Anyone in the United States who purchased a GTX 970 may be eligible for a $30 payout from Nvidia, thanks to a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit.
Last year, a series of lawsuits were filed against Nvidia and Nvidia card manufacturers over what amounts to false advertising. (The lawsuits were then consolidated into one in March 2015). The main issue raised in the lawsuit was that the GTX 970, advertised as having 4GB of VRAM, in fact does not -- at least not exactly.
Within a few months of the the 970's launch in September 2014, owners discovered that games that used more than 3.5GB of memory ran into performance issues that weren't happening on the GTX 980. The following January, Nvidia revealed that the configuration for streaming multiprocessors on the two cards are different.
As a result, the 970's memory was split into 3.5GB and 0.5GB sections. It claimed this didn't result in a meaningful impact on performance, but as PC Gamer reported at the time, numerous users reported issues when playing games that used more than 3.5GB of VRAM. It was also discovered by PC Perspective that the 970 had a smaller L2 cache and fewer render output processors than Nvidia had originally claimed.
These three shortcomings comprised the lawsuit's allegations that the 970 was sold "based on misleading representations" and "do not operate as represented."
Rather than risk this going any further, the two sides have reached a proposed settlement, paperwork for which was filed in a US District Court in California this week. As part of this, Nvidia won't admit any liability, which is standard in a situation like this. It will, however, pay out $30 for each 970 purchased in the US to anyone who submits a valid claim. Before this can happen, the court will need to approve the settlement during a hearing on August 24.
If approved, eligible owners will be notified of the settlement by October 23, and all claims will need to be filed by December 21. Alternatively, anyone who bought a 970 and is unwilling to accept the $30 payout can opt out and pursue their own litigation.