MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING Overclocking Review

We push the new MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING video card to its limits of performance by overclocking to its limits. This NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU based video card has a lot of potential for hardware enthusiasts and gamers wanting more performance. We compare it with other overclocked cards to see if the GTX 960 can keep up.

Introduction

It is time for us to get serious about pushing the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 GPU to its limits via overclocking. We are using a retail custom video card, the MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G video card. We will be overclocking the GPU and memory as high as we can. We want to find out if overclocking this new GPU can yield positive performance improvements that will improve your gameplay experience.

We are not just going to stop there, we are going to put the GeForce GTX 960 to the test by overclocking its competition as well. We uniquely have the capability to use all of the same branded video cards for overclocking. This is as apples-to-apples as it gets.

We are using MSI custom "GAMING" branded video cards. All of these video cards from MSI feature custom board designs, MSI's Military Class hardware components, and MSI's Twin Frozr heatsink and fan design. Each of these video cards is built to overclock and will allow us to maximize the potential of each GPU for comparison.

Before we go over what each card offers, please read our launch evaluation using the MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G. Then, follow-up by reading our high resolution and high-end video card comparison evaluation which dives into more comparisons. That will tell you everything about the video card we are overclocking today, we are not going to rehash specifications here.


We are Overclocking The Following Video Cards

MSI GeForce GTX 960 GAMING 2G - This is of course the video card in question today, we want to see how high the GeForce GTX 960 GPU can overclock. Remember, this video card is highly factory overclocked already and runs in games at 1366MHz out of the box. If we can get more out of it, it will be impressive.

MSI Radeon R9 285 GAMING 2G - This video card is based on AMD's Radeon R9 285 GPU (Tonga.) It uses the latest GCN architecture. The MSI GAMING version has the GPU overclocked out-of-the-box but not the memory. The overclock is not very high at 973MHz versus the reference 918MHz. We will see what we can get out of it by pushing it manually.

MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 760 - This video card is based on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 760 GPU. This video card has an overclocked base and boost clock speed. The actual in-game frequency runs at 1150MHz, which is much higher than a reference card. We will also push this card to the limit trying to get the most out of the GTX 760 that we can.

All video cards share the same capacity of VRAM at 2GB. We will cover the overclocks we achieved on a separate page. This evaluation will be formatted as an apples-to-apples comparison but we did push each video card to the extreme at 1440p and 1080p testing.


Test Setup

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For drivers we were using NVIDIA supplied GeForce 347.25 for use with GeForce GTX 960. We used this driver for all NVIDIA GPUs.

For AMD we used the latest 14.12 Catalyst Omega drivers.