steam, so it’s clear the controversy didn’t affect sales enough to really warrant worry from Nvidia. The balance of payments here might well be in their favour, but for now we can finally put this issue to rest.