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NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing:

Testing of NVIDIA's latest Maxwell architecture based video card, the GTX 960, will consist of running them and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will be testing the cards at their stock speeds to see how they stack up and will test each one to find the maximum stable overclock. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. Resolutions of 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 will be used, both at stock and overclocked. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 347.25 drivers and the AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.12 "Omega" drivers.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Video Cards:




  • MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G : Core 1518MHz,  Memory 1937MHz
  • EVGA GTX 960 SSC ACX2+ : Core 1577MHz,  Memory 1912MHz


Overclocking this pair of GTX 960 cards proved to be as easy as advertised when the clock speeds started rising. Overclocking was accomplished by using the utility supplied by the card manufacturers. MSI's GTX 960 Gaming 2G is tweaked with MSI's familiar Afterburner utility version 4.0, while EVGA's GTX 960 SSC ACX+ gets version 16 of EVGA's Precision software. Each of these cards are delivered with higher than reference clock speeds to start with and NVIDIA was keen on showing that they could be easily overclocked to 1450MHz with little to no overvoltage required for the task.

Let's start with the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G. That 1450Mhz speed was no special trick with this card since the Boost clock speed was in the high 1370MHz range for many of the games before I even touched the clock speed. Reaching up and over 1500MHz, however, proved a little more daunting. Cooling was not a concern at all thanks to the power efficiency of the design, especially when you bump the fan speed on the Twin Frozr cooling solution to 80%. At this speed core temperatures were under 50 °C, ensuring the max clocks could be reached even with the overvoltage tab maxed out in MSI Afterburner. Getting the core up to 1518MHz required bumping the voltage up to +100mv and bumping the clock speed up until the card would fail. I repeated the process on the memory and was rewarded with a boost in clock speed to 1937MHz. For MSI's part the Twin Frozr V-equipped GTX 960 Gaming 2G delivers another 239MHz worth of core clock and 185MHz on the GDDR5 memory clock. That's a little over 10% on the memory and 18.5% worth of overclocking from the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G.

Now EVGA's GTX 960 SSC ACX2+ is the faster card out of the box, with a 1342MHz boost clock on the GM206 core while maintaining the same 1752MHz closk speed on the GDDR5 memory. Using EVGA's Precision software I used pretty much the same overclocking sequence I used with the MSI card and achieved mixed results on the card. The core clock came in a much more impressive 1577MHz in boost mode using the same +100mv overvoltage to the core and 80% fan speed. Again cooling was not a concern thanks to how well the ACX 2.0+ cooling solution works using the horizontal orientation of the heat pipes. Memory clocking was not as favorable as on the MSI card, with a 25MHz lower memory clock speed that came in at 1912MHz. Still pretty respectable when you look at it. Percentage wise these improvements are in the same ball park at 234MHz or about 17.5% on the GM206 core and a bit less than 10% or 160MHz on the memory. Each of these cards overclocks well and fits the bill for added performance when you take the time to get it.



Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. BioShock Infinite
  3. Far Cry 4
  4. Battlefield 4
  5. Assassin's Creed Unity
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  7. 3DMark


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

  1. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Closer Look: EVGA GTX 960 SSC ACX 2.0+
  3. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Closer Look: MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G
  4. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960: Specifications & Features
  5. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  6. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Metro: Last Light
  7. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: BioShock Infinite
  8. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Far Cry 4
  9. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Battlefield 4
  10. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Assassin's Creed Unity
  11. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Unigine Heaven 4.0
  12. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: 3DMark
  13. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Temperatures
  14. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960 Testing: Power Consumption
  15. NVIDIA, MSI, EVGA GTX 960: Conclusion
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