Nvidia settled a class action lawsuit against angry customers who found out that the GTX 970 wasn't all it was cracked up to be. In fact, the card was short of 500MB of VRAM that it was advertised to have. Instead they had lower performance VRAM and that cost them $30 per customer.
According to Game Informer, the GTX 970 class action lawsuit has come to a close and in addition to Nvidia having to pay out $1.3 million in lawyer fees, they're also required to pay out $30 to everyone included in the class action suit who purchased the GTX 970. Notifications about the $30 have reportedly been sent out to eligible customers living in the U.S.
As pointed out in the Game Informer piece, the GTX 970 is supposed to have 4GB of GDDR5 video memory. 3.5GB, however, happened to be DD5 while the 500MB were lower clocked compared to the rest of the memory. Supposedly, if the program only required the 3GB or less of VRAM, you wouldn't have problems, but if it required all 4GB then it wasn't going to be functional.
The article points out that the GTX 970 is the minimum requirement from the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift for running virtual reality programs, but it should be noted that mix-clocked memory only contributes to poor performance from already unoptimized games like Batman: Arkham Knight or _Mortal Kombat X. _
In the GPU market there always seems to be one issue or another, from the GeForce 9xxx series having overheating issues, to AMD's Crimson drivers causing a snafu with the fans. There seems to consistently be something inhibiting the full enjoyment of gaming.
One of the more egregious issues that have occurred recently involved Nvidia's HairWorks and GameWorks, where games utilizing these features -- such as The Witcher 3 -- suffered from major performance drops when running on an AMD card. There were even claims from AMD that Nvidia was purposefully and actively sabotaging performance on their cards by making the GameWorks features incompatible with AMD's cards. This, of course, resulted in plenty of fanboys coming to Nvidia's defense and claiming that AMD just had poor driver support, but after the Batman: Arkham Knight incident that also involved issues with GameWorks, the claims of sabotage looked a little less like conspiracy theory.
Unlike the CPU market, which seems to be a lot more laid back as far as competition is concerned with Intel and AMD, the GPU market is a highly competitive and extremely cutthroat arena.
In this particular case, Nvidia attempting to shortchange gamers by undercutting the amount of VRAM added to the GPU (possibly to save money by skirting 500MB of GDDR5, making it slightly cheaper to produce) backfired and the court settlement came down in favor of the customers.
The comment sections on the news are mostly concerned with how people who own a GTX 970 can get the $30 from the lawsuit, but as it was mentioned up above: you have to be contacted either by snail mail or e-mail to be eligible for getting the $30.