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Nvidia officially launches GeForce GTX 960 graphics card

Tom Morgan
22 Jan 2015
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The GTX 960 is aimed at 1080p gamers, and should be practically silent according to Nvidia

Nvidia has officially revealed the GTX 960, the first mid-range card in the 900-series that aims to provide enough graphics muscle for Full HD gaming without also demanding significant power draw or cooling.

The GTX 960 is based on Nvidia’s energy efficient Maxwell architecture, which is already being used to power the high-end GTX 980. The GM206 GPU used here has 1,024 CUDA cores running at 1,127MHz, with a boost speed of 1,178MHz. This is paired with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM via a 128-bit memory bus. According to Nvidia, GM206 delivers more performance than the equivalent Kepler GPU at twice the efficiency, meaning the 128-bit memory bus shouldn’t be a limiting factor as long as you stick to 1080p resolutions.

All together, the GTX 960 should be twice as powerful as a GTX 660 – the card Valve identified as one of the most popular on the planet using its Steam hardware survey, and the one preferred by the majority of MOBA and RTS players.

Read our full Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 review here 

Nvidia has prioritized heat and power efficiency with the GTX 960, to the point that it only requires a single 6-pin PCI-Express connector and has a very low 120W Thermal Design Point (TDP). Better yet, when playing games like League of Legends, DOTA 2 or StarCraft 2 (ie top-down MOBAs and strategy titles that aren’t particularly GPU-intensive), the card should only consume around 30W of power. With so little heat being generated, the cooling fan can stop spinning altogether for silent gaming. Only more demanding 3D games should force the fan to spin up.

If you demand a little extra visual clarity, the GTX 960 has enough power in reserve to use Nvidia’s Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) to upscale games to 4K resolutions, before resampling them for your display’s native frame rate. According to Nvidia, it can run League of Legends at a 4K resolution, downsampled to a 1080p display, at a higher frame rate and with sharper visuals than the outgoing GTX 660 running at a native 1080p with 8x MSAA.

As we’ve come to expect from the 900-series range, the GTX 960 will include support for Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software. This tool can optimize the visual settings of supported games for the best frame rates on your particular hardware, stream gameplay to an Nvidia Shield or Shield Tablet, and record gameplay for streaming online or uploading to social networks. It will also play nicely with G-Sync monitors for smooth gameplay regardless of frame rate.

HEVC and H.265 video encoding and decoding, combined with HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 video outputs mean the GTX 960 is also ready for 4K video playback, as soon as the content actually arrives. It also supports the upcoming DirectX 12 API and OpenGL 4.4, so it will remain up to date when Windows 10 arrives later this year.

The Nvidia GTX 960 will be going on sale from today onwards, with prices starting from around £160 depending on whether manufacturers have used a custom cooler or overclocked the GPU out of the box.

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