ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC Video Card Review

For our GPU review today we have the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC, one of the highest factory overclocked GeForce GTX 960 that money can buy. We will compare it to the fastest overclocked Radeon R9 285 that we have at the Underground Bunker to see which reigns supreme at the $200 price point.

Introduction

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. is one of the largest and most successful computer hardware manufacturers in the world. A Taiwan-based company, it manufactures a wide variety of computer hardware, including motherboards, video cards, optical drives, notebooks, networking equipment, barebones desktop, and server systems, among many others.

On our test bench today is the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC video card.

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GeForce GTX 960

The GPU powering this new video card is based on the silicon codenamed GM206 using the Maxwell architecture called the GeForce GTX 960. This GPU is based on the 28nm process and contains 2.94 billion transistors. All of the features supported on GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 are also supported on GeForce GTX 960. We are not going to rehash all those here, but you can re-visit our GeForce GTX 980 evaluation to dive into the new features associated with the Maxwell GPU.

The GeForce GTX 960 has 1,024 CUDA Cores via two Graphics Processing Clusters and eight Streaming Multiprocessors. There are 64 texture units and 32 ROPs backing up the GPU. The stock base clock is 1126MHz and the boost clock is 1178MHz. The memory setup on the GeForce GTX 960 consists of 2GB of GDDR5 running on a 128-bit memory bus. The memory runs at 7GHz, bringing a grand total of 112GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Much like AMD’s Tonga GPU, the GeForce GTX 960 has Delta Color Compression to compensate for the reduced memory bandwidth through compression. The TDP for the GeForce GTX 960 is 120 Watts which only requires a single 6-pin power connector.

ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC

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The ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC comes equipped with a factory GPU base clock of 1253MHz and a boost clock of 1317MHz, a respective 127MHz and 139MHz increase over stock GeForce GTX 960 clock speed, and features ASUS’s DirectCU II cooling system. It is configured with 2GB GDDR5 memory running at a 7.2GHz effective rate which is a 200MHz increase over the stock configuration. The cooling system is comprised of four heat pipes that carry heat away from the GPU to an array of aluminum fins that are cooled by a pair of fans. It also features 5 phase Super Allow Power which claims to reduce power noise by 30%, increase lifespan by 2.5X and enable buzz-free operations. Being of the STRIX lineage, the cooling fans will turn off when the GPU is cool enough to support fanless operation. The fans will spin up once the GPU core temperature exceeds 65 degrees Celcius. It is sporting one DVI-I connectors, one HDMI 1.4a connector and three DisplayPort 1.2 connectors. The card requires a single 6-pin PCIe power connector.

The ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC also features two different selectable modes within the GPU Tweak software. It has a standard clock mode that operates the card at 1291MHz boost clock (still an increase over the stock GeForce GTX960) as well as an OC mode that operates the GPU at a 1317MHz clock. We found that the card defaulted to the OC mode without any intervention on our part, which is the level which we performed our testing at for the GPU. The purpose of having slower clocked modes available for users in this class does not seem to serve much of a purpose.

The ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC comes with a three year warranty and is currently available in etail for $209.99 with Prime Shipping.

ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC Images

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The ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC is packaged in a dark box with an owl looking robot glowing in the shadows of it. The front of the box highlights the GeForce GTX 960 GPU, 2GB of VRAM, the DirectCU II cooling solution, the 0dB fan functionality and the fact that it is a STRIX OC Edition card. On the back, it goes into further detail about the DirectCU II cooling solution, Super Allow Power and GPU Tweak.

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The front of the ASUS STRIX GTX 960 DirectCU II OC a black shroud housing two fans. The cooling solution extends past the back of the PCB by about one inch and utilizes four heat pipes to pull heat way from the GPU to where it can be cooled by the dual fans. As mentioned before, there is a single 6 pin PCIe power connection on this card. The back of the PCB is also protected by a black metal backplate.

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On the I/O panel there are six ports. These include three DP 1.2 ports, one DVI-I connector, and one HDMI connector. The video card’s measurements are 8.5 inches in Length, 1.5 inches Wide, and 4.75 inches in height.

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