[section_title title=”Conclusion”]Conclusion

So what traits actually qualifies a graphics card to be in a “sweet spot”?  Is it based solely on the price to performance ratio?  Is it about efficiency?  Is it even about features and design?  Well I think for a graphics card to hit the spot properly, it has to tick off all of these proverbial boxes, but I think this is the most important question here today, is the ASUS GTX 960 Strix in the metaphoric sweet spot?

Yes, yes it is with a capital YES.  Not to sound too excited here but I think the best way to explain it is elaborate on a few points to make my opinion known; I hope you are ready for this.  Firstly, the card has such great efficiency; it literally pulls nothing from the wall all things considered and due to the lower TDP, thermal performance is also strong due to this.  Secondly, the ASUS DirectCUII cooler with its latest semi-passive design plays perfectly on the previous fact; less power = less heat = less cooling required = amazing; I don’t think anyone could put it better than that really.  Thirdly and most importantly of all, the sheer level of performance the GTX 960 has displayed for what it actually is, is nothing short of phenomenal.  The main AMD benchmark standard card which rivals the GTX 960 is clearly the R9 285 as you can see from the performance testing, but given the lower price, better efficiency, small stature, less power and ultimately cooler (when under load), the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 is a prime example of Maxwell engineering; top draw stuff from NVIDIA.

Moving back to the ASUS side of accomplishments, I really love the DirectCUII cooler and as I was with the GTX 970 version, the semi-passive cooler is just instant win for me as who wants fans ramping up when watching a movie or even playing a very un-intensive game?  Not me, that is for sure.  The only niggle for me really is the heat sinks overhang the actual PCB, surely a cut down version of the cooler might have been possible; this would have actually made the card even smaller and would have given it ITX classification in my opinion; SFF (small form factor) is clearly on the rise so it would have been a great move in my eyes.  That being said, ASUS have done no wrong here and all the semi-passive features can be controlled via ASUS GPU Tweak or via your favourite software.

Performance wise, the GTX 960 is the perfect LAN orientated graphics card on the market; small size, efficient, powerful for regular LAN games such as League of Legends, DOTA 2, CS:GO etc. and doesn’t cost the earth.  All that combined screams a quality purchase to me if you are putting together a small LAN system or even an HTPC; don’t forget that semi-passive cooler for watching films, no noise = good.

The GeForce GTX 960 was marketed in the lead up to its release as an “overclockers dream” and judging by the ASUS GTX 960 Strix sample on test today, I have no qualms in agreeing with NVIDIA here.  3DMark 11’s performance benchmark yielded an increase of just over 6.5% which might not sound like “world record material” but given the actual purpose of this card, the meagre 1 x 6pin PCI-E power connector and the low TDP of this card; it’s a pretty solid win here in my book.  ASUS have included a 5 phase design which of course increases the efficiency and performance of the Strix which by all admissions, turns this card into a 1080p standard for those who like to turn the juice up a little in terms of settings; Battlefield 4 is playable at 60fps at high settings and given this is a $199 card, it’s a pretty great bang for buck card; AMD should be worried in all honesty.  The lack of a 256-bit memory bus and only having 2GB of VRAM does limit games at high resolutions but given the target market for this card, it isn’t really a negative; those expecting 3-4GB on a value focused card should really re-consider what value for money actually stands for, although maybe one day when technology advances even further.

Now given all the facts throughout the entire review, how much of a price would you put on this card personally?  Well coming in at £189.99, the price to performance ratio is great with all the included Maxwell features such as DSR, MFAA for much better performance and some of the best efficiency ever seen in graphics cards; not to mention the ASUS DirectCU II cooler doing its job too!  Price wise, although the ASUS model is priced “higher” than others, this is a common thing for graphics cards as you are paying for all the ASUS elements such as the stunning back plate, the semi-passive cooler and of course, the quality ASUS are known for.  It would be hard not to recommend this card for any gamer on a budget, LAN goers of all types and those wanting a high-performance HTPC without spending the earth for top quality efficiency.  It is worth noting the general price range on release is £159.99-189.99 meaning the ASUS card is at the top end of the price belt; nothing much has changed here.  I would expect retailers would potentially sell this card for around £179.99-184.99 to potentially offer better value for money; if they do, the ASUS is a no brainer if you like what you see here today!

Taking all of this into consideration, I am happy to award the ASUS GTX 960 Strix our gold award; even though the value element could be better, this is alleviated by the inclusion of XSplit Gamecaster with the latest version of ASUS GPU Tweak as well as the semi-passive cooler.  If you are in the market for a petite graphics card offering un-rivalled efficiency while being able to handle 1080p without problems, then the ASUS GTX 960 Strix 2GB graphics card is the ideal investment for those on a budget!

A huge thanks to ASUS and NVIDIA for providing today’s sample, I look forward to seeing more in the near future.


  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value



– Fantastic efficiency
– Good price to performance ratio
– The perfect LAN graphics card
– Power consumption is currently un-touchable
– Great looking design
– DirectCU II semi-passive cooler
– Brilliant price
– Tons of “Maxwell” features included


– 2GB VRAM/128-bit bus might put some consumers off
– ASUS model lacks the value factor of some “other” brands

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