It’s been nearly a year since the first Maxwell-based product launched. Ever since then, enthusiasts shopping for $200-$300 graphics cards have anticipated their chance to enjoy the architecture's benefits. The wait is finally over, and Nvidia's board partners are fighting for your hard-earned dollars. EVGA went aggressive with the introduction of its GeForce GTX 960 SuperSuperClocked (abbreviated SSC) on the GM206 GPU's launch day.
While GTX 960 SSC might sound like a silly designation, don’t be fooled; this card sports serious specs. Boasting a factory base clock of 1279MHz and a rated GPU Boost frequency of 1342MHz, paired with 2GB of GDDR5 clocked at 7010 MT/s, EVGA’s GTX 960 SSC promises to be one of the quickest 960s available.
It's built on a 110mm-tall all-black PCB measuring 257mm in length. Those dimensions are somewhat longer than most of the cards in this price range, but still shorter than many competing cards. At 691 grams, this isn't the lightest card around. And it's far from the heaviest, too. You shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting EVGA's board into a majority of cases.
The thermal solution, as you can see, is EVGA’s dual-fan ACX cooler, which has been around for several iterations and continues receiving refinements. This new ACX 2.0+ version includes a MOSFET cooling plate and three 8mm straight heat pipes. EVGA claims these changes reduce temperatures by 11 and 5 °C to the MOSFET and GPU, respectively. The fans are also updated with swept blades, double ball bearings and lower-power motors. This is a combination that purportedly results in more air flow, better heat dissipation and less power draw. In addition, the fans only kick in at 60 °C, leaving the card passively cooled at idle.
If you have no need for silence and prefer to keep the fans running, there is a secondary BIOS that can be invoked with a toggle switch on the card's top edge, near the power plug. The second BIOS has a different fan profile called low RPM mode, which spins at all times.
EVGA put a lot of effort into the SSC's power delivery, implementing what it calls optimized power target technology to balance between heat, power and performance. The company claims it can use 33% more power than the reference GeForce GTX 960 design from Nvidia. To guarantee stable delivery, an eight-pin auxiliary connector is used rather than the usual six-pin connector.
On the back of the card, there are three DisplayPort interfaces, one DVI port and an HDMI output. Up to four outputs can be used at any given time, though bear in mind that this is a mainstream board best suited to gaming at 1920x1080.
The card comes in a hard plastic clamshell. There is a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a dual-six-pin-to-eight-pin power adapter, a poster, some stickers, an advertisement for EVGA power supplies, a marketing slip about the new fans, a warning page stating that the fans only turn on when needed, a quick install guide, a full user manual and a software disc. What else could you possibly need?