Pretty much like its bigger cousins the GTX 980, GTX 970 and the GTX 780Ti the GTX 960 is also based on the latest and very competent Maxwell architecture that gives it a tremendous possibilities and efficiency. It's built on an all-new GM206 GPU, which is made using a 28-nanometer lithographic process. Inside this GPU you’ll find just what you’d find in a GTX 980, but halved – 1024 CUDA cores, 64 TMUs, 32 ROPs, and a 128-bit memory interface that addresses 2 GB of GDDR5 memory that’s placed elsewhere on the PCB.
This memory runs at an effective speed of 7010 MHz, meaning that it pumps out a bandwidth of about 112.2 GB/s. The GM206 GPU runs at 1126 MHz as a base frequency, but will boost up to 1178 MHz using Nvidia GPU Boost 2.0 when the thermal headroom is available. The 128-bit memory bus appears to be quite narrow, but the GTX 970 and GTX 980 have already proven that the Maxwell architecture is able to do more with less resources, so let’s hope the pattern continues here.
The graphics card has a TDP of just 120 W, which enables it to pull all the power it needs from just the PCI-Express slot and a single 6-pin PCI-Express power connector. Means you'll need just a 400W and above standard PSU to run this card in all its glory. The efficient architecture allows Nvidia's board partners to opt for switching off the GPU's fans when it is running idle or under a low load. Such a technology isn’t only helpful to reduce idle noise levels, but also to reduce dust buildup inside the card.
Being Maxwell means that the 960 comes with full support for DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution) and MFAA (Multi Frame Sampling Anti-Aliasing). DSR causes the card to render games at a higher resolution (in this case at 4K) and then downscales them to the resolution you are playing at (1080p or 1440p). It really elevates the visual fidelity of games and makes for a very enjoyable experience for one and all. MFAA is a take on Super Sampled AA and manages to give great results thanks to the previous NVIDIA driver update. It is based on a Temporal Synthesis Filter with coverage samples per frame and per pixel. Simply put, the card is able to generate results akin to that of 4X MSAA for the computational power required for 2X MSAA. In other words, you get double the performance at half the power. The card also ships with DirectX 12 support, thus making sure that it has no trouble powering through games for the years to come.
The ASUS Strix OC version was bench-marked with two of the very popular games in the market and the following results were seen.
Assassin’s Creed Black Flag (1080p Ultra settings 8xMSAA)
ASUS GTX 960 OC: 43 FPS
MSI Twin Frozr 780: 54 FPS
Gigabyte G1 Gaming 970: 56 FPS
Reference NVIDIA 980: 63 FPS
ASUS GTX 960 OC: 29 FPS
MSI Twin Frozr 780: 42 FPS
The ASUS Strix Direct Cu II GTX 960 or even the base Nvidia GTX 960 is by all means the ideal card for the budget oriented gamer. If all you want to do is play games at 1080p at 60 fps and are willing to dial down the anti-aliasing, look no further than the GTX 960. This is the card that will end up in all the “Console Killer” PC builds, as it delivers a superior gaming experience and can be easily incorporated into an INR 45,000 build.
The reference card will go on retail at INR 16,490 in India with the ASUS Strix OC version will be INR 19,500.