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::>Graphics cards > 2015 > 01 > GIGABYTE GV-N960WF2OC-2GD

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24-01-2015


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GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC graphics card: review and testing

It is not surprise that the GIGABYTE as a one of the largest partners of NVIDIA was aside from the announcement of the new graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960. It has developed three own versions that received the modified cooling system, factory overclocking, qualitative circuitry and a number of other very useful improvements. A key feature of the model NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 you can find in the review Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 iChill Ultra, as for the microarchitecture NVIDIA Maxwell and related technologies, they have a separate and very extensive material.

And we will go directly to the review of GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD) starting from a study of its technical characteristics.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Specification of graphics card GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC:

Model

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC

(GIGABYTE GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Q-ty of shader processors (CUDA-core)

1024

Support of technologies and API

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

Nominal/dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

1216 / 1279

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1753 (7010)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus size, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

112,2

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 DVI-D

1 х HDMI

3 х DisplayPort

Support of HDCP and decoding of HD-video

Yes

Minimal power supply capacity, W

400

Additional power sockets PCIe

2 x 6-pin

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

257 х 114

(258 х 112)

Drivers

Drivers can be downloaded here:  GIGABYTE or  GPU

Producer website

GIGABYTE

Tested modification NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 compares favorably not only by proprietary cooling system and a modified set of video outputs, but also the presence of factory overclocking of the GPU from the standard 1126 to 1216 MHz. Also don’t forget about the technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, taking into account that the average graphics core is clocked at 1279 MHz instead of recommended 1178 MHz. But the video memory subsystem fully complies with the reference requirements: 2 GB of GDDR5 with 128-bit bus and the effective frequency of 7010 MHz.

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Video accelerator GIGABYTE GV-N960WF2OC-2GD is shipped in a compact and stylishly decorated cardboard box. The key information on the front side indicates about the support for the cooling system GIGABYTE WINDFORCE, as well belonging to the range of factory overclocked solutions («OC Version»).

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

The reverse side contains the description of the key benefits of GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC, namely:

  • Unique blade fan design - thanks to the unique shape of the fan blades turbulence is reduced and air flow more efficiently remove heat from the radiators;
  • Direct Heat Pipe Touch - cooler WINDFORCE has direct contact of heat pipes with a graphics core through a small layer of thermal paste, which contributes to more efficient heat dissipation;
  • 0dB Semi-Passive Fan - thanks to this technology the graphics card works totally silent at low loads, as fans go into standby mode and cooler operates in passive mode;
  • Flex Display - this technology allows to automatically detect the connected display, and easily organize simultaneous operation of up to four panels.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

A list of system requirements for the computer is also located on the back of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system should have a capacity of at least 400 W and maintain two 6-pin power cables PCIe.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In addition to brief user's guide the supply set of GIGABYTE GV-N960WF2OC-2GD has two power adapters. In general, such a set can be safely described as sufficient, because it will help to correctly organize the GPU's power in case of absence of required connectors.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

To display an image the novelty has slightly different set of interfaces from the standard:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The difference lies only in the presence of an additional port DVI-D, which will significantly simplify the connection of multiple monitors simultaneously.

The following resolutions are supported:

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

Design and circuitry

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Original black circuit board with a standard principle of on-board layout elements was used for the production of GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC. Applied circuitry corresponds to the concept Ultra Durable VGA, which means that it is collected exclusively from high quality components: Japanese solid capacitors, chokes with ferrite core and field-effect transistors with low on-resistance (RDS (on)). Also note that the copper layers in the PCB have twice the thickness, thus reducing the overall electrical resistance and provide a more effective heat removal.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Power supplying is realized via enhanced 8-phase scheme (six phases for the GPU and two for memory chips), while the standard version includes only five phases (four for the GPU and one for the video memory).

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

The power subsystem is implemented on digital PWM Controllers ON Semiconductor NCP81174 manufactured by ON Semiconductor. According to the documentation it is equipped with short circuit protection and is characterized by increased efficiency by supporting the power saving function (PSI). At the same time it supports a maximum of four phases of power.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In addition to slot PCI Express 3.0 x16, to provide power supply for tested graphics card, two 6-pin connectors are, while the standard version includes only one. They are on the side of the board. Due to their proper arrangemet the cooler does not inconvenience the disconnection of cables PCIe.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In order to provide the operation of technology NVIDIA SLI the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC uses one connector for the appropriate bridge. It allows to combine two graphics accelerators for joint calculation of graphical effects.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In addition to the fixing screws of the cooling system the reverse side of new item is notable for the above-mentioned PWM controller, electrical components and two of the four video memory chips.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

At the heart of the tested model is the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell), produced by 28-nm manufacturing technology. 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 video card has a factory overclocked graphics core with clock rate of 1216 and 1279 MHz for nominal and dynamic modes respectively.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

A total capacity of tested graphics card is 2 GB and it 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 equal to 7 GHz. The data exchange between the graphics processor and memory is realized through 128-bit bus, which is capable of passing information 112.2 GB per second.

Cooling system

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Proprietary cooling system WINDFORCE 2X, in addition to a very discreet design, differs by quite a reasonable size that allow easily install a novelty in the case of medium size. The video card with installed cooling system occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 258 mm (as measured in our lab).

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

The cooler comprises a radiator, assembled from 36 longitudinally extending aluminum nickel plates, and two fans with blades 88 mm in diameter, mounted on the plastic housing, which covers the entire structure above.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

The fans are presented by propellers Power Logic PLA09215S12H (12; 0.55 A, 6.6 W), which are built on the Sleeve Bearing, which promises low noise level during operation. The traditional disadvantage is a smaller bearing life compared with other types. However, the inscription «Long life bearing» indicates that the manufacturer has taken into account the time and took care of their longer term use.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

To improve the heat exchange efficiency three copper heat pipes diameter of 6 mm are applied. Unfortunately, they are not covered by a layer of nickel which prevents copper oxidation processes, which in the future could adversely affect the cooling efficiency. In this case the contact of heat pipes with copper base and fins of the radiator is improved by solder.

Also from this picture you can see the principle of the technology Direct Heat Pipe Touch, according to which the heat pipes are in contact with the graphics core directly via a small layer of thermal paste.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Separate low-profile heatsink is responsible for cooling the FETs of power system.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In case of automatic adjustment of fan blades speed under the maximum load, the graphics core was warmed to 67 degrees and coolerworked with the 34% of its maximum capacity. The noise level can be described as quiet.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

Under the maximum fan speed GPU temperature dropped to 49 degrees. Published with the noise exceeded the average level. He was not very comfortable for extended use.

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC (GV-N960WF2OC-2GD)

In case of absence of load the frequencies of the graphics core and memory were automatically reduced, resulting in lower power consumption and heat dissipation. In this mode cooler operates totally silent as fans are stopped and cooling system is converted to the passive mode.


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