Galax builds their own short GTX 970


Jul 31, 2014
deruberhanyok actually found this one, but I thought this sub would be interested too.





Looks quite nice with its two fans. Bit like the old Zotac Twincooler!

Unfortunately the cooler does extend over the PCB a little bit
It could be, but Galax's site says the card is 193mm long. It looks like the PCB is the same as Zotac's short 970, which is 175mm (iirc).

So my suspicions are that the cooler does extend over the PCB a bit.
they could also be measuring the full card (thus to the edge of the PCIe bracket tab)
I've had this card for a couple weeks already and love it. The PCB lines up perfectly with the edge of the motherboard, while the cooler extends another 2-3mm at most. The 193mm does include the PCI bracket for those wondering. I haven't pulled the cooler off yet to see if the board is a candidate for water cooling, but at a glance from the back, I suspect it may be reference as the design looks just like my PNY 970 which I plan to water cool in a future build.
I actually ordered the Galax card yesterday morning. :) Didn't think to post about the card here since there was already discussion going in the other forum.

When it gets here I will take pictures and post measurements.
If you look closely, you'll see this Galax model has the default height (from pci-e connector to the edge with the power connectors/sli connectors), whereas the gigabyte model is a few mm taller than standard. It could mean the difference between fitting or not in a tight ITX case.

That's a good point.

I really don't know why companies are trying to re-invent short cards as recent few generation (660, 760) reference cards works just fine with a different cooler.
If people want a look, I can mount the card up on my spare ITX board and snap a few photos. I have an ITX mounting plate that will allow a really clean view.
Mine's in customs, according to the tracking. Maybe it'll make it here in time for some thanksgiving weekend gaming!
Checked this morning and my card is still in customs. :/
wooo, out of customs!

Should have it by Tuesday, I think.
single slot 970s (or whatever's right below) would be awesome, but I don't need to spend any more money on my htpc so maybe not. lol My 5750 kinda sucks, but it does the job at 720p. :/
Agree, single slot cards have been overlooked recently. I don't think there's enough demand for them really, and also, a single slot cooler will be quite loud and less efficient at cooling.

You can however get the Galaxy/KFA2 GTX 750 ti razor, which is pretty nice for single slot. It will certainly be better than that 5750.
I'm curious to see what sort of short length / single slot / low profile options the rest of the GeForce 900 series will make possible. And eventually the new Radeon HD 300 series, whenever those come out. I wouldn't be surprised if there were new, good single-slot options made possible by them.
Maybe a bit cynical, but I don't think we'll ever see any single slot/low profile GTX X60 or above ever. IIRC there has never been one (at least from kepler and later), and it's not like demand for those kinds of cards is rapidly rising.

However I suspect the GTX 960 will have a short reference PCB, kind of like the 600 series.
Dual slot cards are very nearly ubiquitous with graphics cards. Even low profile graphics cards are dual slots now, even the ones with only a single pci bracket will normally have a heatsink/fan on them that take up an extra slot.

I'm just really hoping the power consumption on the GTX960 will be under 75 watts, and we can get a good mainstream card again that has no additional power connectors. But i think i may have to wait for the 950's for that.
Yeah, I'd expect around 110W for the GTX 960, if it's a new chip, or maybe 125W if it's a further cut-down GM204 (to 1280 "shaders" or whatever they're called these days).

As for below that, it's anyone's guess. The 750ti is already Maxwell, so I'm wondering if even going from GM107 to a theoretical "GM207" part would involve performance improvements or power use improvements. It wouldn't be as a big a jump going from Kepler to Maxwell, at least, so the question then becomes how much more efficient second-gen Maxwell is compared to first-gen.

nvidia has already done a low profile, single slot Maxwell with the Quadro K620, which is GM107 cut down to 384/16/16 from the 750's 512/32/16 config. Sadly there isn't a consumer version of this (like a GeForce 740 Ti or something). So if the second gen tech is sufficiently more efficient, maybe a 512/32/16 config in a low profile, single slot form factor isn't beyond the realm of possibility.
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Argh, signature required on a day I wound up working late!

