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::>Graphics cards > 2015 > 02 > ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5

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Republish review

27-02-2015


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Graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC: review and testing

ASUS company continues to rejoice its fans by extending the relatively young lineup of graphics cards ASUS STRIX via new solutions. Another addition of the family was the version of the graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, with key features described in the review Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 iChill Ultra.

As for the tested model ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5), it has not only the factory overclocking, but also high-quality circuitry, as well as proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with integrated technology 0dB FAN, which allows to use cooling system in the passive mode at low load. Let's move to a more detailed examination of all the special features.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The specs:

Model

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC  

(ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Q-ty of shader processors

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Basic /dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

«Gaming»

1228 / 1291

«OC»

1253 / 1317

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1800 (7200)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Bus memory width, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

115,2

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening  interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI 2.0

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Additional PCIe sockets

1 x 6-pin

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

215 х 121

(225 х 122)

Drivers

ASUS or GPU

Website

ASUS

Tested modification of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 compares favorably not only due to proprietary cooling system, but the presence of factory overclocking of the GPU from the standard 1126 to 1228 MHz (mode «Gaming», which is selected by default). Given the technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 graphics core is clocked at 1291 MHz instead of recommended 1178 MHz. Also video memory subsystem, which operates at a frequency of 7200 MHz effective instead of the recommended 7010 MHz received acceleration.

Do note that the graphics card was tested by us in a more productive mode «OC», where the nominal and dynamic GPU frequency is 1253 MHz and 1317 MHz, respectively. It will be activated by the complete utility ASUS GPU Tweak by selecting a preset profile «O». 

Package and content

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 comes in fairly compact cardboard box and decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the manufacturer and model of the device do note the reference about the capacity and type of video memory and the ownership of the solutions to the line «OC» (factory overclocked graphics cards). Also in the bottom right corner is specified the support for technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The main advantages of new item are: a proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN, digital power system DIGI+ VRM and improved circuitry made in accordance with the concept of Super Alloy Power. It includes:

  • solid capacitors Super Alloy Capacitors with increased life up to 2.5;
  • ferrite core choke Super Alloy Chokes;
  • FETs Super Alloy MOS with an increase of 30% voltage threshold;
  • polymer tantalum capacitors SAP CAP, which possess high stability and efficiency even when working in a mode of extreme acceleration.

In daily use the above-described advantages make a 15% increase in performance by 35 degrees lower operating temperatures, and 2.5 increased service life of the graphic adapter.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the benefits listed on the front side. Also here is a schematic representation of the interface board and mention of the capabilities of proprietary utility GPU Tweak with functions of Online Streaming and switching between the above-mentioned modes «Gaming» and «OC».

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system should have a capacity of at least 400 W and provide at least 38 A on the +12V line. Also tested model requires connection only one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The supplied set of the graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC contains the standard documentation, CD with software and adapter from DVI-I to D-Sub, which is quite sufficient set of accessories. You won’t have problems for connecting additional power supply, as almost all modern power supplies are equipped with at least one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

To output images the product has quite standard set of interfaces:

  • 1 х DVI-I;
  • 1 х HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 х DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Analog up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Model ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 is performed on a compact black PCB with standard layout principle. Used circuitry corresponds to the proprietary concept Super Alloy Power and includes only high quality components: solid capacitors, advanced MOSFETs, Ferrite Core Choke, and tantalum-polymer capacitors. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics card as a whole, as well as prolongs its life.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Power supplying of a new product is made via quite a standard five-phase scheme, where four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and one for the video memory subsystem.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

A digital PWM controller is a chip uP1608TK produced by company uPI Semiconductor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In accordance with NVIDIA recommendations the power of graphics card is provided by slot PCI Express x16 and one 6-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Due to its arrangement the cooler does not discomfort the disconnection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In order to the operation of technology NVIDIA SLI the ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 uses one connector for the corresponding bridge that allows to combine two video accelerators for joint calculation of graphical effects. Don’t forget that you can see the testing results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 in mode 2-Way NVIDIA SLI in the review GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

 

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The reverse side of a novelty, originally covered with a base plate is notable by two of the four video memory chips, the above-mentioned tantalum polymer capacitors and some other electrical components.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The heart of the tested model is the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell), produced by 28-nm process. It includes 1024 unified shader pipes (CUDA cores in the terminology of NVIDIA), 32 blocks rasterization and 64 texture units. As we have said, the graphics card stands by a factory overclocking of graphics core with frequency in the mode «OC» in 1253 and 1317 MHz.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Total volume of Memory of model ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 is 2 GB and it is collected with the help of the 4 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity of 512 MB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7000 MHz, but in our case it was increased up to 7200 MHz. The data exchange between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of passing of 115.2 GB per second.

Cooling system

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics card with installed cooling system DirectCU II takes up two expansion slots and has a total length of 215 mm according to the official website of the company ASUS (225 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The cooler consists of a fairly compact radiator, which uses 47 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, two 75-mm axial fans with support for technology 0dB FAN, as well as the plastic casing that cover the entire structure above.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The fans are made by FirstDo and are labeled as «FD7010H12S». Rated voltage of their work is 12, and the current is 0.35 A, which gives the final output of 4.2 W. Judging by the letter «S» in the title, they are built sleeve bearing.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator is realized by four copper heat pipes of different diameters: two 8 mm and two 6 mm. Note that the fins and heatpipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the decrease in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, caused by the oxidation of metals. Here is a scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste for rapid removal of excess heat.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In order to improve the efficiency of heat transfer the pipes are securely soldered to the edges of aluminum radiator and copper base.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Since the primary cooling system is not in contact directly with any force elements of stabilization module power or memory chips, the first is used for cooling a separate element in the form of a low-profile heatsink with thermal interface on the back side. But memory chips do not have any additional cooling.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Under automatic speed control of fan blades in the maximum load, the graphics core was warmed to 62 degrees and cooler worked with the 57% of its maximum capacity. The noise level at the same time can be described as quiet.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Under the maximum speed of the fan blades, the GPU temperature dropped to 54 degrees. In this case, the noise rose to an average level, but remained comfortable enough for continuous work with the PC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In case of absence of load the frequency of the graphics core and memory were automatically lowered, allowing lower power consumption and heat generation of the graphics core. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 39 degrees, as fans generally stop spinning and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. Here the the above-mentioned technology is 0dB FAN activated which provides silent operation of graphics card at low loads.


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