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 change.org 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.