ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review




ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

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Another ASUS product reviewed today: the Strix edition of the GTX 960. I recently reviewed the Turbo GTX 960 and being a bit disappointed by this white card, I said the Strix GTX 960 was likely a better choice. Let’s see if it’s true.

ASUS Strix GTX 960 is based on the second generation of NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture, the GM206. The GM206 is the first GPU that offers HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) decoding in hardware. The GM206 packs 1024 CUDA cores and reference clocks are 1127MHz (base) and 1178MHz (boost). ASUS Strix GTX 960 DC2 OC is factory-overclocked: 1228MHz (base: +8.9%) and 1291MHz (boost: +9.5%).

The homepage of the Strix GTX 960 DC2 OC 4GB can be found HERE.

1 – Gallery

More big pictures of the GTX 960 DC2 OC are available HERE.


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

The bundle is simple as often these last times: the graphics card, a HDMI to DVI converter, a doc + CDROM (with GPU Tweak ans drivers) and… whaaooww, a sticker!


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

The Strix GTX 960 is equipped with a DirectCU 2 VGA cooler including a 0dB fan technology. What does it mean? Simply that when the GPU temperature is below a threshold (this is the case in idle mode on Windows), the fans do not work: the GTX 960 is totally quiet. Great!


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS has equipped the Strix with a backplate for a better mechanical protection and for heat dissipation:


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

Only one 6-pin power connector is required to feed the board. The 6-pin connector (75W) and the PCI-Express slot (75W too) provide enough power (150W max) for the Strix GTX 960. The reference GTX 960 has a TDP of 120W and this Strix GTX 960 should not be too far from this value:


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

Two LEDs are available to indicate if the board is properly fed:


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

The board has the following connectors:
– three DisplayPort 1.2
– one HDMI 2.0 (4k @ 60Hz, see HERE and HERE)
– one DVI


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

The Strix GTX 960 and a GTX 780 with reference cooler:


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review

2 – GPU Info

Here is a quick recap of the main values reported by GPU Shark, GPU Caps Viewer and GPU-Z:

  • Power target – min: 46.2 % TDP, max: 115.4 % TDP
  • Core clock – base: 1228MHz, boost: 1291MHz
  • Idle GPU temperature: 35°C
  • CUDA Cores: 1024 (8 SMX units)
  • Texture units: 64
  • ROPs: 32


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ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB - GPU Caps Viewer - CUDA

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB - GPU Caps Viewer - OpenCL

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB - GPU Shark

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB - GPU-Z

ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB - GPU-Z

3 – Benchmarks


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DC2 OC - Benchmarks


>>>> 1920×1080 Benchmarks Scores <<<<<

I benchmarked ASUS Strix GTX 960 with several GPU tests (FurMark, 3DMark, Unigine Valley, Catzilla, AvP and Resident Evil 6). See THIS PAGE for all results in 1920×1080 fullscreen mode. I also tested the GTX 960 with MSI Kombustor 3.5 (Plasma + Julia4D OpenCL) and GPU Test 0.7.0 (Volplosion, Julia FP32/FP64)

Depending on the graphics workload, I heard a small buzzing noise, probably the famous coil whine noise produced by the coils (or chokes) of the VRM. I heard the coil noise with 3DMark Ice Storm for example (the high framerate is likely the cause of this noise). But in most of the tests, the card was quiet.

4 – Burn-in Test


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DC2 OC - Burn-in test

The Strix GTX 960, like the Strix GTX 980 is FurMark-proof: no throttling, correct GPU temperature and everything is done quietly! What else?

On idle, the total power consumption of the tested is 44W. The GPU temperature is 46°C. That seems a bit high, but remember that the Strix GTX 960 has the 0dB fan tech. So 46°C is the temperature in silent or passive mode!

When FurMark is running, the CPU pulls around 25W and the total power consumption was 220W (the GPU temperature reached 70°C after few minutes with fans running this time). The efficiency factor of the Corsair AX 860i is 0.92. An estimation of the power consumption of the Strix GTX 960 is:

P = (220-44-25) * 0.92
P = 138W

Here are some infra-red thermal images of the Strix GTX 960 at idle and stressed by FurMark:


ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960 DC2 OC 4GB - Thermal imaging
Idle state

ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 960 DC2 OC 4GB - Thermal imaging

Load state

As you can see, the backplate acts like a dissipator and then improves heat evacuation.

During the FurMark stress test, I measured a noise of 39dB at around 30cm of the card. It’s really quiet.

5 – Conclusion

I love this card. It has all necessary connectors (DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0), the graphics performances are correct, all latest 3D APIs (OpenGL 4.5, DX12) are supported, the VGA cooler is quiet at idle and under load and does its job well, the GPU does not suffer from throttling under heavy load and it has a backplate. So I can confirm that the Strix GTX 960 is a better choice compared to the Turbo GTX 960. Ok the price is slightly higher than the Turbo GTX 960 2GB but this card comes with 4GB of VRAM!

Final Verdict

8.5/10 PROS:
GM206 GPU (Maxwell second generation)
4GB of graphics memory
– HDMI 2.0 for 4k @ 60 Hz
– good GPU temperature at idle state (35-40°C in passive mode)
three DisplayPort 1.2 connectors and one HDMI 2.0 connector (for 4k @ 60 Hz)
– factory-overclocked
no GPU throttling
backplate for mechanical protection
good GPU temperature under load (70°C)
ultra quiet at idle (0dB / passive mode)
quiet in load
– low power consumption under load (138W)

CONS:
– simple bundle (it’s still a simple bundle even with the presence of the sticker)
– slight coil whine under some 3D tests (-0.5 on the final verdict)


ASUS Strix GTX 960 DirectCU2 OC 4GB Review