Graphics card giant Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has written an extensive apology concerning misleading advertising of their GTX 970 card.
The GTX 970 was initially touted by Nvidia as a cutting edge graphics card with a formidable 4 gigabytes of VRAM. Shortly after its release, however, numerous complaints about the card’s performance began to emerge, with users reporting that their systems suffered performance drops and stuttering when more than 3.5 GB of the card’s VRAM was used.
As it turns out, this issue was a result of the manner in which the 970 splits its memory into two segments–one with 3.5 GB of GDDR5, and the other with a significantly slower 500 MB. As Huang explains in his post, “this is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment.”
Generally, the 970 runs most games just fine; it’s problems only become apparent when users run games at extremely high resolutions like 1440p or 2160p. The system’s need to access the separate 500 MB of VRAM, as a result, is the cause of the performance issues.
Nvidia blamed poor communication between their design team and marketing team concerning the 970s capabilities, but that didn’t save them from being hit with a class action lawsuit earlier this month for false advertisement. The lawsuit alleges that Nvidia “engaged in a scheme to mislead consumers about the characteristics, qualities, and benefits of the GTX 970,” and seeks to have refunds given to affected users.
In his statement, Huang wrote:
Instead of being excited that we invented a way to increase memory of the GTX 970 from 3GB to 4GB, some were disappointed that we didn’t better describe the segmented nature of the architecture for that last 1GB of memory.
This is understandable. But, let me be clear: Our only intention was to create the best GPU for you. We wanted GTX 970 to have 4GB of memory, as games are using more memory than ever.
He concluded things with a promise that “we won’t let this happen again. We’ll do a better job next time.”
In the meantime, you can watch this “shocking” interview with Nvidia’s engineer over the GTX 970 (hint: it’s not real).