MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G Graphics Card Review

Another GTX 960 but does the MSI Gaming spin on it give it an edge over AMD?

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Packaging & Closer Look

If you have never seen an MSI Gaming themed products packaging, it’s pretty distinguishable with its red and black theme; coupled with the MSI Gaming “dragon”. All the regular suspects in regards to information is present such as the model number (in this case the GTX 960 Gaming 2G) and has a note about some of the NVIDIA specific features such as Gamestream, Gameworks, G-Sync and DirectX 12 support.

MSI GTX 960 Gaming Review (1)

The rear of the packaging touches and elaborates more on the features such as the 2 x 10cm TORX fans featured on the latest revision of the Twin Frozr cooler; the Twin Frozr V. Of course like other cards with this cooler equipped, the GTX 960 also features semi-passive cooling but let’s be honest, the GTX 960 is far from a power hungry so cooling this Maxwell card should be child’s play!

MSI GTX 960 Gaming Review (2)

There isn’t much in the way of accessories included with the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G card but certainly enough to justify including them; these include a quick user guide, a MSI Gaming product brochure, a driver/utility installation disc and 1 x 6 to 8pin PCI-E power adapter; perfect if your power supply doesn’t have any 6+2 or 8pin PCI-E power cables available.

MSI GTX 960 Gaming Review (3)

So now we have the bread and butter of the review, the red and black MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G graphics card and it is a beauty isn’t it? It features 2 x 10cm dual fans which feature TORX design; this is designed to give up to 19% better airflow than conventional propeller blade fans. One of the most interesting features with the Twin Frozr V cooler is the ability to independently control each of the 2 fans; allowing for more precise cooling on either the core or the PWMs; a nice feature but not one I have ever used since I already own 2 x Twin Frozr V cards. Nevertheless, having the feature is anything but a plus for the card, especially given the Zero Frozr technology which enables the fans only when the cooler hits 60c; silent operation when not gaming is a nice feature to have.

MSI GTX 960 Gaming Review (4)

MSI GTX 960 Gaming Review (5)

The PCB is all-black and fits in well with the cooler; it looks a lot smoother than most PCB’s but to MSI’s detriment, it hasn’t come included with a back plate. Ok a back plate is not the most functional part by any means but it does give a nicer look and does help a bit with cooling. I am still miffed why MSI do not include them when quite a few other brands do but it doesn’t affect the card in anyway; maybe I am just being too picky?

MSI GTX 960 Graphics Card (6)

MSI have given the Twin Frozr V plenty of heat pipes to dissipate heat effectively; this cooler is packing 2 x 8mm thick super pipes and 2 x 6mm thinner pipes. This is in addition to the 90% fin coverage found on the heat sink which should prove well in our testing; here is hoping.

Another interesting feature is the slightly thinner design; this particular card like the GTX 970 features a 2 slot cooler but has a little bit of room for air to be sucked in; fantastic if you plan to SLI as this allows a bit of space for the GPU to breathe in cool air; unless your PC is like an oven of course!

6pin? Nah, the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G comes packing with 1 x 8pin PCI-E power connector which is designed to draw more power than the standard 6pin; 6pin allows for 75w of power where an 8pin allows for up to 150w, not that the GTX 960 is going to pull that much power!

MSI GTX 960 Graphics Card (7)

MSI GTX 960 Graphics Card (8)

In terms of display connections, this particular GTX 960 features 3 x DisplayPort 1.2 ports, 1 x HDMI 2.0 port and 1 x Dual Link DVI-I connector; all of these support 60Hz at their maximum resolution with the DisplayPort/HDMI port supporting up to 4K HD and the DVI-I up to 2048×1536. Plenty of HD resolution goodness is supported including multi monitor setups thanks to all those DisplayPorts; would have been nice to have an adapter included in the box though?

MSI GTX 960 Graphics Card (9)

 

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