Tuesday | October 25, 2016
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GTX 960 Review (ASUS, MSI and Palit)

GTX 960 Review (ASUS, MSI and Palit)

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GTX 960 Review – Performance

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The test system was built from scratch, a format of the hard drive was performed (NTFS) and then Windows 8.1 was installed. Following the completion of the installation, the video drivers were installed. All windows updates were then installed as were the latest builds of the benchmarking tools. Finally, the hard drives were de-fragmented (where appropriate). For each test, the video drivers were set to default quality/optimizations (unless otherwise stated).

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Where possible, each benchmark was performed three times and the median result for each resolution/setting is shown in the tables that will follow. All applications had their latest patches applied and all hardware features the latest BIOS/Firmware.

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GTX 960 Review – Conclusion

Looking at the GTX 960 GPU first we have a chip which brings all of the features from the GTX 980/970 and offers them to consumers at a much more affordable price point. Of course the core configuration as far as performance goes is different but the features are the same… with one added bonus, full encode/decode of H.265 (GTX 980 offers encode only) and HDCP 2.2 over HDMI.

Although there is no retail reference card as such, NVIDIA state that the reference specifications for the GTX 960 are 1126MHz with a boost clock of 1178MHz and all of the cards on show today go past that in their specifications which is great to see. And this is the reason we tested against OC versions of the GTX 760 and Radeon 285.

As far as the individual cards go, ASUS offer a well build GTX 960 with low noise operation and the most impressive software bundle of the lot. MSI, in our opinion, have the most pleasing card for those who are building a system with case window. Their software is also good and cooler very quiet. Palit then offer the fastest of the cards on test today, though with a slightly louder cooler than the other two (that said, it is still low noise).

Our time with the GTX 960 cards has been limited however the overclocking potential from our initial testing is very promising. Both ASUS and Palit overclocked by well over 200Mhz on the core. The MSI card has gone even further and we will update the results as we confirm the maximum stable clocks.

In terms of comparison with other cards, we do get feature improvements over the part it replaces, the GTX 760. Silent/passive use is a big win for example as is the improved power use. However as is often the case with new NVIDIA cards it will be most desirable to those on the GTX 660 and older. The comparison with AMDs 285 is also decent, with the two architectures splitting the wins and loses on a game to game basis. We can of course play at 1080 resolution in recent games without issue on GTX 960 and while we can bump things up to 4k in some games, the most useful feature for many will be Dynamic Super Resolution which allows (in games such as RTS, MOBA etc) the card to render at higher detail and maximise the display output at 1080.

Summary: The GTX 960 offers a lot of flexibility for NVIDIAs partners. These initial cards are all well priced as long as they stay as close to the £159/$199 reference price point as possible. Each offers good performance at 1080 resolution and low noise operation, in fact silent much of the time. We also like the low power use and the presence of cutting edge features. The GTX 960 is a very well rounded product worthy of our recommended award.

Recommended Award

Available from Overclockers.

About Author

Stuart Davidson


  1. IvanV

    Meh… 18 months pass since the release of GTX 760 and its replacement increases the performance at the same price point by exactly 0% (the new card lost 4/6 game tests to the old one). Bring the next Radeons.

    • Laur

      Well, it may be true that GTX 960 isn’t any better performance wise, however, GTX 960 is 25% cheaper even right now and offers same amount of performance. As such, GTX 960 offers more power per unit of currency and that is a good thing.

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