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January 13, 2015

Unboxing & Review: Palit GTX 970 JetStream


NVIDIA's latest Maxwell GM204 based GPU has been a popular choice for gaming PC since its . In collaboration with one of our nation's best gaming rig builder at Ideal Tech, we manage to get our hands on the Palit GTX970 JetStream for today's review.

Just like the Palit GTX 980 Super JetStream, Palit GTX9780 JetStream features latest technology of NIVIDA's Maxwell 900 series GPU, custom PCB design and the 0db fan cooling. Retailed around RM1259, let's have our attention on what kind of performance can we expect from the Palit GTX 970 JetStream.


Specifications
Model Name
Palit GTX 970 Jetstream
Graphics Engine
 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
Bus Standard           
PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory
4GB GDDR5
Engine Clock
GPU Boost Clock: 1304 MHz
GPU Base Clock: 1152 MHz
CUDA Core
1664
Memory Clock          
7020 MHz
Memory Interface
256-bit
Interface
DVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1 (HDMI 2.0)
Display Port : Yes x 3 (mini Display Port)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories
Manual, Driver Disc, DVI-VGA Adapter, Power Cable
Software                   
Palit ThunderMaster
Dimensions
 280mm x 140mm x 40mm



Overview

The retail packaging of the Palit GTX970 JetStream comes with its usual Chinese character ιΆ¨ which carries the meaning of wind. There's not much details provided here except for the latest technology from NVIDIA. 


This one appears to be a limited offer where a coupon for in-game rewards in Phantasy Star Online 2 is included. 


Behind the packaging we don't see any details related to the JetStream series graphics card other than what's from NVIDIA.

Accessories

The included accessories seems pretty standard, a driver CD, user's manual, DVI-VGA adapter, PCIe Y-Splitter, JetStream logo sticker and a free coupon to redeem in-game rewards for the game Phantasy Star Online 2.

Closer Look

The GTX970 JetStream has taken on a new look with dual cooling fan design instead of the usual triple cooling fan, though the black-gold themed shroud is retained.


LED cooling fans is used as an element of aesthetics.


The distinctive JetStream logo.


And there's the brand logo of Palit.


2 x 6-pin PCIe power connector is required to power up the Palit GTX970 JetStream.


A total of 3 copper heatpipes is in direct contact with the GPU die as cooling solution.


SLI fingers for multiple NVIDIA GPU configuration - up to 4 GPU.


No backplate is included for this model but there's metal a bracket at the side that will provide a little extra protection against PCB sagging. 


The GTX970 JetStream comes with a total of 5 output display connector to satisfy your needs for multiple display monitor - 3 x Mini Display Port, 1 x HDMI and 1 x DVI-I.


Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Prolimatech Samuel 17
CPU
Intel Core i7 4790K
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus Gene VI 
Memory
G.Skill TridentX 8GB@2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Kimtigo KTA-350 120GB
Power Supply
BitFenix Fury 550G
Chassis
Vector Benchcase

We've conducted our test by installing the Palit GTX970 JetStream to our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room with 31C° ambient temperature.

Performance, Overclocking and Temperature
We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark in our possession at the resolution of 1920 x 1080, 4x Anti-aliasing. Due limited voltage adjustment, we've only managed to push the Palit GTX970 JetStream to its highest stable clock that is able to complete each game benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1442 MHz
  • 8012 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.2V on the voltage for GPU

Although the overclocking result in numbers looks pretty impressive, but the performance gain we're seeing here is a little odd for certain benchmark. Here's the difference that we've observed in each benchmark after overclocking the Palit GTX970 JetStream:
  • Unigine Valley: 8.2%
  • Unigine Heaven: 12.12%
  • Tomb Raider: 9.7%
  • Battlefield 3: 15.2%
  • Battlefield 4: 13.7%
  • Crysis 3: 23.2%
  • Far Cry 3: 16.7%
Temperature wise,  the idle temperature hovers around 46°C which we consider unpleasant to our eye but still acceptable as it's unlikely to damage any component with that temperature. It's cooling performance seems pretty decent but we're expecting it to be better as the highest temperature of 77°C is recorded when we're on FurMark stress test utility, a little warmer compared to the previous Maxwell based GTX 970 that we've previously dealt with. 


Verdict
Overclocking wise, the Palit GTX 970 JetStream itself is actually factory overclocked and has higher clockspeed compared to most GTX 970 but we're seeing a pretty decent overclocking capability in this card well even though there's limitation in voltage adjustment set by NVIDIA.

There is minor coil noise that is audible from near distance during full load, which we soon found out that many companies is currently combating with this issue that only manifests at full load on specific benmarks such as FurMark stress test, Futuremark 3DMark, Unigine Heaven 4.0, etc - although it doesn't really affect the overall performance.

Similar to what we've seen on the ASUS STRIX graphics card 0db fan design where the cooling will on spins when the GPU temperature hit above 65°C, the idle temperature gets pretty warm and some might find it uncomfortable even though the temperature is still not quite enough to do any damage to the graphics card - that's the trade off for its silent cooling.

It might not be the cheapest GTX 970 around, but the price of RM 1259 isn't that bad either if you're considering for its 0db fan design, which we find having similar design as its competitor's but by at least RM 200 cheaper.

Pros
  • Aesthetic appearance
  • Reasonable price for the extras
  • One of the highest factory overclocked GTX970
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Comes with a metal frame for that little extra protection against PCB sagging
  • Comes with free coupon for in-game item redemption (could be a limited offer)
  • Able to maintain a decent idle temperature even without cooling support from fans
Cons
  • Limited overclocking capability due to NVIDIA's Green Light Program
  • higher idle temperature due to the fans that only spins when the temperature hits above 65°C
  • Coil noise issue
  • Odd choice of video output, the uncommon Mini Display Port

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