[section_title title=”Closer Look”]Closer Look
I know exactly what you are thinking now, it looks kind of small doesn’t it? Well, coming in at just under 8.5” in length (215mm or 21.5cm), straight off the bat it looks like a card which could easily be a winner here. Now this isn’t me pre-judging the GTX 960 Strix without testing, but think about it, a card that is designed for gamers on a budget which has the added flexibility of being able to fit inside even the smallest of cases; not all budget cases have oodles of room for GPU clearance so ASUS have done some fine work here in my opinion.
Coupled with this, is the Strix DirectCUII cooler which features a fantastic semi-passive cooler design; yes it runs a little hotter than non-passive cooled cards in idle but what is a few degrees when we are talking about absolute silence? Looking at the cooler more closely, we have the typical ASUS Strix stamp of identity with tribal like red accents on the fans and across the middle of the cooler; vertically patterned might I add. The cooler is designed with silence in mind and given that you can adjust the fan profile to adjust your needs, you could effectively play a game such as League of Legends or CS:GO without even having the fans spinning; ok it will get a bit warm, but nothing that is unacceptable in terms of temperatures.
Like all graphics cards coming out, Gen3 PCI-E is supported but as always, it is backwards compatible with previous versions or motherboards that don’t support the latest Gen3 slots. On top of this, NVIDIA have included 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM as standard with the GTX 960 which is run over a slightly lower spec 128bit bus; this does limit the memory bandwidth slightly, but it should be more efficient.
So far we have got the fact this is a budget card right? If you are unsure….2GB of VRAM over a 128bit bus is hardly “GTX 980” spec so anyone expecting this to be a 4k Battlefield 4 at Ultra settings destroyer; think again. That being said, what this card is actually targeting is those with “less demanding” games such as MOBA’s etc. League of Legends, DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, even World of Warcraft; games in which look great at 1080p but don’t need £1000 systems to push them to the maximum.
So back to the aesthetics, ASUS have included what I can only really describe as a “gorgeous” back plate to compliment this card; a mixture of aesthetics and added cooling performance for the PCB is what this brings to the table, in case anyone was wondering. Now like MSI have done, ASUS have started equipping their cards with rear facing PCI-E power connectors which to me personally, is a lot more convenient and overall easier to install; 1 x 6pin PCI-E power connector will be needed to power this card; Maxwell efficiency strikes again.
Only thing I would grip, is the heat sink extends beyond the back plate and PCB of the card; it isn’t ugly though as I feel ASUS have done a good job at least trying to make the card look presentable!
Last but not least, we have the rear I/O of the ASUS GTX 960 Strix. This particular card is packing the following connections:
1 x HDMI 2.0 port
1 x Dual link DVI-I port
3 x DisplayPort 1.2 ports
Plenty of connections for those multi-monitor aficionados among us; ASUS have included a VGA to DVI adapter in the box to allow compatibility with all the common used visual interface devices; basically monitors or whatever you intend to hook your system up to.
So we have seen the ASUS GTX 960 in its subtle glory, we have seen the specs and we have seen what the new Maxwell GM206 brings to the table but does it fit right in or is it going to be a tight squeeze for NVIDIA? Let’s find out…