Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition

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TEST RESULTS

Baseline Power with Integrated Graphics:

Power Consumption Measurements:
GPU Test System w/Intel HD 2000 IGP
System Power
Idle
Prime95
AC
36W
71W
DC (est.)
23W
56W
CPU fan at 500 RPM, system fans at 580 RPM.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level: 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 21°C

System with Discrete Graphics:

System Measurements: GPU Test System w/Asus GTX 960 Strix
State
Idle
Prime95
RE6 Demo (Peak)
Prime95 + FurMark
Prime95 + FurMark
GPU Fan Speed
off
1550 RPM
2000 RPM
1120 RPM*
CPU Temp
17°C
35°C
35°C
46°C
46°C
PCH Temp
39°C
41°C
45°C
46°C
49°C
GPU Temp
36°C
36°C
62°C
62°C
75°C
GPU Core Clock
135 MHz
1418 MHz
1380 MHz
1367 MHz
System Power (AC)
46W
84W
191W
218W
219W
System Power (DC)
32W
69W
177W
206W
207W
12~13 dBA
18 dBA
20 dBA
14 dBA
*manually adjusted fan speed
CPU fan at 500 RPM, system fans at 580 RPM.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level (on int. graphics): 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 21°C

Like the rest of the GTX 900 Strix line, the 960 model's fans stay inactive at low temperatures so it's effectively silent when the system is performing tasks that don't greatly tax the GPU. As a result, when the machine was idle and when the CPU was loaded using Prime95, the test system produced the same 12~13 [email protected] as it did when running on integrated graphics. Temperatures were low across the board and power consumption was quite modest.

Despite running at default settings, the GPU core frequency jumped up to 1418 MHz during the Resident Evil 6 Demo benchmark test, a full 100 MHz higher than specified. The built-in fan control was surprisingly aggressive, keeping the GPU at 62°C with a speed of 1550 RPM. At this level, the machine emitted 18 [email protected] This is a fairly demanding real game test, but even at its peak, the total system power consumption was well under 200W AC. This system could be run comfortably on a 350W power supply.

Our full load test of Prime95 + FurMark, required 2000 RPM to keep the GPU at the same temperature, resulting in a noise increase of 2 dB. The clock speed dropped to 1380 MHz at this point, but this is still well above stock. 20 [email protected] is very quiet for even a mid-range graphics card, but it can easily be made quieter by overriding the fan controls. Dropping it down to 1120 RPM caused the GPU to hit 75°C and the CPU and PCH to warm up by an additional 3°C, but at this speed, it measured only 14 [email protected], just a hair louder than when the GPU fans were turned off altogether.

Typically I try to shoot for a standard GPU temperature of 85°C but unfortunately an odd bug that caused our test system to crash the moment the GPU temperature reached 77°C with the GTX 960. However, this seems to be an isolated problem as it easily handled temperatures of 90°C and above when tested in two different systems.

Altogether The Strix GTX 960 is quite promising as it clocks fairly high on its own, the power draw is modest, and the fans spin faster than they need to. There's plenty of thermal headroom for those in warmer environments, and for overclocking.

At lower speeds, the stock fans were quite smooth with a modest amount of rattling from the bearings when observed at close proximity (within one foot). Starting at about 1500 RPM it started to become increasingly whiny; to be expected for fans of this size at this speed. Even so, with the side panel of the case muffling much of the noise produced, it was fairly quiet.

I did notice some coil whine during the Resident Evil 6 test (even with V-Sync enabled) but it manifested as a tolerable low pitched buzz rather than an annoying high pitched squeal.

Noise & Cooling Comparison

Comparison: GPU Test System (FurMark + Prime95)
GPU Model
Est. Power Draw (DC)
GPU Temp
SPL @1m
Asus GTX 960 Strix
151W
75°C
14 dBA
Asus GTX 960 Strix
150W
62°C
20 dBA
Asus GTX 980 Strix
198W
71°C
22 dBA
Zotac GTX 970
168W
78°C
23 dBA
Asus GTX 680
DirectCU II OC
226W
70°C
24 dBA
AMD R9 290X
308W
92°C
39 dBA
CPU fan at 500 RPM, system fans at 580 RPM.
Ambient noise level: 10~11 dBA
System noise level (on int. graphics): 12~13 dBA
Ambient temperature: 21°C

We recently updated our GPU test system, transplanting it in the larger Fractal Design Define R5 to create extra space for water-cooled video cards and coolers. The new case actually allows some cards to perform better thermally/acoustically so I only have four cards to compare the GTX 960 Strix to directly, but the results are very promising. On load, the 960 runs quieter and cooler than most higher tier cards, and slowing the fan manually puts it in its own league.



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