Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition

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Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition

January 27, 2015 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition
(STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics Card
Manufacturer
Asus
Street Price
US$210

The launch of the second generation Maxwell GPU architecture was met with great fanfare. The GeForce GTX 900 series is a highly potent addition to Nvidia's lineup that also delivers incredibly high energy efficiency compared to AMD's current offerings. The GTX 980 and 970 not only outperform the R9 290X and 290 respectively, they do so with barely half the TDP of their AMD counterparts. Cooling and noise can be a huge problem for high-end cards but with such low power draws, the 980/970 make it an almost non-issue. In a segment of the PC market that's been conditioned to expect incremental improvements with each generation of technology, this is a giant leap.

The 980/970 cards are priced at US$549/$329, not unreasonable considering their capabilities, as demonstrated by how quickly they flew off store shelves. However, the pricing still keeps them out of the hands of the majority of PC gamers who can't afford to upgrade on a whim. The 980/970 are best suited for QHD/UHD resolutions and are somewhat overkill for standard 1080p displays. For most users, this makes them a poor value for compared to older, lower tier offerings. This week, Nvidia finally rectified this issue with the release of the GTX 960, a Maxwell 2 card for the masses.

GTX 900 Series Comparison
Model
GTX 980
GTX 970
GTX 960
Transistor Count
5.2 billion
5.2 billion
2.9 billion
SMM count
16
13
8
CUDA Cores
2048
1664
1024
Core Frequency
1126 MHz
1050 MHz
1127 MHz
Boost Frequency (max)
1266 MHz
1250 MHz
1228 MHz
Memory Frequency
7010 MHz
Memory Size
4GB
4GB
2GB
Memory Bus
256-bit
256-bit
128-bit
TDP
165W
145W
120W
Starting Price
US$550
US$330
US$200

If you look underneath the hood you'll find that in many ways, the GTX 960 is almost like a GTX 980 split in half. The SM count, CUDA cores, and even the memory size and bus are exactly half that of the 980, making it much more stripped down model compared to the 970. On the plus side, the TDP is a mere 120W, which is very low for a US$200 card.

Like its big brothers, the 960 offers up to four simultaneous 4K MST displays and supports HDMI 2.0, with the only notable addition being the ability to hardware decode H.265 (HEVC) video, whch should come in handy as more 4K content becomes available.


The Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition.


GPU-Z screenshot.

Our first GTX 960 sample comes courtesy of Asus, belonging to their illustrious Strix line of graphics cards. Asus says the card is factory-overclocked to 1291 MHz (up to 1317 MHz with GPU Boost), sports high-end power deliver components, and a dual fan cooler with the ability to shut down the fans completely when it they're not needed. The Strix model has a shorter than normal PCB and the entire card measures just 21.3 cm across (8.4 inches) giving it a size advantage over competition. Like the 970, the 960 seems to be available in both small and large versions, though there doesn't seem to be any disadvantage to opting for a more compact model, at least not on paper. The GTX 960 Strix is currently selling for US$210.


The box.


Package contents.

While the Strix series is considered more high end, you wouldn't know it by the accessories. Only included are a brief user guide, a software disc, a Strix sticker, and a DVI to VGA adapter.



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