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NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a twenty-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.



  • Monitoring with MSI Afterburner
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 1920x1080 8x AA
  • 5-run sequence
  • 20-minute idle duration
  • Temperature measured in degrees Celsius


















One thing to remember when looking at the idle charts is that these are passive numbers in the stock testing. EVGA's ACX 2.0+ cooling solution only starts spinning the fans once the card reaches 60 °C. The EVGA SSC features a pair of BIOS that let you decide whether to run with a passive solution until 60 °C or run the low noise BIOS. A pretty cool feature, but if you want to manually configure the fan profile that works as well. On the MSI card the Twin Frozr V cooling solution stays passive until 50 °C by default and delivers basically the same result as tthe EVGA card.

The load temperatures in the stock testing show the uptick in the temperature of the EVGA card with the delay in spooling up, although once up it does well. MSI's just is a bit cooler running in this test. Once overclocked I set the fan speed manually to 80% and the low power consumption of the GTX 960's Maxwell architecture delivers load temperatures well under 50 °C to stabilize my overclocks.

Here is where the rubber hits the road. Under the stock testing both cards were, well, silent. Turning the fan speed up to improve cooling performance showed that there is a tangible benefit with the lower 120 watt TDP of the GM206 GPU. The one downside is that the noise level goes up. By far the dual ball bearing-equipped fans on the EVGA card were louder than the fans on the MSI GTX 960 Gaming. But if you want to go for max cooling on a GPU, some fans are going to speak to you.

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