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MSI GTX 960 Gaming GPU, The Sweet Spot

Performance and Overclocking

It’s best to talk expectations on lower tier enthusiast upper tier mainstream GPU’s.before getting into the test results portion. I mentioned it earlier the MSI GTX 960 is a card in the $200 – 240 dollar range and has about half the hardware of a GTX 980 or for that matter a 970 and shouldn’t be held to those standards. The much narrower memory bus will keep the 960 class cards from competing with their big brothers. What I decided to do since this is a replacement card for the GTX 760 and older cards is to first test against a 560ti and a 660ti then up the ante and test against a PowerColor R9 285 and a 760 that way you get a look at what you get replacing an older card and what you see replacing a newer card.

Test Rig

My thanks to the good folks over at Kingston for hot shotting me a 16GB kit of HyperX Predator to replace a set of bad (non Kingston) ram.

Test Rig
Case Corsair Obsidian Series 800D
CPUs Intel Core i7-5930k 22nm Haswell E 3.5GHz
Motherboards GIGABYTE GA-X99-UD4
Ram Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 3000 16GB CL 15
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15
Hard Drives NA
SSD 2x Corsair P128 in Raid 0
Optical ASUS DVD-Burner
GPU MSI GTX 960 Gamer 2G
PSU 1700W Silverstone
Mouse Logitec M750 Trackball and Razer Naga
Keyboard Razer Anansi

I did a fresh load of the Windows 8.1 operating system, completely updated it from windows update. I do a no external driver load of Windows, no GPU, fancy mouse, or for that matter any driver other than for the Motherboard. I then clone the drive using Acronis keeping a clean copy for the next GPU or in case of catastrophic drive failure. Each GPU gets a clean install and clean drivers with no previous installs that way. I run each test 5 times and take an average of those 5 runs, if one run should be an anomaly  (obviously out of the expected range as set by the other 4 runs) I rerun the test and throw out the problematic run.  Benchmarks with built in auto benching I run normally, Games with Fraps I go to a heavily enemy infested area pause kick in a Macro creator run the enemy infested area then stop Fraps then stop the Macro creator. The macro creator is then used in every Fraps run to run the same exact pattern 4 more times. Every game has a save point, every game uses a custom Macro to recreate the 5 runs ensuring from game to game and GPU to GPU the runs are exactly the same run.

Review Overview

Value - 9
Performance - 8.5
Quality - 9
Features - 9
Innovation - 9


The MSI GTX 960 Gamer G2 performed well at it's price point, sipped at power, the fans shut down at an idle and it packs in all the technology of a true Maxwell core.

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