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March 02, 2015

Unboxing & Review: Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane


While the recent controversy on the mis-advertised GTX 970 with its effective memory of 3.5GB instead of the advertised 4GB, our past experience with the GTX 970 shows that it's still a good graphics card which exhibits better performance and lower power consumption compared to the same tier card from previous generation Nvidia GeForce graphics card. In collaboration with one of our nation's best gaming rig builder at Ideal Tech, we manage to get our hands on another GTX 970 for today's review - the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane.

Retailed at approximately RM1299, the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane is one of the most affordable choice among various brands of GTX 970 in the Malaysian market. As we will not be running our game benchmark on 4K resolution, we can set aside the 3.5GB memory issue and focus on its performance - let the fun commence!

Specifications
Model Name
Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane
Graphics Engine
 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
Bus Standard           
PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory
4GB GDDR5 (3.5 + 0.5)
Engine Clock
GPU Boost Clock: 1216 MHz
GPU Base Clock: 1076 MHz
CUDA Core
1664
Memory Clock          
7010 MHz
Memory Interface
256-bit
Interface
DVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I), Yes x 1 (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1 (HDMI 2.0)
Display Port : Yes x 1 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories
 Driver CD, 2 x 4-pin molex to 6-pin PCIe adapter, user guide, DVI to VGA adapter
Software                   
-
Dimensions
 280mm x 140mm x 40mm


Packaging

It seems that Leadtek kept the retail packaging of its GTX 970 Hurricane as inexpensive as possible, as it greatly resembles the retail packaging of its GTX 700 series GPU - they've even used stickers to label the graphics card model! 


Behind theThere's nothing much we can find at the back of the packaging except for the brief introduction on the new features offered on a Maxwell GM204 GPU, different model of GTX 970 offered by Leadtek.

Accessories

The included accessories a driver CD, user's manual, DVI-VGA adapter, 2 x 4-pin molex to 6-pin PCIe cable.

Closer Look

The Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane comes in a shorter PCB and dual cooling fan design.


From the top end of the card we can see the heatpipe arrangement - there's a total of 4 nickel plated heatpipes in direct contact with the base of the cooler for the best cooling efficiency of its size. 


2 x 6-pin PCIe power connector is required to power up the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane.


Although the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane has a short PCB, Leadtek is still being pretty generous to provide a backplate with it. The backplate looks rather plain, no fancy cuttings nor wording printed on; but it'll still provide the very same protection to the card by improving its rigidity to prevent sagging or PCB bending issue.


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


The GTX 970 Hurricane comes with a total of 4 output display connector to satisfy your needs for multiple display monitor - 1 x Display Port, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI-I and 1 x DVI-D.

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Corsair H100i
CPU
Intel Core i7 4790K
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus Hero VII
Memory
Kingston HyperX Savage 16GB
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply
be quiet! Straight Power 10 600W
Chassis
Vector Bench Case

We've conducted our test by installing the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane to our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room with 30C° 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 Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane to its highest stable clock that is able to complete each game benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1496 MHz
  • 8198 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.2V on the voltage for GPU


The overclocking result is quite promising as we're able to get an extra 280MHz on the GPU clock and 1088 MHz on the memory clock. The gain in each synthetic and games benchmark is listed as below:
  • Unigine Valley:  10%
  • Unigine Heaven: 16% 
  • Tomb Raider:  11.4%
  • Battlefield 3:  18.1%
  • Battlefield 4:  17.9%
  • Crysis 3:  30.9%
  • Far Cry 3:  20%
Verdict
Overclocking the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane isn't hard at all as the highest achievable core clock that runs stable throughout our tests is 1496MHz, which is an extra 23% boost compared to the original core clock of 1216 MHz. The audible coil noise that manifests on full load has been a known issue for most GTX 980 and GTX 970 but it doesn't really affect much of the gaming performance.

With a moderate operating fan noise that isn't really audible during full load and temperature idling at 36°C and peaked at 75°C on full load, the Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane is a recommended choice for the silent freaks out there who wants a well performed, cooling and silent GTX 970.

The Leadtek GTX 970 Hurricane comes in a fair price of RM1299,  for a GTX 970 with a pretty decent performance, overclockability cooling performance and cost few hundred bucks less than some GTX 970 that comes with a fancy looking cooler, we don't see why we shouldn't recommend it to you guys. 

Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • Factory overclocked
  • Decent overclocking capability
  • Requires only 2 x 6-pin PCIe power connector 
  • Comes with a metal backplate for that extra protection against PCB sagging
  • Decent cooling performance

Cons
  • Limited overclocking capability due to NVIDIA's Green Light Program
  • No dedicated software for GPU overclocking
  • Coil noise issue

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