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Nvidia has not gotten off to a great start this year. The VRAM issue with the GTX 970, that was exposed in January, has drawn the ire of gamers across the world, and made Nvidia the target of insults, parody videos, and petitions. Their trouble might be getting even worse.

Lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit against Nvidia, on the grounds of false advertisement regarding the GTX 970. Specifically the claim is that the GTX 970 was sold under the promise that it had 4GB of VRAM, but only 3.5GB run at full speed. The remaining half GB runs 80% slower. This leads to poor performance and framerate issues on certain games, and no details about this quirk in the memory were made available to consumers before purchase.

Nvidia has claimed that the performance issues caused by the slower section of memory are negligible based on their own tests. They also claim that the specifications that were originally published for the GTX 970 were the result of a marketing error, not an intentional effort to deceive customers. People might have been more accepting of this “it was just a mistake” story if Nvidia had fixed the mistake soon after the product hit the market, but they only came clean on this issue after the product was being sold for several months. It seems a lot less convincing that it was a simple mistake if they only admit to it after being caught red-handed.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all consumers in the U.S. who bought GTX 970 cards. The judge will decide whether to proceed with the class action suit or not. This suit only affects customers in the U.S. but customers in other countries may file suits as well. Many jurisdictions around the world, including Canada, Australia and the European Union, have similar laws regarding false or misleading advertising, and GTX 970 owners in those countries may be able to bring a case against Nvidia as well.

Do you think there is a solid case for a false advertisement suit against Nvidia? Leave your comment below.

Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

  • Kitsunetsuki

    Damn, that Overzrealous Marketing Staffer strikes again. He really gets around.

  • I would believe NVidia (a little bit more) if they weren’t reacting to the problem and did something before the flaw got out into the public. They can’t possibly think people were not going to find this error, can they?

  • Nytezero

    Nvidia doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to NOT doing dirty underhanded shit. I’m sure everyone remembers the Tegra scandal.

  • Nick

    Also, nVidia isn’t necessarily completely at fault. They license their tech to be used in graphics cards but don’t necessarily sell them directly do they? So wouldn’t for example EVGA be the ones at fault here for mis-marketing?

  • Ben Jeanotte

    Hmm interesting. I got a GTX 970. it hasn’t really given me any problems, but I still wouldn’t mind getting some money back… eventually, guess I will try to not lose track of my receipt over the next couple years.

  • Cap’n Catpants

    “It seems a lot less convincing that it was a simple mistake if they only admit to it after being caught red-handed.”
    ^ This. If they realized there was a mistake, coming forward and honestly admitting it would be the right and respectable thing to do. Alas, modern society focuses so much on perfection to the point that everyone fears admitting to their mistakes. Especially when people only want scapegoats.

  • Beatrice Castiglioni

    I have a pair of 970s in SLI at the moment and I’m going to ask for refund ASAP. Im not exactly unhappy with the cards as they are though, but I did pay a little over $1000 for them both so I want to get a future-proofed machine that can do 4k. I might throw in a couple hundred more and SLI 2 980s or something.

  • Ben Jeanotte

    Yikes, yeah if I paid anywhere near $500 for them, I would have gotten 980s, but my 970 only cost 330.

  • Beatrice Castiglioni

    Oh well it would help knowing I live in Australia. These thing tend to be more expensive 🙂