GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING Video Card Review
GIGABYTE has delivered one of the fastest factory overclocked GeForce GTX 960 cards on the market, the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING. This video card holds great value at $209, pricing it against the MSI R9 285 GAMING video card. We will also compare each video cards max overclock, and compare a R9 280X to find the best value.
GIGABYTE is a hardware manufacturer and one of the most respected PC component builders in the business today. The company was established in 1986 in Taipei, Taiwan, and is best known for its motherboards. Gigabyte has a vast product line, including motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, LCDs, mobile devices, tablet computers, computer cases, and many other PC peripherals.
On our test bench today is the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING (GV-N960G1 GAMING-2GD) video card.
In this evaluation we are looking at a GeForce GTX 960 GPU from NVIDIA. More specifically we are looking at GIGABYTE’s G1 GAMING series spin on the GPU. This video card has 2GB of memory, and supports a hefty factory overclock and a powerful cooling system.
The GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING was designed for high-end 1080p gaming. This video card has 2.94 billion transistors on-board. There are also 1024 CUDA cores on-board, 32 ROPs. It features a 128-bit memory bus with memory running at 7GHz. It is available for $199 after $10 MIR. It also includes the free game Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, a $50 value.
Directly competing with the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING is the MSI R9 285 GAMING OC video card. It is available for $219 after $20 MIR. This video card should perform close to the GTX 960, providing a good comparison at the relative price point.
Later in this evaluation, we will also be using a reference AMD Radeon R9 280X. The R9 280X has 3GB of memory, whereas the R9 285 only has 2GB. This may play some role in high-end gaming at 1080p. We hope to clarify this using apples-to-apples comparisons later on. Keep in mind the R9 280X cards are a bit more expensive than the GTX 960 and R9 285 ranging from $220 up to $275. This allows the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING to perform against the two closest priced AMD GPUs.
GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING Video Card
The biggest selling point on the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING is that it is highly overclocked. This may be the fastest overclocked GTX 960 on the market. A reference GTX 960 operates with a boost clock of 1178MHz. This model is clocked 126MHz faster at 1304MHz. The memory operates at the standard frequency which is 7GHz. In-game the actual frequency increases all the way up to 1455MHz. These GPUs are put through a GPU gauntlet to be selected, or cherry-picked.
GIGABYTE helps this video card remain stable during overclocking thanks to its WindForce 3X cooling system. This features pure copper heat-pipes that directly contact the GPU to speed heat dissipation and spread it across each of the 3 areas of the heatsink. This finned array heatsink allows the three specially designed fans to exhausted heat in an efficient manner.
This video card is also super smart. It is capable of turning off its fans when they aren't necessary. When this happens two small LEDs will light up on the top edge of the video card, showing that it is performing silent cooling. These lights go off when the fans begin spinning. The fans will generally operate during gaming, and will only shut off during idle or low-activity desktop work.
GIGABYTE also has a new "Flex Display" technology built in to this video card. This will automatically detect and configure up to four connected monitors, to achieve multi-display gaming. This improves the GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING's options, by allowing up to 4K resolution on a single display, or a variety of multi-display configurations.
GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING Pictures
The GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING comes well packaged inside its box. The included software and accessory package has a driver installation CD and quick start guide. There were also two dual-Molex to 6-pin PCIe connectors.
The video card is mostly black, however the fan housing structure is very sparse, allowing the aluminum heat sink and copper heat pipes to show through. There is also a back plate to cover all rear mounted components, and draws together a nice visual appearance. The four copper heat pipes extend to both heatsink near the front and back end of the video card.
GIGABYTE GTX 960 G1 GAMING recommends a minimum 400W power additional specifically for this vidoe card. It requires two 6-pin PCIe power connectors located along the top edge at the back end of the video card. The rear I/O panel houses a Dual-Link DVI-I connector, a Dual-Link DVI-D connector, 3 display port connectors and an HDMI connector. It measures 11.75 inches in length, 1.5 inches wide, and 4 inches in height.