I'll have to pick it up at the post office tomorrow, and the way this week is shaping up, I might have a chance to install and test it out by next Sunday.
Card picked up this morning and installed late afternoon. Just a few quick impressions, as I haven't had much time with it yet. It works (hooray!). Under load (Unigine is all I had time for) there seems to be a decent amount of warm air coming out of the exhaust port (which I'd hoped for when I saw the horizontal heatsink fins), and then it's fairly quiet when not under load. Also, metal shroud over the heatsink, not plastic.

I'll try to spend some more time with it tomorrow. Meantime I will answer what questions I can - and I'm running Ubuntu, so I'll post some about setup under Linux too.
TL;DR version: some odd noises that may be coil whine, card is MUCH shorter than advertised (170mm PCB, 173mm at the heatsink shroud, a full 2cm shorter than Galax' website says), performs as expected, load temps are low 70s C, might need a reapplication of thermal goop but haven't checked under the heatsink yet.

I'm quite pleased with the purchase, will be even moreso if the odd noises continue to fade as they have since I first powered it up.


More impressions:

First things first, I run 64-bit Ubuntu 14.04.1 on my system, so I can't test D3D out with anything. Likewise there are a lot of newer games that don't run on Linux, so my "testing" is a bit limited. I've put driver install instructions at the very bottom of the post if anyone is unfamiliar with how to do it. Ubuntu 14.10 may require it as well.

My system is an SG05-450 with Asus Z97I-Plus, i7-4790k, 16GB of LP Ballistix Tactical and M550 512GB m.2 SSD. This is currently connected to a Dell U2715H - my home office monitor - so I can try out some native 2560x1440 resolution. Using Ubuntu 14.04.1 with the xord-edgers PPA for drivers (see below for install instructions).

I don't see any DSR options in the settings, so I can't test that under Linux. It might be supported in the newer drivers... or it might not be doable on Linux currently because of some weird X nonsense.

Here's some results from two Unigine Valley runs:

2560x1440, quality High
FPS: 56.6
Score: 2370
Min FPS: 33.6
Max FPS: 95.5

1920x1080, quality Ultra:
FPS: 81.1
Score: 3395
Min FPS: 39.3
Max FPS: 128.6

The scores are lower than some D3D 11 scores I've seen posted, and mine are a little lower than some other Linux benchmarks (Phoronix', for instance, although they had an updated kernel installed on theirs which might account for that), but basically: it's a GeForce 970. No surprises there.

As for the quality of the thing, a few notes:



Shipping took 8 days from when I ordered it to the post office's attempt at delivery (needed a signature and I wasn't home) - which is great considering it had to go through customs, too.

They shipped it by putting the box in a Fedex box, with no additional packaging. I was concerned about this at first - I opened it at the post office after I picked it up to make sure it wasn't damaged - and was happy to see that the actual card's box was full of a custom cut foam tray for the card to sit in. While the box was a little dinged up, the contents were definitely protected, and that was the important thing.


weird noises:

I think I've read about this before but can't find where now, but if I drop resolution and turn off vsync, getting framerates well into the hundreds, there's an odd buzz/whine something sound that shows up. It's noticeable at 60fps, though quieter than when I first noticed it two days ago. Coils whine/buzz of some sort, I expect. I may just leave it running for a while to "burn-in" and see if that affects it. Or maybe it needs to be introduced to the oven.

Also, one very strange one: on some 2D screens in a 3D app, it... whistles? Once again, maybe some coil thing, that's always a safe bet when it comes to weird noises. The only instance I can think of where this is noticeable is when I close Unigine Valley or Heaven - that flat "credits" screen that displays for a few seconds causes it. But only in full screen mode, it doesn't do it in windowed mode. Perhaps a result of framerates shooting into the stratosphere on a single 2D screen while it's still using OpenGL for rendering?


