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MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 2G Review

MSI’s GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 2G has the largest cooler and biggest fans of the GTX 960 cards we’ve tested so far, but does it perform any better?

How We Tested

The evaluation today focuses on MSI’s GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 2G graphics card and its specific merits and shortcomings. Tests will be run on this card and a Zotac GTX 960 AMP! Edition with the same drivers and settings. Power draw and thermal numbers are compared against past GTX 960 reviews.

All of the tests we've run thus far on GM206 have employed Zotac's card clocked down to reference speeds. This time around, the MSI card is used for that test. One of the three presets from MSI specifies Nvidia's stock frequencies. Zotac’s offering is consequently benchmarked at its factory settings.

As always, thermal capabilities, power consumption and acoustic levels will be measured, and we’ll be teasing the maximum clock rates out of both the GPU and memory.

All tests were performed on the lab PC. Each one of our locations has a system with the exact same specifications to keep our tests normalized across the website. The current test rig has the following specs:

Test Bench Components

Software & Drivers

DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAll tests were performed using Nvidia 353.06 driver

Benchmark Suite

Battlefield 4Custom THG Benchmark, 100-sec Fraps, Ultra preset
Far Cry 4Version 1.9.0, Custom THG benchmark, 60-sec Fraps, Ultra preset
Grand Theft Auto VBuild 350, Online 1.26, In-game benchmark sequence #5, 110-sec Fraps, FXAA: On, MSAA: Off, Texture Quality: Normal, Shader Quality: Very High, Shadow Quality: High, Reflection Quality: Very High, Water Quality: High, Particles Quality: Very High, Grass Quality: High, Soft Shadows: Softer, Post FX: Very High, Anisotropic Filtering: 16x

Comparison Units

  • HideOut
    The price is for the best cooler in the field. Would be excelent in a higher end HTPC/gaming combo machine where silence or near silence would be nice.
    Reply
  • crisan_tiberiu
    I am a bit confused in the decision of Tom's, not to compare data with the red team. All i can see is the comparison of 4 identical chips.
    Reply
  • chimera201
    16254761 said:
    I am a bit confused in the decision of Tom's, not to compare data with the red team. All i can see is the comparison of 4 identical chips.

    Tom's is comparing the different brand offerings for GTX 960 - that is what everybody wants right? You will find comparison with other cards in the reference card review (they didn't get the reference card though)
    Reply
  • bigpinkdragon286
    AMD doesn't have new cards to compare the GTX 960 to. The only segment this card is competitive in is power consumption, otherwise beaten by 4 year old cards.
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    It looks exactly like the MSI Radeon R9 380 Gaming 2GB ...

    Near identical acoustic performance, too.



    Reply
  • Covaylent
    "In the graph, MSI’s card is listed at 34 degrees."
    Did you mean decibels?

    Also, there was no mention of the HDMI version included with this card. For clarity, is this HDMI 2.0?

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • CompuTronix
    Precise overclocking frequency is not specified. Only +150 is mentioned.

    Reference +150?
    Gaming Mode +150?

    +150 = what frequency?
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    I am a bit confused in the decision of Tom's, not to compare data with the red team. All i can see is the comparison of 4 identical chips.

    This came down to availability of cards, and timeframe. I only had this card in hand for 4 days to do the testing. I'm fairly new to Tom's (having started in January) and had not yet reviewed any AMD cards. As such, I did not have any on hand.

    It should be noted that this review has been in the queue for a while now but was delayed to make room for the 980ti, Fury X and Fury releases.
    It looks exactly like the MSI Radeon R9 380 Gaming 2GB ...

    Near identical acoustic performance, too.



    The tests were all done in May, long before AMD released the R9 380 to compare it against. MSI uses the same fans and near identical cooler, so the accoustic performance should be on par.



    Precise overclocking frequency is not specified. Only +150 is mentioned.

    Reference +150?
    Gaming Mode +150?

    +150 = what frequency?

    My apologies, it wasn't meant to be confusing.

    The overclocking was done from the base Gaming Mode clock speed.
    "Gaming Mode is the default setting; its GPU clock setting is 1190MHz, while GPU Boost is increased to 1253MHz"

    1190 + 150 = overclocked speed of 1240Mhz.

    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    1340Mhz - stupid type
    Reply
  • macer1
    Nice article, but the Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 is the clear champion of the GTX 960's.
    Reply