EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSuperClocked Review

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?

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  • damric
    You don't have to use newegg.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card ($164.99 @ Micro Center)
    Total: $164.99
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-03-19 03:43 EDT-0400

    Who uses Passmark to test graphics cards?

    Now try running Fires Strike Ultra and watch the GTX 960 fall to its knees.
  • Other Comments
  • damric
    Worth every penny except that it is slower and more expensive than the R9 280.

    http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3790264
  • Derek Furst
    Quote:
    Worth every penny except that it is slower and more expensive than the R9 280.

    http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3790264
    intel hd4000 is better than a gtx 980. See, i can say things that aren't true as well. Not only is the 960 the SAME price on newegg, it comes with the witcher 3 (a 60 dollar game i was going to buy already) and on passmark, the r9 280 only scored like a 4100 something while the 960 scores 5980.
  • Grognak
    2GB for a 1080p card... That's not acceptable anymore.
  • damric
    You don't have to use newegg.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    Video Card: XFX Radeon R9 280 3GB Double Dissipation Video Card ($164.99 @ Micro Center)
    Total: $164.99
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-03-19 03:43 EDT-0400

    Who uses Passmark to test graphics cards?

    Now try running Fires Strike Ultra and watch the GTX 960 fall to its knees.
  • damric
    I question the mental capacity of anyone who would spend $210 on a card with such a narrow memory bus.
  • Koushik Majumder
    2Gb is not acceptable anymore at 1080p
  • caj
    the 280 will finish this hands down. also the 128 bit highly cripples the possbility of sli. it would have been considered mayb it it had a bandwith of 256bit.


    www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Radeon-PCI-Express-Graphics-11230-00-20G/dp/B00IZXOW80/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426752176&sr=8-1&keywords=280

    I've removed the other two copies of this post - SS
  • MasterDell
    Really sad to see Nvidia put 2GB on and such a small bus :"(

    If 3GB I would have been pretty impressed but that is not the case..

    660 is 2GB, 760 is 2GB, 960 is 2GB and so was the 860M if that counts.. So Nvidia, maybe time for a change so that AMD doesn't slap you in the mid-ranged GPU area like this did in the 7** series. Most of the consumers will want to buy those $180-$250 cards and when they come to us and ask us what to get we would have obviously said the 270-280x (depending on their budget) Nothing that Nvidia had to offer could come close because their prices were so high. I have never suggested that anyone should buy a 760. But now the 960 is an option but due to that extra VRAM the 280 has, I will still suggest it.
  • Nuckles_56
    Your test system is interesting with the 3 gtx 980's used for testing :p

    Asus Matrix Platinum GeForce GTX 980
    1241MHz GPU, 4GB GDDR5 at 1753MHz (7009MT/s)

    Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega Edition
    1203MHz GPU, 4GB GDDR5 at 1762MHz (7048MT/s)

    Reference GeForce GTX 980
    1126MHz GPU, 2GB GDDR5 at 1750MHz (7000MT/s)
  • sonny1973n10
    "Worth every penny"

    Yeah right! Who would spend $210 for a 128-bit?
    The 384-bit R9 280 is cheaper, performs better and has more room for OCing.
  • Memnarchon
    Anonymous said:
    Worth every penny except that it is slower and more expensive than the R9 280.

    http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3790264

    While I disagree that R9 280 is faster, since the Tom's Hardware Index 1080p, shows GTX960 as faster and the factory models even more faster (to HD7970 and GTX680 levels), you said something that it should be sticky to every PC hardware site:
    Anonymous said:

    Who uses Passmark to test graphics cards?

    Noone should use these incredible misleading sites like Passmark (for CPUs or GPUs), GPUBoss and CPUBoss.
    Especially for gaming. I remember Passmark showing GTX670 faster than GTX690...
  • ykki
    Anonymous said:
    the 280 will finish this hands down. also the 128 bit highly cripples the possbility of sli. it would have been considered mayb it it had a bandwith of 256bit.


    www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Radeon-PCI-Express-Graphics-11230-00-20G/dp/B00IZXOW80/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426752176&sr=8-1&keywords=280

    I've removed the other two copies of this post - SS


    Not to mention sometimes the pricing of the 960's breathe down the better 280x's.
  • jbc029
    Quote:
    Anonymous said:
    Worth every penny except that it is slower and more expensive than the R9 280.

    http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3790264

    While I disagree that R9 280 is faster, since the Tom's Hardware Index 1080p, shows GTX960 as faster and the factory models even more faster (to HD7970 and GTX680 levels), you said something that it should be sticky to every PC hardware site:
    Anonymous said:

    Who uses Passmark to test graphics cards?

    Noone should use these incredible misleading sites like Passmark (for CPUs or GPUs), GPUBoss and CPUBoss.
    Especially for gaming. I remember Passmark showing GTX670 faster than GTX690...


    And you should also realize that the particular part that you're referencing in the Hardware Index was the overall performance of the 7970 reference card with no overclock at all *when it was released 3 years ago*. It does not reflect 7970 performance today, after years of driver optimizations. This particularly high overclock on a 960 can *almost* perform like a 280X that costs $30 more and has no overclock at all.
  • NinjaNerd56
    Own this card, love this card.
  • ohim
    Almost 70°C.. and they call AMD cards hot.. i game at 73-75°C with OC 290 Vapor-X....
  • ohim
    Quote:
    Anonymous said:
    Worth every penny except that it is slower and more expensive than the R9 280.

    http://www.3dmark.com/fs/3790264

    While I disagree that R9 280 is faster, since the Tom's Hardware Index 1080p, shows GTX960 as faster and the factory models even more faster (to HD7970 and GTX680 levels), you said something that it should be sticky to every PC hardware site:
    Anonymous said:

    Who uses Passmark to test graphics cards?

    Noone should use these incredible misleading sites like Passmark (for CPUs or GPUs), GPUBoss and CPUBoss.
    Especially for gaming. I remember Passmark showing GTX670 faster than GTX690...

    You do realise that that is an index not a direct benchmark
  • TechyInAZ
    Nice card! Is this the one with 4GB? if not I hope you make a review on that one.
  • Khaosix
    Attention all 960 Haters. Toss all of the specs aside. Look at real benchmarks and tell me how the 960 is not better than the 280? REAL GAME BENCHMARKS. Not synthetic benchmarks that are meant to stress the video card to the max limit. And how are people saying that the 960 is garbage in SLI because of the 128bit? Go check some 960 SLI($420) benchmarks and watch it outperform the GTX 980($550). And how about power consumption? Go read up on some 280 power consumption and tell me if you can drop the 280 into a machine without considering a PSU upgrade. In the end, this comment will be ignored and people will persist spouting garbage. haters gonna hate.
  • Winterblade7
    Where are the REAL GAME BENCHMARKS in this review?? will have to wait for Anantech to do the real indepth review as always :P
  • Khaosix
    Quote:
    Where are the REAL GAME BENCHMARKS in this review?? will have to wait for Anantech to do the real indepth review as always :P


    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/EVGA/GTX_960_SSC_ACX_Cooler/