Nvidia's new mid-range marvel is ideal for 1080p gamers, sips power and is practically silent
GPU: Nvidia GTX 960, Memory: 2GB GDDR5, Graphics card length: 211mm
Nvidia might suggest reference GPU and memory clocks of 1,126MHz and 7,010MHz, but you’ll be hard-pushed to find a card running at those speeds on launch day. Asus has overclocked the STRIX out of the box, with the GPU running at 1,291MHz and the memory boosted to 7,200MHz. In GPU Tweak’s OC mode, the GPU boost clock will hit 1,317MHz, which should result in a 10% performance increase over the reference GTX 960, although we performed all our tests at the card’s stock clock speeds unless otherwise stated.
Starting with our least demanding game, Dirt Showdown, the STRIX proved how capable the 960 GPU is at 1080p gaming; an average frame rate of 132fps with all settings on High and 4x anti-aliasing is incredibly smooth. Dirt is a few years old now, but is incredibly scalable – so much so that the frame rate only dropped to 122.4fps when we boosted the resolution to 2,560×1,440.
4K gaming was possible too, scoring a still perfectly smooth 68.7fps. We had to up the quality to Ultra and anti-aliasing to 8x at 4K resolution before the frame rate dropped below the magic 30fps barrier, but even then 29.7fps is still just about playable without gameplay becoming too stuttery. Moving on to newer titles revealed the GTX 960’s limits, however.
2013’s Tomb Raider reboot doesn’t require serious power to run on sensible quality settings, but with tesselation and SSAA anti-aliasing enabled the game can still tax mid-range cards at 1080p. Here, the STRIX managed 38.3fps – still perfectly playable, but we’d suggest switching to less demanding FXAA anti-aliasing. This boosted frame rates to a much smoother 82fps.
Upping the resolution to 2,560×1,440 resulted in a jerky 22.3fps with SSAA, but it was more than playable at 50.4fps with FXAA enabled instead. 4K was all but unplayable with SSAA enabled, at 13.2fps, and even switching to FXAA couldn’t produce a smooth frame rate, with the card managing just 22.8fps at these settings.
Metro: Last Light Redux, meanwhile, is a seriously good looking game that demands powerful hardware to get playable frame rates. We turn everything up to max, meaning SSAA anti-aliasing, 16x antistropic filtering and tesselation set to Very High, but the STRIX still managed 30.4fps at 1080p. Higher resolutions were out of the question with such high quality settings, however; 2560×1,440 dived to 16.8fps and 4K fell even further to 7.2fps.
Clearly 1080p is perfectly achievable on the GTX 960, but you’ll have to be realistic with anti-aliasing and detail levels if you plan on going to 2,560×1,440 or beyond. 4K gamers will definitely want to spend more on a graphics card in order to keep playing the latest titles.
|Nvidia GTX 960
|Graphics card length