Heatsink and fan:

This is my only 970, and my first "modern" video card. Prior to this I was using a 560ti (bought cheaply as a stopgap while I waited for the 900 series to launch), but before that, I had strayed away from PC gaming, so my systems just used onboard video.

I expect fan noise is similar to any other 970; very quiet at idle, lots of fan noise at load. But this is the price paid for a small form factor, high end video card. The fans still spin at idle; I know some newer cards have a fan stop feature where, if temps are low enough, they don't spin at all, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Also, at load, I can definitely feel the cool air being sucked in the SG05's side vent. The fans are positioned perfectly to get air drawn in to them. Very pleased with that.

Speaking of temps, it seems to max out around 71-72C, with the fans going at a pretty good clip. It also gets there really quickly, within a minute or so of loading up Unigine, for instance. It doesn't get any higher than that, and I'm not seeing any down-throttling after letting the test run for half an hour ish. Dunno if this indicates that I need to reapply the thermal paste or if it's normal behavior.

The heatsink is beefy. It's got decent heft to it (I didn't think to weigh it, sorry) and the shroud is made of a solid metal, not plastic. The horizontal fins and the rear exhaust vent are what made me buy this particular model, figuring it would be the best setup for a small case, and I think I chose correctly. Once it is running at load for a bit I get a good amount of warm air getting pushed out of the exhaust vent. There's warm air being exhausted into the case, as well, but it doesn't feel like as much. This is using the highly scientific "hold your hand here" method. I need to get some sort of thermometer I could use to check the airflow and see how it is, might have something in the kitchen that would work.


Card dimensions:

This is the big one, or, actually, the small one.

The PCB measures 170mm, and the heatsink's shroud is only a tiny bit longer, I measured it at 173mm. That's a full 2cm shorter than what Galax' website says (they list it at 193mm there). That came as a pleasant surprise. It will easily fit in a CM elite 110 (and I happen to have one of those on my desk). Combined with the standard card height, that leaves only the top-protruding PCI Express power connectors to interfere with your build.

This makes it a much more palatable choice than previously expected. The Gigabyte ITX 970 is 183mm according to their website (although it seems to be closer to 170mm in pictures); the new Asus one recently announced is listed at 17cm, and the Zotac 970 is 204mm at the shroud (though 190 at the heatpipes and 170 at the PCB).

I took a few pictures if anyone is interested, will get those uploaded somewhere later this evening.


Ubuntu driver install instructions:

Ubuntu 14.04.1 (which I'm using) doesn't have support for the GTX 970 "out of the box" - the drivers aren't in the repositories yet. Expect this to be corrected when 14.04.2 comes out (scheduled for February 5). Thankfully, since it's just a point release, it will be an automatic update, and from then on the drivers should show up under "additional drivers" like they typically do.

In the interim, getting a 970 set up in Ubuntu is still pretty easy (and can be done without going to the terminal):

1) Go to "system settings" / "software & updates"
2) Click "other software" and then "add", and type:
3) ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
4) click "close" and then "reload" when prompted.

This will add a new software repository for your system and update the list of available software. This particular one is maintained with all of the newest video stuffs for Ubuntu.

After this, run the software updater (if it doesn't automatically come up, click "system settings" / "details" and on the first tab there should be a button about checking for updates). It will install all updates available and might require a restart.

Last step. Open up the Ubuntu software center and search for "nvidia 343" for the 343 series driver. (There's also a 346 driver but it is marked as Beta on nvidia's site. I haven't tested it.) In the list of search results you should see "NVIDIA binary driver - version 343.22" and a package name underneath that of "nvidia-343".

Click "more info" and then, under the optional extras, make sure everything is checked except Optimus support. Let it install, do a reboot and you should be good to go.
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Wow, thanks! So looks like its a pretty well made card - lets hope the noises go away.
Yeah, comparing the pictures, it does look like the PCB should be 170mm. Galax is deceiving our eyes (or, actually, ASUS and MSI are) since the card is not tall (and the others are). 2 x 6pin is also better than a single 8pin...

