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ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix Video Card Review

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ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960 Conclusion

I think Maxwell has done it again with a completely new chip, build from the ground up to provide enthusiasts with the perfect balance between budget, efficiency, and performance. It is clear that the GeForce GTX 960 is a worthy competitor in the budget section of the video card market. Users that obtain a GTX 960 will be able to play most games at 1080p on ultra settings without any hiccups. ASUS also deserves a mention, as the Strix version of the GTX 960 includes many features that are usually non-standard, as well as a beautiful design that includes a very robust backplate.

The most curious part of this story is the pricing NVIDIA has set for the GeForce GTX 960. In their current line-up there is a $150 gap between the GTX 960 and the GTX 970, which I have a feeling NVIDIA is going to fill. I recommend you stay tuned with Benchmark Reviews as we will be covering any future releases by NVIDIA.

Asus-Strix-GeForce-GTX-960-Fans

The performance scores of the ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix land it right below the GeForce GTX 770 and with an average 12% improvement over it’s predecessor the GeForce GTX 760. Compared to an AMD card, the GeForce GTX 960 is a direct competitor to the AMD R9 285X, and totals the performance of the R9 270X. Compared to other graphics cards in it’s series the GeForce GTX 960 Strix has around half the performance of the fully fledged GeForce GTX 980. Due to a low memory bandwidth, the GeForce GTX 960 struggles at very high resolutions, and at games with very high amount of textures.

As expected from any ASUS Strix product, they put a really high emphasis on beautiful designs that depict elegance. The whole black theme is adorned by red accents found on the fans and fan shroud. Along the back you find an ASUS logo which is pointing the right way, and can be read by someone looking through the window of a case. The matte black PCB is well hidden by the beautiful exterior of the Direct CU ll cooler, which is easily identifiable by any DIY enthusiast due to the large visible heatpipes.

NVIDIA is clearly to this date the leader in the video card industry. In today’s product we saw one area in which NVIDIA always shines; the Maxwell architecture is a complete improvement over the really old Kepler GPUs, and although they shame the same 28nm manufacture process, Maxwell is much more well constructed. The GM206 processor consumes a lot less energy, produces less heat, and is able to run on just a single 6-Pin connector. Additionally, NVIDIA is now giving support for 5K displays with the GeForce GTX 960 graphics card, as well as H.265 encoding and decoding.

As of it’s launch date the ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix is valued at $209.99 (Amazon Newegg | B&H), however there are many current models of the GeForce GTX 960 available for purchase now which means that prices may vary accordingly. A $209.99 price point also means that the ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix is at the same price as the AMD R9 285X which is it’s direct competitor. At launch, the GeForce GTX 760 was expected to be valued at $249.99, which compared to the official price of the GeForce GTX 960, is a $50 dollar difference.

At the end of the day, NVIDIA’s efforts to find a worthy replacement for the value oriented X60 graphics cards is successful. However, with the 900 series the spot for best price for the money has been taken by the GTX 970, which performs a lot closer to the GTX 980 than it does with the GTX 960. However there is still a very big price gap between both cards, which leads to the question, what is next in NVIDIA’s plans?

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Back plate adds rigidity, value, and style
+ Outstanding performance for such a low price
+ Features HDMI 2.0 and Display port 1.2 for appropriate 4k support
+ Low power consumption and temperatures
+ Features ASUS 0dB technology
+ 5K display support
+ 2-Way SLI support

Cons:

– At higher resolutions, low memory bandwidth becomes an issue

Ratings:

  • Performance: 8.5
  • Appearance: 9.75
  • Construction: 9.75
  • Functionality: 9.00
  • Value: 9.00

Final Score: 9.2 out of 10.

NewEgg.com

 


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12 comments

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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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