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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?

Gaming

The GeForce GTX 960 is often criticized for its 128-bit memory bus and 2GB frame buffer, which is seen as insufficient for gaming in 2015. This card was designed for 1920x1080 though, so we'll have to see if FHD's demands really tax GM206's back-end.

The EVGA card is currently at one of our other labs, but we were able to compare the Asus and Zotac cards to MSI’s offering. Unfortunately, due to a lack of time with this sample, only a small selection of our benchmark suite could be run.

In Battlefield 4, the Ultra preset was no problem for each of these cards, showing that Nvidia's GM206 is perfectly capable of running this popular game at 1080p. The custom overclock we specified showed no appreciable improvement over the card's default clock rates.

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the hottest games out right now. While its settings are nowhere near topped-out in this benchmark, quality is still very good and the frame rate is perfectly smooth across our field. The 960 is certainly capable of playing this game at 1920x1080.

Also, overclocking has a noticeable effect on performance, adding an average of eight FPS.

  • 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