The Nvidia GTX 970: Is It Still a Gaming Powerhouse in 2023?

The graphics card is the beating heart of any gaming PC, an essential component for creating immersive, visually stunning experiences. This post will delve into one such graphics card: the Nvidia GTX 970, a popular choice at its 2014 release.

However, as we cruise into 2023, the question on many gamers’ minds is: Does it still hold up? Can it deliver enough juice for modern gaming and graphic-intensive tasks?

Overview of Nvidia GTX 970

Launched in 2014, the Nvidia GTX 970 was hailed as a performance powerhouse. Equipped with the Maxwell architecture, it boasted a base clock of 1050MHz, a boost clock of 1178MHz, 1664 CUDA cores, and 4GB GDDR5 memory.

It offered gamers impressive power efficiency, high-quality textures, and robust frame rates at a fair price point, quickly becoming a favorite in the gaming community.

Performance Assessment

The GTX 970’s performance in modern gaming can be termed “decent” at best. It handles many titles at medium settings and 1080p resolution but struggles with more demanding games and higher settings.

The card’s 4GB VRAM also poses a limitation, particularly when running games at resolutions above 1080p. Comparing the GTX 970 with newer cards, the performance gap is quite noticeable.

For instance, the RTX 3070, a card in a similar price bracket at launch, offers nearly triple the performance. Furthermore, the GTX 970 lacks support for real-time ray tracing, a feature that is becoming increasingly common in modern games.

When it comes to gaming in 2023, the Nvidia GTX 970 still holds its ground as a powerhouse, but how does it compare to newer graphics cards like the Nvidia GTX 1080?

Power Efficiency and Cooling

The GTX 970 was considered energy-efficient at its launch, thanks to Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture. However, newer cards, particularly from the Turing and Ampere generations, offer superior performance per watt.

Upgrading to a newer card would not only provide better performance but also contribute to energy savings over time. In terms of thermal performance, the GTX 970 runs relatively cool, with many models featuring excellent cooling solutions.

Yet, it is important to note that the efficiency of these cooling solutions may have degraded over time, particularly for used cards. This could result in higher operating temperatures and potential thermal throttling.

Price and Availability

In 2023, the GTX 970 can be found in the used market at fairly low prices. However, its availability may vary greatly depending on your region. Considering its performance, the GTX 970 seems to offer good value for money if you’re gaming on a budget.

Nonetheless, it is essential to compare it with newer budget cards, which may offer better performance and more up-to-date features at a similar price point.

VRAM Capacity and Future-Proofing

The GTX 970’s 4GB VRAM was adequate for 1080p gaming at its launch. However, with modern games demanding more memory for higher-quality textures and effects, this limitation becomes increasingly apparent.

Running games at higher resolutions or enabling high-resolution texture packs may result in reduced performance or even stuttering due to VRAM constraints. As for future-proofing, the GTX 970 will likely struggle with newer titles and updates, limiting its lifespan for modern gaming.

Games are constantly evolving and becoming more demanding, and the 4GB VRAM may hinder the card’s ability to handle future releases effectively.

DirectX and Software Support

The GTX 970 supports DirectX 12, which ensures compatibility with a wide range of games. However, it lacks support for newer features like DirectX Raytracing, a technology that enhances realistic lighting and reflections in games.

While Nvidia has a track record of offering long-term software support for their graphics cards, the focus on optimizing drivers for newer models means that older cards like the GTX 970 may not receive the same level of attention.

As a result, users might experience reduced performance or compatibility issues when running the latest and most demanding titles. It’s important to consider this factor when deciding whether to purchase the GTX 970 in 2023.

Alternative Options

In 2023, there are several alternative graphics cards available that can provide similar or even superior performance when compared to the GTX 970. For instance, the GTX 1650 Super, the GTX 1660 Super, and the RX 580 offer comparable or better performance in terms of raw power and gaming capabilities.

These newer cards also come with additional features and advancements, such as enhanced ray tracing capabilities, DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology, and increased VRAM capacity. With more VRAM available, these alternatives can handle modern games with higher-quality textures and graphics more efficiently.

Moreover, these cards are often priced similarly to the GTX 970, ensuring that gamers can enjoy a better gaming experience and improved compatibility with the latest game titles without breaking the bank.

When considering gaming options in 2023, one might wonder if the Nvidia GTX 970 can still hold its ground against newer graphics cards like the GTX 1660 Ti.

Budget-Friendly Considerations

If you’re on a tight budget and primarily play less demanding games, the GTX 970 may still be a viable option. It can handle older or less graphically demanding titles without significant issues, providing an adequate gaming experience.

Additionally, the GTX 970 can serve non-gaming purposes like video streaming and light photo editing with ease.

Longevity and Upgradability

The GTX 970’s potential for longevity is limited, primarily due to the rapid advancement of gaming technology. As games continue to become more resource-intensive, the GTX 970 will struggle to deliver satisfactory performance and maintain high graphical settings.

Its 4GB VRAM limitation and outdated architecture hinder its ability to handle the demands of modern titles effectively. While upgrading within a system that already supports the GTX 970 poses no compatibility issues, it is important to consider future upgrades.

Investing in a newer and more capable graphics card ensures that you stay ahead of the curve, benefiting from improved performance, advanced features, and better longevity in the ever-evolving world of gaming.

User Reviews and Feedback

User reviews and feedback on the GTX 970 in 2023 are mixed. While some users appreciate its performance in older titles and less demanding games, acknowledging its ability to provide an enjoyable gaming experience within those limitations, others express frustration with its inability to handle newer games at high settings.

Common complaints revolve around the card’s limited VRAM, which can lead to stuttering or frame drops when running games with high-resolution textures or at higher resolutions.

Additionally, the absence of support for modern gaming features like ray tracing is seen as a significant drawback, especially considering the increasing number of games that utilize this technology to enhance visual fidelity.

As a result, potential buyers should carefully consider these user reviews and weigh the card’s limitations against their specific gaming needs before making a purchase decision.


While the GTX 970 served as a fine piece of hardware in its prime, its time in the limelight has passed. For modern gaming, you’re better off considering newer alternatives that offer improved performance, more VRAM, and support for the latest gaming features.

If you’re on a strict budget and willing to make compromises, the GTX 970 may still hold some appeal, but overall, the recommendation would be to opt for more recent options. Investing in a newer graphics card will provide a better gaming experience and ensure compatibility with upcoming game releases.