NVIDIA Brings the Power with New Graphics Cards


When you think of power players in the graphics-card markets, two manufacturers come to mind, and NVIDIA is certainly at the forefront. The recent NVIDIA Maxwell-based GTX 900 series—the GTX 970 and 980 used a smaller die, almost 30% smaller than previous models, and fewer transistors—still boosted the speed over its competitors.

But apparently, the company wasn’t resting on its laurels, waiting to be one-upped by others in the field. As manufacturers try to match the speed and efficiency of the GTX 900 series, today NVIDIA introduces the GTX 960.

This series is available in a few variations. The ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960 Factory Overclocked Graphics Card has a base core clock of 1,228 MHz and a boost to 1,317 MHz, with 1,024 CUDA cores and a memory speed of 7,200 MHz (that’s the QDR, quad data rate speed). It will have space for 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, with a 128-bit memory bus. The Gigabyte  GTX 960 G1 Gaming Overclocked Graphics Card will have a slight variation, with 1,241 base speeds and 1,307 MHz boost speeds. Both are ATX form factor PCIe 3.0 x16 cards with one DVI-I, one HDMI port, and three DisplayPort terminals with the Gigabyte iteration adding a DVI-D terminal. Both of these models will use their own custom coolers. The Gigabyte card uses the patented WINDFORCE 3X cooling system with triangle cool technology, which combines a fin-and-clip module on the fan sink, reducing the heat points of the fan sink; and an anti-turbulence method of heat dissipation, which can increase the efficiency of heat transfer by moving the heat that the card generates away from the components. The card from ASUS uses the DirectCU II cooler, which uses two large fans and a 10mm heat pipe to cool the components. If the card is operating below a set temperature, the card will stop the fans from spinning for completely silent operation.

The Gigabyte GTX 960 Mini-ITX Graphics Card will include base speeds of 1,165 MHz and boost speeds of 1,228 MHz, with the same 1,024 CUDA cores, 7,010 MHz memory clock speed and 128 bit memory bus. It will also hold up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory, is made for a mini-ITX chassis, and will have one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and one HDMI port, but only a single DisplayPort terminal. Because of the compact form factor, it does not use the WINDFORCE 3X cooling system, but a smaller GBT 90mm fan sink.

Also introduced today is the MSI GTX 960 Overclocked Graphics Card, with a 1,178 MHz base speed and 1,241 MHz boost speed, and the same 2GB of GDDR5 memory, 7,010 MHz memory speed, 1,024 CUDA cores and PCIe 3.0 x 16 interface. This version has three DisplayPort, one HDMI port, and one DVI-I port. It also varies the cooling display a little with an Armor 2X configuration, which uses two large fans to lower the temperatures generated by the card.

The MSI GTX 960 100 Million Milestone Edition Graphics Card is a collector’s card with a special 100 Millionth Edition Green Finish. The core clock speed is 1,216 MHz, while the boost speed is 1,279 MHz. As with all of today’s releases, it uses the new Maxwell architecture and includes 1,024 CUDA cores, a 7,100 MHz effective memory clock (QDR), 2GB of GDDR RAM, 128-bit bus, and three DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one DVI-I ports.

Finally, there is the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G Graphics Card, which contains an over-clocked Maxwell GPU running at 1,216 MHz base and 1,279 MHz boos speeds. Everything else lines up pretty much the same—CUDA cores, RAM 128-bit interface and PCIe 3.0 interface—but it also varies the cooling with a Twin Frozr V system, which uses two large fans in a traditional air recirculation setup; probably best used in cases with unrestricted airflow. Think giant gaming case with lots of room.

The cards are capable of  5120 x 3200 maximum digital resolution (yes, 5K resolution at 60Hz with dual DisplayPort connectors) or a maximum VGA resolution of 2048 x 1536, and can support quad displays. They are also HDCP compliant and internal audio input for HDMI.

NVIDIA once again proves that waiting for the competition is a dangerous game—you have to stay one step ahead—and with these new cards, NVIDIA will have the tools needed to leap past many of its competitors.

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