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
In terms of price and performance, Nvidia’s latest mid-range card sits comfortably at the bottom of the 900-series line-up. The GTX 970 costs around £100 more, and while its 4GB of GDDR5 RAM and wider memory bandwidth make it ideal for 2,560×1,440 gaming, it’s overkill if you’re planning on sticking to 1080p for the foreseeable future. As the company has yet to introduce any entry-level 900-series GPUs, the only cheaper Maxwell-powered choice is the GTX 750ti, which this new card comfortably outperforms.
With a £190 RRP, the Asus STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II is just about cheap enough to be called mid-range. GTX 960 boards from other manufacturers should cost between £160 and £200 depending on their cooling and stock speeds, which slightly undercuts AMD’s rival Radeon R9 285. We were impressed with the Asus card’s silent running, which makes it ideal for SFF and HTPC builds, and the moderate out-of-the-box overclock helps improve frame rates slightly, but it remains to be seen whether other manufacturers will push the GPU even further at the expense of noise.
The GTX 960’s real competition is the Radeon R9 280; the R9 280’s frame rates are only slightly lower at 1080p, yet thanks to its larger 384-bit memory bus and 3GB of GDDR5 memory, it should survive the bump to 2,560×1,440. AMD’s card is also available for around £150. The R9 280 is effectively a rebranded HD 7950, however. The two generations-old card has a 200W TDP and needs two PCI-Express connectors, making it more power hungry and unsuitable for compact HTPC builds.
If you’re after a power efficient, quiet card that can still handle modern 1080p gaming at 60 frames per second, the GTX 960 will fit the bill.
|Nvidia GTX 960
|Graphics card length