Once in a great while you find a product that the vendor got right on the first try. It clicks a check mark in every requirement box you’ve built up in a 30 year-long journey to kick the computer habit. Of course we will never kick the habit, we wouldn’t even want to try. We are pleased, amazed, and stunned to introduce the Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming. It’s big, it’s bad, it’s got three fans attached to a huge cooler, and is under heavy guard, so don’t even think about it.
The Gigabyte GTX 960 is based on a 28nm process and based on the GM204 GPU core. It is however, a core variant and bares the core designation GM206 with a 228m2 die. The core contains 2.94 billion transistors and 1024 shaders, with 54 TMUs and 32 ROPs. Sporting 2GB of GDDR5 with a 128-bit memory bus, the memory bandwidth tops out at 129 GB/s. Both the GM204 and GM206 are true Maxwell class GPU cores and contain all the good features Maxwell has to offer.
Overclocked at the factory, the core on the Gigabyte GTX 960 Gaming G1 has a base core clock of 1295MHz with a boost clock of 1359MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at 2025MHz and its Maxwell core supports DX12, Shader Model 5.0, Open GL 4.5 and Open CL 1.2.
In short, the Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming packs more technology into its $204.99 price tag than any sane person has a right to expect. OK, lets get past the belly moaning and get it over with. Yes take a GTX 980 and cut all its equipment in half and you have a GTX 960. However, some will argue the 128-bit bus is too narrow. You have the option to go pick up a $400 GTX 970, so save the moaning and groaning. We have had our hands on a few of the GTX 960s, and if we are happy with the value and performance they represent, you should be to. There are points we agree with, mostly the memory bus at 128-bit. 192-bit would have had us dancing naked in the street. Don’t put a modified GTX 960 (965) out of the picture, as Nvidia is very responsive to their end users. Until then, the GTX 960 has run every game we’ve thrown at it and it’s a good product. A good product that Gigabyte has made even better.
Gigabyte is one of the first Nvidia AIC (Add in card) partners to put out a modified GTX 960, and they have stretched the card out to a full 11.61 inches. They also managed to fit three Windforce fans on top of the custom-designed PCB, along with a tricked out heat sink. The Windforce 3x cooling system is maxed out with three specially-bladed fans and pure copper, direct contact heat pipes. By direct contact Gigabyte means the copper heat pipes directly touch the GPU core and increase the rate of heat dissipation.
|Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 960||GeForce GTX 960||GeForce GTX 760|
|Chip||GM206-300-A1 Maxwell||GM206-300-A1 Maxwell||GK104 Kepler|
|Process||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm|
|Transistors||2.94 billion||2.94 billion||3.54 billion|
|GPU clock||1241 MHz||1126 MHz||960 MHz|
|GPU Boost clock||1392 MHz||1178 MHz||1033 MHz|
|Memory GDDR5||2048 MB||2048 MB||2048 MB|
|Memory clock||1703 (7012) MHz||1750 (7010) MHz||1500 (6000) MHz|
|Memory interface||128 Bit||128 Bit||256 Bit|
|Memory bandwidth||112,200 MB/s||112,160 MB/s||192.200 MB/s|
|TDP||160 Watt||120 Watt||170 Watt|
|Cooler||WindForce 3X 300W||NVIDIA Reference||NVIDIA Reference|
Lets take a quick peek at CPU-Z just to make sure they didn’t sneak in any extra hardware.
Well shucky darn, they didn’t sneak in an extra 64 bits of bus, but the GPU-Z shot shows us the card is at advertised specifications.