I'd prefer a single 8 for less cable clutter.

For possible cable clutter, correct, but many cables are 6(+2)+6(+2) anyway...

I had meant my comment for overclocking. 8pin cable is already stressed out in terms of amps. 6+6 for the same voltage carries much less amps per wire... Gives more headroom.
But like you said, most PSUs are 6(+2) + 6(+2) so that first set of pins are carrying the same amps as a 8-pin would anyway.
It happens to the best of us :)

I really can't see the amperage being an issue with a 970, even overclocked. 295X2 absolutely, but I ran dual 980s off a single strand with no issues.
Pics on dropbox - I resized them to 1152x864 but don't want to spam them all inline.

Card in box, surrounded by foam padding (there was another piece that lays across the top, to the card was very well protected for shipping, even if the box wasn't):

The card:

Compared to my 560ti:

Installed in the SG05 (it makes the case look so big!):

Here's a shot of where the PCI Express power connectors come up. In my system I've got a 2.5" drive in that bay right now, and while it's kind of a tight fit with the power and drive cables all right there, nothing got bumped out of the way. Right-angle SATA connector might help a little but wouldn't have worked for the way I have it routed.

Just noticed this one came out a little blurry, but it's a shot of the end of the card and motherboard, so you can see how close it is to the edge:

And, lastly, a shot with a ruler next to it. The ruler was too big to fit into the case entirely so it's bent slightly at the end, hence why it looks like it is saying the shroud is 171mm. It's actually 173 - this was as close as I could get without taking it back out of the system.

I ran several hours looping of Unigine Valley last night, for a while at 2560x1440, Ultra. Here are the scores if anyone is curious:

FPS: 34.3
Score: 1434
Min FPS: 26.2
Max FPS: 60.2

I also ran it at 1280x720, low, with vsync off, to get the framerates higher and see if I could get it to make noise again. It did, though whether it made a difference yet I couldn't say. I found Borderlands 2 was a good test case; both the main menu screen with the character and landscape on it and in game get that coil buzz/whine sound going, and it doesn't seem to have been affected yet (subjectively).

I figure I'll give it a week or so of "burn in time" before I try doing anything to the card. Even if the noises go away, I may remove the heatsink to reapply thermal goop and see if there are any open coils/chokes that could be isolated with some hot glue anyways. If/when I get to that point I'll take a few shots of the board without the heatsink.
Looks like it might fit there - remember the card is only 3mm longer than an ITX motherboard.

Although - why not just get a smaller power supply? I'm running it on the Silverstone bronze 450W SFX unit that was included with my SG05 and it's just fine. If you got a smaller PSU you'd have many more options for video cards in the SG08.
Looks like it might fit there - remember the card is only 3mm longer than an ITX motherboard.

Although - why not just get a smaller power supply? I'm running it on the Silverstone bronze 450W SFX unit that was included with my SG05 and it's just fine. If you got a smaller PSU you'd have many more options for video cards in the SG08.

I have previously tried the silverston sfx 450w modular psu but it was too noisy. So I reverted back to a 5yr old Seasonice 550w non-modular psu (allows me to use my gtx570). The AX850 is obviously overkill but it's very silent so I just wanted to use what I already owned.

What CPU cooler are you using btw?
Speaking of temps, it seems to max out around 71-72C, with the fans going at a pretty good clip. It also gets there really quickly, within a minute or so of loading up Unigine, for instance. It doesn't get any higher than that, and I'm not seeing any down-throttling after letting the test run for half an hour ish. Dunno if this indicates that I need to reapply the thermal paste or if it's normal behavior.

The fan controller may be set on the more aggressive side to handle smaller cases with less airflow, but based on your description of fan speeds ramping up and temperatures maxing out at 72°C, it sounds completely normal to me.