Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 graphics card is being launched today. This mid-tier card is designed for users who want quality at an affordable price. Similar to the GTX 970, 980, and 750, the new 960 graphics card is based on Maxwell architecture, which is considered to be relatively young.
Using a 28-nanometer lithographic process, the GTX 960 is built on the all-new GM206 GPU. Within the GPU are 32 ROPs, 1024 CUDA cores, 64 TMUs, and a 128-bit memory interface that addresses memory 2GB of memory for GDDR5. Pumping out a bandwidth of 112.2 gigabytes per second, the new GTX 960 card has an effective speed of 7010 MHz. In addition, the GPU has a base frequency of 1125 MHz although using the GPU Boost 2.0 from Nvidia it will boost up to 1178 MHz whenever there is availability of thermal headroom.
Although the memory bus is somewhat narrow, with the Maxwell architecture as proven with the GTX 970 and 980, the GeForce GTX 960 is capable of doing more while depending on fewer resources. In addition, this graphics card has a 120 W TDP, allowing for power to be pulled whenever needed from a single 6-pin PCI-Express or PCI Express slot power connector.
Because the Maxwell architecture is so efficient, Nvidia’s board has the ability to choose switching off the fans when under a low load or idling. Not only does this cut down on noise levels associated with idling but it also cuts down on the buildup of dust within the card itself. As stated by Nvidia, on the very day the GeForce GTX 960 launch was announced it came out that this same feature is being offered by Gigabyte, Asus, and Gainward, with more coming.
Another claim made by Nvidia is that the GTX 960 card is made for overclocking. As such, cards can be overclocked to speeds near or over 1500 MHZ without a lot of effort. This efficient design is in part because 1450 MHz was achieved without voltage settings or the fan being modified. For this reason, cards launched at a later date are expected to perform even better.
The main reason for developing the GeForce GTX 960 is to address what is referred to as the “sweet spot” within the GPU market. In this market, it is possible to get significant performance at a fair price. While the GTX 970 was a huge success, the new GTX 960 is expected to be far better, in part because it provides full HD performance.