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Mainstream Performance: GeForce GTX 960 Review

By Steve · 26 replies
Jan 22, 2015
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  1. Because of its killer value, the GeForce GTX 970 may be the obvious GPU pick for many who can spend over $300 on a new graphics card. However with most gamers spending $200 or less on a GPU, Nvidia usually offers a cost-effective way to enjoy high-end games with 'sweet spot GPUs' such as the GTX 460, 560, 660 and 760 -- the latter two being the most-used GeForce models on Steam.

    Today's release, the GeForce GTX 960 will take over this so-called sweet spot and should appeal to gamers who are preparing for the impending wave of DirectX 12 titles on a budget. The straight value of cards in this category usually makes them a prime candidate for SLI setups and we've also published a separate review covering the performance of dual-GTX 960s.

    Read the complete review.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2015
  2. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 337   +180

    I cant believe what I see. It's trailing its own GTX760 in GPU intensive games. The upside is, fps scales with resolution to a 256bit bunch, so 128bit wasn't limiting factor after all. It's basically 8800GT/9800GT all over. I am so happy I bought 970 before my currency dropped value to $.
    Cryio likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,995   +2,880

    They stuffed it up by bottle necking it with a 128 bit memory bus. This card is a disappointment much like the GTX 660 mess was.
    It would've been fine as $150 card but not a $200 card, I guess we can't always have the one hit wonders the 6600GT & 8800GT were.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
    Jad Chaar and Cryio like this.
  4. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 253   +103

    Anyone who thinks a 960 is a better choice over a 280 is insane or just incredibly biased.
    Jad Chaar, veLa and Cryio like this.
  5. Looks like decent competition to the R9 280 and 285, but it could truly shine if they managed to make a low-profile/single slot model. That would be the dream HTPC gaming video card.
  6. The 960 seems like a big step down, the 970 is still the better option even if it's $100 more or so. And I think the new AMD 300 series cards are on the way.
  7. In the case of both the previous-gen x60 models, the fact that they are #s 1 and 2 on Steam is surprising *why*? In merely factory-reconditioned trim, the GTX660 is in the low-$120USD (or less) range, with the GTX760 $100USD above that. Neither requires more than dual-6-pin power feeds, both have 2 GB of GDDR5 (still plenty for most games - even current games; in fact, the GTX660 (sans Ti) could be considered overkill for some (read: Titanfall)).

    The Gainward GTX960 is mostly passively-cooled - the fans are not exposed. It also requires but a single 6-pin PCI Express power feed. That puts it squarely in GTX660 (or lower) replacement turf. How low is that? The reference GTX550Ti also uses just a single 6-pin feed, and this card fits in the same physical space.
  8. Summary of both articles - The 960 is NOT the sweet spot. The 970 is much faster and represents a far better bang for the buck. Also, as expected, it makes more sense to run a single 970 than two 960s in SLI.
  9. Experimentongod

    Experimentongod TS Addict Posts: 253   +98

    Jesus... the 960 is GARBAGE, the performance difference vs the 760 is almost non existent. Nvidia dropped the ball on this one.
    Cryio likes this.
  10. Performance comparison between 760 vs 960 is only about ~5fps, I thought it gonna be about 5 to 10+ fps
    ..sad :(
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    So your strategy is to convert potential users by insulting them? Seems flawed.
    Never occurred to you that the potential user has different requirements - Both cards offer broadly equal perf/pricing at 19x10 ($200 for the 960, ~$180 for the 280 for 5% increase in perf) so that is basically a wash and not bad considering the 280 is EoL and the inventory is being "specialled out"
    Note that the GTX 960 offers:
    1. Lower power consumption, especially in video playback*
    2. Offers full HEVC decode
    2a. Most major vendors are offering SFF targeted variants ( Asus, Gigabyte, Zotac, EVGA, Galax/KFA2, Inno3D etc).
    So, if you're a mainstream gamer @ 1920x1080 who is also targeting HTPC usage, the 960 makes some sense.
    Steve likes this.
  12. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 2,358   +1,517

    Insane because the R9 280 is $10 cheaper but slightly slower? Performance vs. Price is the same really so how is that insane or incredibly biased? Ohh and the GTX 760 uses way less fuel when gaming and watching media content as DBZ just pointed out.

    The GTX 760 is the best option in the $200 - $250 price bracket now but as we said in the review it's the best by >-< this much which is very disappointing.
    gamoniac likes this.
  13. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 757   +213

    The GTX 960 reminds me of the 8600 GTS. Both of them are incredibly boring cards. If I had to upgrade from my GTX 770 the GTX 970 is the only worthwhile card.
  14. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,138   +626

    Meanwhile reviews are saying 960 is good. Bu they're mostly shills ofcourse.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,171   +3,263

    Having a GTX 660, I wouldn't consider GTX 750 a worthy upgrade either.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Seriously why would anyone upgrade yet drop a tier after only one or two generations?
  16. SUmmary .. NV will mop up the rich gravy of early adopters and buyers, whilst the canny and well hung will wait out for AMD 300 to launch, thence NV will re-price to a more realistic long term price of $175, thusly spoiling AMD's launch, or at least offering them stiff price competition. I will probably get this card, but will await an ASUS strix version, in possible single slot config, or maybe even a jacked-up 950ti (when and if that arrives, at a Uk price of £120+ )
  17. "Anyone who thinks a 960 is a better choice over a 280 is insane or just incredibly biased"

    After read the some reviews from the web, I dunno whether you're insane or just incredibly biased, LoL
    Alpha Gamer likes this.
  18. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 757   +213

    Maybe I was hoping for something a little more than just a generational performance jump.
  19. Alpha Gamer

    Alpha Gamer TS Evangelist Posts: 345   +105

    If one is building a computer from scratch, they must take into consideration the price of the whole thing, and the gtx 960 allows the purchase of a much cheaper psu.
  20. DJMIKE25

    DJMIKE25 TS Addict Posts: 165   +65

    Looks like I'm Not upgrading my PNY 770 OC2 4gb any time soon. Although I wouldn't have for a 960 anyway.
    veLa likes this.
  21. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    It is unfortunate because if they had kept a 192bit bus and increased the cores a bit it could be ahead of the 280. It is a shame really because they want to compete price-wise but they end up chopping off too much. AMD is the budget king for now and probably will be for the years to come.
  22. I am quite happy with the R9 290 I bought for $200 used. Although it runs hotter and requires more power than the GTX 960 it's also stronger. I almost regretted about my purchase when they announced the GTX 960 in the current price range but not any more.
  23. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 253   +103

    Omg with a 192-bit bus and 3GB of RAM it would beat the 280 by 20% while using 50w less.

    However that is what the 960 Ti will be, and it will cost as much as a 290 while being crushed by it.
  24. Brewskie

    Brewskie TS Rookie Posts: 28   +6

    I wonder how the gtx 960 would stack up against gtx 580 in SLI?
  25. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,171   +3,263

    It's just a guess but I'd say the 960 would perform comparable to one 580. In my opinion 580's in SLI would be way overkill when compared to 960. But then like I said it is only a guess.
    Brewskie likes this.

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