NVIDIA to Settle False Advertising Class Action Lawsuits

Can we trust the ad?

Over the past few months, NVIDIA, the computer graphics card company, has successfully launched several graphic cards including GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and GTX 1060.  They are due to be releasing the “powerful” TITAN X, which is supposed to be the most advanced graphics card produced by the company.

However, there is a shadow being cast upon NVIDIA, and it stems from one of their most popular graphics card, GeFORCE GTX 970.  The product was very popular and offered excellent performance per dollar, but mistakes were made with the published specifications and its segmented memory configuration.  When the GTX 970 was launched, NVIDIA said it had 4 GB of memory and 64 ROPs (Render Output Processors).   However, the realty was that only 3.5 GB of the memory operated at full speed, while the remaining 512 MB offered only a fraction of the bandwidth.

Because of these discrepancies, a class action lawsuit was filed alleging NVIDIA engaged in false advertising, deceptive business practice and violated California’s business law for unfair business practices.  Overall, 15 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of customers who believed the incorrect information and later found that the product did not deliver as promised.

Recently, NVIDIA has proposed a settlement offer of $30 each to purchasers of the GeForce GTX 970 in addition to paying $1.3 million toward attorney’s fee, even as the company has denied an intentional wrongdoing.  The lawyers who are familiar with the case do feel that the settlement is fair and reasonable and is within range of approval.

Despite all this goodwill that NVIDIA is trying to gain through the settlement, it still comes with that condition of no intentional wrongdoing.   As such, this begs the question, what did the company know about the capabilities of the GeForce GTX 970 when they marketed the product to price conscientious customers?  Was this just an innocent error or something more?