Nvidia officially launched the mid-range Maxwell based GPU contenders, the GeForce GTX 960 almost a week ago, offering a solid 1080P gaming capabilities. On paper, the reference GTX 960 features a modest 1024 CUDA cores, 1127 MHz core clock ( 1178 Boost), 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, and a 128-bit bus width under a 199 USD price point. TDP is 120W so it’s going to be a power efficient card and there’s no reason not to see one with a 6-pin power connector to boot.
With that said, Nvidia is trying to fill in the price & performance gap that they made a couple of months ago with the introduction of the GTX 980, and GTX 970. Speaking, the gap is quite wide, as we’re talking about 5, 000 Pesos at most with the introductory prices of several local retailers at bay. Without further ado, let us see the currently available GTX 960s at the local market.
AIMED FOR MAIN STREAM GAMING
There’s no mistaking that the GTX 960 is geared towards the mainstream gamers, as Nvidia themselves positioned the GTX 960 as a direct upgrade from the GTX 760. Nvidia is particularly targeting the MOBA gaming crowd with this card. A GTX 750 is enough for MOBA games tho.
Nvidia, despite the fact that this card is a direct replacement of the GTX 760, provided a performance comparison with the GTX 660 alone. Of course, there will be a huge difference, but take note that review sites also showed that the non reference GTX 960’s performance is comparable to the GTX 670, reference wise.
Maxwell, since the dawn of the GTX 750 & the 750 Ti, offered great improvements when it comes to power efficiency, temperature, & performance compared to older generations. VXGI, DSR, and other Nvidia proprietary features has been added since the dawn of the Maxwell GPUs, and has seen day light on mid-range products too.
Now let us check out the few GTX 960s that are currently available in the Philippine Market. Please note that the price indicated below are taken from the manufacturer / company stated SRP. They are subjected to change, and realistic figures should be lower to push sales.
ASUS GTX 960
Now as for Nvidia’s AIB partners, we’ve received PRs from various companies with regards to their own GTX 960s which is already available in the country. Starting off with ASUS, they are offering a single model based on the said GPU under the STRIX series. – The ASUS STRIX GTX 960. This card features the 0 dB Fans, DirectCU II cooler, and the STRIX treatment with a 1291 MHz factory overclocked GPU and 1317 MHz boost clock. Memory frequency is also overclocked at 7200 MHz. SRP: 13, 330 Pesos.
MSI GTX 960 VARIANTS
Going over to the dragon team, we’ve got the MSI with Four initial models to choose from: That includes the classic, factory overclocked reference based one, the Gaming, 100M Edition, and the White version with the armor. The MSI GTX 960 Gaming, with 1216 MHz core clock and 1279 MHz boost seems to be the top-end GTX 960 offering from MSI, with all the bells and whistles of their gaming series. SRP: 14, 370 Pesos.
If you’re looking for a reference GTX 960, MSI had one in store. This card is good for water cooling enthusiasts who wishes to install a third party cooling solution. Price is still unknown at the moment but I bet it’s going to be a little lower compared to its brethren. No words about the local launch and pricing.
The GTX 960 2GD5T OC features a 1178MHz Core with a boost clock rated at 1241MHz. The card is themed in White and Black so if you’re looking forward to pair it with a White board, then this is a must card to be looked at. Price is still unknown, along with its local availability.
GIGABTE GX 960 VARIANTS
GIGABYTE also launched their GTX 960s, with Three initial models to choose from. The GTX 960 G1 Gaming is the top end GTX 960 from GIGABYTE, with a 1241 MHz core clock and 1304 MHz boost. Three Windforce fans helps to keep the beast cool, at the expense of a longer card overall. SRP: 16, 550 Pesos.
The GTX 960 Windforce is the lighter version of the G1 Gaming featuring dual Windforce fans cooling the GPU with 1216 MHz core clock (1279 MHz boost). SRP: 15, 210 Pesos.
GIGABYTE has the pricier GTX 960 overall, but they also have one of the least expensive with the introduction of the GTX 960 Mini. The GTX Mini is aimed for those who wants the power of the GTX 960 in a small platform, which is perfect for ITX gaming PCs. It has a slightly slower base core clock than the rest, which is 1165 MHz. SRP: 12, 990 Pesos.
ZOTAC GTX 960 VARIANTS
ZOTAC also had their own GTX 960s in the form of Two variants; the GTX 960 with metal shroud, and the GTX 960 AMP! Edition. The AMP! Edition is far by one of the sexier card I have ever seen since launch, and it has the specs to back it up with a 1266 MHz core clock (1329 MHz boost). It also comes with a free MGS: Ground Zeroes which is nice. SRP: 13, 940 Pesos.
If you’re “in” for a more metallic approach, the ZOTAC GTX 960 with 1177 MHz core clock is for you. SRP: 12, 640 Pesos.
PALIT GTX 960 VARIANTS
Palit had only Two variants available in the Philippines at the moment, and those are the GTX 960 JetStream, and the GTX 960 semi-reference edition. Semi reference, since Palit used a different housing for their GTX 960, with a diamond cut design shroud. The said card boasts a modest 1165 MHz core clock, with an interesting memory clock configuration at 7200 MHz. SRP: 11, 930 Pesos.
The GTX 960 JetStream is one of Palit’s top end GTX 960, just second to the Super JetStream which might land in the Philippines depending on demand. It features a good 1203 MHz clock speed, and Palit’s own JetStream cooler in Red shroud. SRP: 12, 650 Pesos.
SO… WHAT’S THE BEST?
Honestly, I dunno. It depends on your budget, needs, and tastes actually. Although without testing, we could see that the ASUS “might” be the fastest GTX 960 overall, due to its cherry picked factory overclocked GPU at 1291 MHz. In addition, it could achieve an even higher 1317 MHz boost clock speed when the situation permits it. All of the cards here are able to achieve their rated boost clock speeds. However, we are not sure how fast will they get there, or how long could they sustain that boost over a period of time. What this mean is that cooling and power delivery will absolutely come into play. That said, the ASUS might be the fastest on paper, but other cards around its price-point “might” be faster.
Although they are all cards bearing the GTX 960 GPUs inside, they are not the same at all. One posses the better overall look (personally, I like the ZOTAC AMP!), one might have better or longer warranty period, the other one might be the cheapest, and so on. It’s at your discretion. Just make sure to pick the GTX 960 that is most suitable to your needs. e.g. if you prefer cooling over performance, then your hierarchy of choosing the right graphics should be cooling > performance > budget > looks. Something along those lines.
At the end of the day, follow what you would like the most. Follow your gaming instincts and gather the opinions of your #PCMasterRace friends for maximum satisfaction.