Skip to main content

Asus GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition Review

With Asus' celebrated DirectCU II cooling, an attractive price tag and Nvidia's GM206 GPU, the GeForce GTX 960 Strix OC Edition has all the makings of a winner.

Product 360

Asus has been using the Strix moniker on its top cards for a while now. The company started with the GTX 780 and R9 280, and continues with the latest Maxwell-based GPUs. Each of the cards in this line shares a common design based on the name. Strix is a Greek word meaning owl, and the designers took that as inspiration these cards' aesthetics.

The front of the cooling solution distinctly resembles the face of an owl. The fans are clearly used to represent eyes, and the way the shroud pinches at the top between them looks an awful lot like a forehead and nose. Even the sticker on the center cap of each fan is drawn in a way that makes it look like the glowing rings of an owl's eyes while it spins.

As has become typical of Asus cards, the GTX 960 Strix OC includes a black back plate. It covers the entire PCB. However, the heat sink itself is actually quite a bit longer than the PCB and back plate. It sticks out more than an inch in the rear.

Not to worry though, even with the extended heat sink, the card is quite short, measuring a scant 215mm long. It is a little taller than a standard expansion card though, at 121mm tall. Width is typical of a dual-slot card (41mm).

Using the company’s exclusive DirectCU II cooling solution, this card has four 10mm copper heat pipes surrounded by aluminum fins connected directly to an oversized copper contact plate. Asus claims the surface is 220% larger than reference designs, which should result in significantly lower temperatures. Even with all this added copper, the total weight of the card is only 600g.

Nvidia’s reference design for the GTX 960 calls for a single six-pin power connector. Given the GTX 960 Strix OC's overclocked nature, it is somewhat surprising to see that the company stuck with this guidance. Perhaps that's due to the Super Alloy Power components, purportedly made from specially formulated alloy and claimed to reduce power loss.

Display outputs follow the recent trend of including three DisplayPort, one DVI and one HDMI. This configuration is more compatible with newer monitors, but could be troublesome if you own a lot of older screens.

The package doesn’t include a lot of extras. You get the card itself, which is tightly held in form-fitting soft foam. There’s a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a driver disc, a quick-start manual, as well as a case badge and Strix decal.

The driver disc includes Asus APRP 1.0.0.26, Asus GPU Tweak Streaming 1.0.3, GeForce Experience, Google Chrome and Google Toolbar.

  • TechyInAZ
    Very good card by asus, temps are great, size and weight are also surprisingly good for a card like this.

    However, the only thing I personally don't like is the looks. I never really liked Asus's cooler designs, I prefer the ACX cooler or Windforce coolers. However this is only a personal preference.

    BTW...OP, you put the wrong card on the amazon price list. I think that's the Zotac 960, not the Asus 960.
    Reply
  • ldun
    So what's better (performance and value wise); 2 of these SLI or a 970 (or even a 980 might be fun to compare)
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    So what's better (performance and value wise); 2 of these SLI or a 970 (or even a 980 might be fun to compare)

    Since this is only the 2GB version, the gtx 970 will run circles around 2 gtx 960s. Nearly every new game will fill that 2GB frame buffer quickly.
    Reply
  • mlga91
    A little typo in the 1st paragraph of the 7th section, "When it comes to overclocking, you(r) never know what you’re going to get.".

    Looks like a great card, the cooler alone gives a great value for those extra $10, thought an optional second power connector would've been a nice addition, it never hurts to have more available power when it comes to overclocking.
    Reply
  • panathas
    In your GTX 960 review article you wrote about the asus strix gtx 960 that it produced some power spikes in the motherboard slot. Specifically you wrote " the otherwise very good Asus GTX 960 Strix leaves the motherboard connector to deal with unprecedented unfiltered power spikes all on its own.The very frequent spikes beyond the motherboard slot’s supposed limit won’t cause immediate damage to the hardware, but there might well be long-term repercussions that are hard to judge now. The same goes for how the system might otherwise be impacted with problems such as “chirping” on-board sound when the mouse is moved. The Asus GTX 960 Strix should do a much better job smoothing these spikes out.

    Did you test this specific card to see if it still has the same behaviour and if this problem affects the entire asus gtx 960 strix line. I am asking because I was interested in buying this card until I read the above article where you reported this abnormal behaviour. I think you should further investigate this.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    15932532 said:
    So what's better (performance and value wise); 2 of these SLI or a 970 (or even a 980 might be fun to compare)
    A single card is usually the better option. It's simpler, less headaches worrying about SLI/CFX profiles, etc. Dual GPUs start making sense when you're driving a LOT of pixels, like triple 1080 displays or 4K. But for a single display, even up to 1440 in some cases, get the single strongest card you can reasonably afford.
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    The 960sli is an interesting idea, I wondered the same thing when I saw the 4gb 960 strix locally (New Zealand) for half the price of a 980 4gb strix. So for the same price or less you get twice the vram and it actually still works out lower wattage. Only down side I can see is sli support might not always be amazing.
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    Oh, and 960 has a newer version on open gl than 980, also 960 has a native hvec decorder that 980 doesn't. Can't remember where I read that, but suprised info like that doesn't make it's way to toms.
    Reply
  • skit75
    @OP

    Any speculation as to why the EVGA ACX 2.0 cooler has a lower unloaded temperature? It seems the DirectCU II cooler performs better at load and I would have thought this ratio would be more proportional on the unloaded test.
    Reply
  • PaulBags
    15934508 said:
    @OP

    Any speculation as to why the EVGA ACX 2.0 cooler has a lower unloaded temperature? It seems the DirectCU II cooler performs better at load and I would have thought this ratio would be more proportional on the unloaded test.
    It's not mentioned the article but strix has 0db at idle, no fans.
    Reply