MSI’s GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 2G is the fourth card I’ve tested with Nvidia's GM206 GPU. Going into today's review, I already had a solid idea of what to expect. Each card performs somewhat differently, demonstrating strengths and weaknesses. But I knew I'd see good cooling performance. The heat sink on MSI’s interpretation is quite a bit larger than the previous GTX 960s I tested, and the temperatures of the competing cards aren't what I would consider high.
What I did not expect was such quiet fans. Without the use of any kind of instrument, I can tell you with certainty that, short of a passively-cooled card, I’ve never encountered a quieter thermal solution. Even at full speed, the fans are barely audible in a silent room. Additionally, the reported GPU temperature rarely exceeded the 65-degree threshold necessary to start them in the first place.
Overclocking performance on this sample was respectable, comparing well to the other cards we’ve tested. Clock speeds aren’t the fastest we’ve seen on a 960, but hardly anything to complain about.
There are only two issues that come to mind that may leave some customers displeased. For some reason, power draw was a fair bit higher than the previous three GTX 960s we tested. The impact isn't dramatic, but it's still enough to raise eyebrows. Second, there's the price tag. Of the four cards we've tested, MSI’s variant is $10 higher than the competition. This is not a difference that would break the bank, but when everything else is cheaper, it's hard to justify the costlier option.
Kevin Carbotte is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware, covering Graphics.