Round-Up: GeForce GTX 980 and 970 Cards From MSI, EVGA, and Zotac Reviewed

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The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW

Next up, we’ve got the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW. EVGA’s got a handful of GTX 970-based cards in their current line-up; the FTW Edition is one of the higher-clocked models, which also includes ACX 2.0 cooling.
EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW
Aside from being factory overclocked, the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW with ACX 2.0 cooling’s main differentiator is its custom heatsink and fan assembly. The dual-fan Active Cooling Extreme, or ACX, cooler features a large heatsink array, with additional fin volume over reference designs. If you look close, you’ll notice that unlike earlier model ACX coolers which had two heatsinks underneath the shroud, one that sat right atop the GPU and another just to the side, this card has three—one right on the GPU, and two flanking each side. The heatsink is linked to the baseplate by multiple thick heatpipes and there is an additional heatplate mounted to the card’s VRM as well.
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The fans used on the ACX cooler also got some special treatment. According to EVGA, the fan blade design offers superior strength to standard fans and the dual-ball bearings offer increased longevity over more common sleeve bearings. All told, EVGA claims the ACX cooler outperforms reference coolers, while also reducing weight and thickness.

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As for the card itself, we think it looks great. The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW with ACX 2.0 cooling is a dual-slot card, but it is slightly thinner than reference models. This particular version ships with a base GPU clock of 1216MHz and boost clock of 1367MHz and includes 4GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at an effective 7010MHz. As evidenced by the pair of SLI edge connectors at the top of the card, the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW with ACX 2.0 supports up to 3-Way SLI, and because the TDP of the card is only 145 watts, dual 6-pin supplemental PCI Express power feeds are all that are required to power it (in addition to its slot, of course).

evga precision

Outputs consist of a pair of dual-link DVI outputs, a full-sized DisplayPort output, and an HDMI connector. The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW with ACX 2.0 has more than enough muscle to push multiple displays simultaneously, and as such, it supports NVIDIA's 3D Vision Surround technology, as well other proprietary NVIDIA technologies like 3DVision, PhyX, and the like. Included with the card, you’ll find a handful of adapters, drivers and a user’s guide, along with a case badge and poster. EVGA also offers up their excellent Precision X tweaking utility for free, which is pictured here.

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