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ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix Video Card Review

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Detailed Look: ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix

One of the things many of our readers take into account when buying a video card, is the bling factor. It is almost a standard nowadays that manufacturers implement LED logos into their most expensive line-ups, but unfortunately for the ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix, this is not common in lower-level video cards. What is new however, is the inclusion of an LED indicator which let’s the user know if the 6-pin connector is making appropriate contact or not. The LED is white if the connector is plugged in correctly, otherwise it is red.

Asus-Strix-GeForce-GTX-960-PCI-6-Pin-Connector

To take off the back plate you do need to completely remove the heatsink, as it covers some of the screws which hold the back plate in place. Remember that removing the heatsink can void your warranty, and should only be done if necessary, like when installing a waterblock onto the GPU. At the back it can clearly be appreciated how small the PCB of the ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix is, however in the Strix model, the heatsink is elongated in order to accommodate for a second fan.

Asus-Strix-GeForce-GTX-960-Back-PCB

The heatsink itself is comprised of four copper heatpipes that transfer the heat directly to the heatsink fins, were the fans are in charge of removing the heat and therefore cooling the chip. If needed, the fans can be easily taken off and cleaned with a brush as they are only held by plastic grasps along both sides of the heatsink. To completely remove the fan assembly you will need to unplug the fan header, which can only be done if the heatsink is removed.

Asus-Strix-GeForce-GTX-960-Heatsink

At the center of the PCB we find the star of this review, the GM 206. Towards the left you might be able to see the 5-phase thermal design which comprises itself of dedicated super alloy MOS with higher voltage threshold, super alloy chokes which should decrease whining noise over the standard ferrite or iron chokes, and super allow caps which are rated for a higher life span.

Asus-Strix-GeForce-GTX-960-PCB

In the next section we will give a complete detailed guide on how we conduct each of our tests as well as providing specifications for all the equipment used in each of the tests. I highly recommend you read it before you jump ahead into the benchmark scores.


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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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