ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix Video Card Review


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ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix Video Card Review

By Julian Duque

Manufacturer: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Product Name: ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix
Model Number: STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5
UPC: 886227953967
Price As Tested: $209.99 (Amazon Newegg | B&H)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASUTeK Computer Inc.

As we assume with most NVIDIA video card family releases, NVIDIA first launches the best cards of the series, and then makes it’s way down the list. Today the spotlight is on the GeForce GTX 960, the direct heir of the GTX 760 and the sub $300 spot in NVIDIA’s current line of graphics cards. Seen as an opportunity, NVIDIA’s x60 series of video cards always tries to bring the most performance on a budget oriented card, as well as providing a direct upgrade to users running older systems.

What is surprising is how aggressively NVIDIA is pricing the 900 series of cards. The GeForce GTX 970 was released with a $330 price tag, that is an 18% price drop over it’s predecessor the GeForce GTX 770, which was released just short of the $400 mark. Same goes for the GeForce GTX 980 which was released for $534.99, a $115 or drop over the pricey GeForce GTX 780 which initially came in at $649.

It is clear what NVIDIA’s message is to the enthusiast community, they are willing to be competitive. To further confirm this claims, the release price of the GeForce GTX 960 is just $199 for the basic models, a bit more for the feature packed ones like the ASUS Strix sample that we will be reviewing today. In comparison to it’s predecessor, the GeForce GTX 960 comes in at around 20% cheaper than it’s predecessor, the GeForce GTX 760.


Probably the only let down Benchmark Reviews had with the release of the GeForce GTX 980 is that after 3 years of being the top manufacturing node for graphic processing units at TSMC, the 28nm process is still featured on the top tier graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. Fortunately, TSMC has already established 20nm production for the likes of Apple and Qualcomm, which most likely means that soon enough, the 28nm process that was first introduced in Kepler, will become a retired veteran.

I start off this review with this analysis because it is important to know what NVIDIA has managed to do in order to keep their release cycle on point. In years past, TSMC released a new node every 2 years, and in certain occasions they released half -nodes in between those two years. This led to GPU manufacturers to quickly develop and pack more hardware into smaller and more efficient chips, which in turn led to a higher yield in performance.

With 28nm, this rapid growth has stalled, leaving manufacturers to look for alternatives to further improve their products. From NVIDIA the response was Maxwell, the revamped 28nm architecture, first seen 11 months ago with the release of the GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750 TI which featured the entry-level GM 107 GPU. To show how much further Maxwell had improved over Kepler, NVIDIA then released the GeForce GTX 980 and the GTX 970 featuring the GM204 SoC that managed to do what was thought impossible. When Benchmark Reviews first got ahold of the GeForce GTX 980, it was concluded that the GM204, although larger in die size, had a 10% performance increase over it’s predecessor the GM107, while consuming 1/3 less the power.

Features & Specifications

Graphics Processing Clusters 2
Streaming Multiprocessors 8
CUDA Cores 1024
Texture Units 64
ROP Units 32
Base Clock 1228 MHz
Boost Clock 1291 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate) 7200 MHz
L2 Cache Size 1024K
Effective Memory Speed ~9300 MHz
Total Video Memory 2048 GDDR5
Memory Interface 128-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth 112.16 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear) 72.1 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process 28 nm
Transistor Count 2.94 Billion
Display Outputs 3 x DisplayPort1 x HDMI1x Dual-Link DVI
Power Connectors 1 x 6-pin
Thermal Design Power 120 Watts
Thermal Threshold  95o C
Physical Measurements 215.2 x 121.2 x 40.9 mm

The ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix comes with factory overclocked base and boost clocks, as well as with a higher memory clock right out of the box. Our sample’s base clock of 1228 MHz is 9% higher than the 1126 MHz of the official card. The Strix’s memory clock also brings in an additional 190 MHz more over the stock 7010 MHz, boosting an appropriate 7200 MHz. The boost clock provides an additional 63 MHz, which is close to being half of the boost clock seen in the GeForce GTX 970. As expected from all of the “Second Generation” Maxwell cards, the GeForce GTX 960 brings a lot of new features including:

  • Multi-Frame Sampled AA (MFAA)
  • Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR)
  • Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI)
  • VR Direct
  • 4K NVIDIA ShadowPlay


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  1. Bob

    Was disappointed to see no noise measurements. Have read of numerous complaints about coil wine and fan noise on many of the Nvidia 700 and 900 series cards, so when you mentioned that Asus was claiming 3 times lower noise for the Strix, I was anxious to find out exactly what they meant.

    Also, the fact that the card has no fans running at all until it reaches 55 degrees Celsius had me wondering what it would be like to have a totally silent card that suddenly activated it’s fans at a certain temp. Would that activation be jarring or annoying or would it be a gradual ramping up, and how loud would it be?

    I’m still running a GTX 560 ti and am ready for an upgrade when the right card comes along, so am really curious about the noise levels of this one. Although I agree with your suspicion about the odd price point, and that there is usually something in the $250.00 – $275.00 range that is missing in the 900 series.

    1. Caring1

      The lower noise can be claimed due to the fans not running during idle, it is a marketing trick as the fans will not be that much quieter usual when actually running.

      1. Bob

        I suspected that as well, which made it even more unusual that Julian reported no noise measurements.

    2. Caring1

      I was a bit disappointed not to see an R9 270 included in the test, as in my opinion that is it’s direct competitor, judging by size, price and performance.

    3. Julian Duque

      Hello Bob. We did not record noise measurements in this article as we will soon be doing a complete noise roundup test soon with the appropriate tools. Just to recap something I didn’t mention, the fans never ran at 100% during all of our tests.

      1. Bob

        Will be waiting anxiously for the “noise roundup test”, but it should be part of every video card test.

        1. Julian Duque

          We understand, but we are in the process of obtaining better equipment to test for noise using quantified measurements instead of the usual Max noise score that we used in past reviews. We did not want to delay this review past today, and that is the reason why there are no noise tests.

        2. Olin Coles

          Yes, everything measurable should always be part of every review… unless you’re only given three days (evenings) to complete a lengthy project you offer to the public completely free of charge.

          While I’m thinking about it, you know what should be in every comment below a review? Some form of gratitude along with whatever question you have.

          1. Roman from USSR

            Indeed, I totally agree with Olin. People used to only complain/ inquire in the comments.
            Thank you for your reviews guys, they are helpful.

  2. Tom J

    Thanks for having this out so soon! You guys beat Anandtech 😉 (Along with almost everyone else!) – I know you probably didn’t have time, but any word on how this thing overclocks (and how it performs when overclocked)? With the other Maxwell cards able to hit 1300/1400 boost clocks, I’d be curious to see if the 960 would as well. Could change the equation a bit, although overclocking definitely varies per card. Seems like it’d be easier to jump to an overclocked R9 290 otherwise and get 970ish performance for a bit more (although, if you want to talk about noise…) Appreciate the observations on the new Maxwell, thanks Julian!

  3. edy

    “”At the center of the PCB we find the star of this review, the GM 204″”

    Really? Isn’t the GM 206?

    1. Julian Duque

      Thanks for bringing this up, I have now corrected the article. It is in fact the GM 206, as the GM 204 is found on both the GTX 970 and 980.

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