Nvidia Slapped With False Advertising Lawsuit for GTX 970 Card

Graphics card giant alleged to have intentionally mislead customers.

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In January, we learned that Nvidia incorrectly labeled its GTX 970 card, leading to fans accusing it of exaggerating the card's specs. Since then, the GPU manufacturer has been hit with a class action lawsuit for false advertisement.

GTX 970 cards are marketed as having 4 GB of video RAM, but many gamers have found that if the card demands more than 3.5 GB, in-game performance begins to drop off. Nvidia has acknowledged the issue and said that this happens because the card splits its memory into two chunks--one with 3.5 GB and one with 500 MB. When the system needs more than 3.5 GB, it has to use a slower process to access the remaining memory, and that can cause framerate dips and generally slow performance.

For the most part, the issue only affects those playing games at very high resolutions, typically 1440p or 2160p, but the GTX 970 was directed at gaming enthusiasts that wanted a slightly cheaper option than Nvidia's flagship card, the GTX 980.

The lawsuit also lists inaccuracies in the reviewer's guides it sent to hardware critics. This second part is a much bigger problem, because while the 970 does technically have 4 GB of video RAM, it doesn't actually have the 64 render output units (ROPs) or the 2048kb of L2 cache that many publications claimed.

As we explained in January, that discrepancy is key, as it represents an oversight by Nvidia's marketing department and explains why the card can't access the last chunk of its video RAM effectively.

The lawsuit alleges that Nvidia "engaged in a scheme to mislead consumers about the characteristics, qualities, and benefits of the GTX 970." The suit seeks an injunction against Nvidia, legal fees, full refunds for those that purchased the card, as well as restitution.

Nvidia has yet to respond to the suit.

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