MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4GB

 

Introduction

Micro-Star International Co., Ltd or MSI is a Taiwanese multinational information technology corporation founded in 1986, headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan. It designs, develops and provides computer hardware, related products and services, including laptops, motherboards, graphics cards, All-in-One PCs, servers, industrial computers, PC peripherals, car infotainment products, and so on.

Official product link:

https://www.msi.com/Graphics-card/GTX-960-GAMING-4G.html#hero-overview

 

Packaging and accessories

The MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model comes packaged in a box with a black background and red accents.
On the front side of the box is printed the MSI Dragon, the symbol of the Gaming line, here we also find the manufacturer and product name and some features of the graphics card.

 

The back of the box presents in detail the product and enumerates the specifications & features of the motherboard.

 

On the sides of the box we find printed the model of the graphics card and the name & logo of the manufacturer.

 

Accessories

The product comes with the following accessories:
– 1x Manual
– 1x Quick set-up guide
– 1x Driver CD
– 1x 8-pin Power Cable
– 1x DVI to VGA Dongle

 

Specifications

Name: MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 4GB
Model: GTX 960
Graphics Processing Unit: GM206
Interface: PCI Express x16 3.0
Boost / Base Core Clock:
– 1304 MHz / 1241 MHz (OC Mode)
– 1279 MHz / 1216 MHz (Gaming Mode)
– 1178 MHz / 1127 MHz (Silent Mode)
Memory Size (MB): 4096
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Interface: 128 bits
Memory Clock Speed (MHz): 7010
DVI Connectors: 1 (Dual-link DVI-I), Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600 @60 Hz.
HDMI Connectors: 1 (version 1.4a/2.0) Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @24 Hz (1.4a), 3840×2160 @60 Hz (2.0)
DisplayPort: 3 (version 1.2) Max Resolution: 4096×2160 @60 Hz
Maximum Displays: 4
HDCP Support: Y
RAMDAC speed (MHz): 400
DirectX Version Support: 12
OpenGL Version Support: 4.4
Multi-GPU Technology: SLI, 2-way
Card Dimension (mm): 267 x 139 x 40
Card Weight (g): 833
Power consumption (W): 120
Recommended PSU (W): 400
Power Connectors: 1x 8-pin
Accessories: 1x 8-pin Power Cable, 1x DVI to VGA Dongle

Features:

– Twin Frozr V – Cooler, Quieter, Better GAMING: The new Twin Frozr V is smaller, features stronger fans, generates less noise, keeps your graphics card and its components cooler and matches perfectly with your MSI GAMING motherboard including some funky LED lighting.
– TORX Fan Technology: Traditionanl Fan Blade Maximizes downwards airflow and air dispersion to the massive heat sink below them. The Dispersion Fan Blade intakes more airflow to maximize air dissipation to heatsink.
– SuperSU PIPE – Enhanced dissipation efficiency: The GPU is cooled by a massive nickel-plated copper base plate connected to Super Pipes (8mm heat pipes) on the MSI GAMING series graphics card. Additionally, the new heat pipe layout increases efficiency by reducing the length of unused heat pipe and a special SU-form design.
– Zero Frozr – Smart cooling, stay quiet: ZeroFrozr technology eliminates fan noise in low-load situations by stopping the fans when they are not needed.
– Military Class components: MSI only uses MIL-STD-810G certified components for its Gaming cards because only these components have proven to be able to withstand the torturous circumstances of extreme gaming and overclocking.

 

Visual inspection

The MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model uses the new Twin Frozr V cooling sistem which maintains the Gaming line red-black colour scheme.

 

The Twin Frozr V cooling system features three different size heatpipes: the main heatpipe(SuperSU) has a diameter of 8mm while the other two heatpipes have a diameter of 6mm, also the 3 heatpipes are made out of nickel-plated copper.

 

The airflow is ensured by the two 100mm Torx fans, each fan using 14 blades with different shape and sizes.

 

On the side we find both the manufacturer logo and the MSI Dragon, the symbol of the Gaming line.

 

The back of the graphics card is covered by a matte black backplate. On the right side the backplate is perforated using a honeycomb pattern.
On the left side we find the MSI dragon which has a glossy texture in contrast with the rest of the backplate that has a matte finish.

 

The MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model uses a 8-pin PCI-Express power connector, it is positioned on the right corner of the graphics card.

 

The SLI connector (Two Way SLI) is positioned in the opposite side of the power connector.

 

On the rear of the graphic card we find the following ports:
– 1x DVI
– 1x HDMI
– 3x Display Port 1.2

 

Testing

The following system was used to test the graphics card:
– Processor: Intel i5 4690K @ 3.9 GHz
– Motherboard: MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK
– RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical
– SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120GB
– HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB
– PSU: Seasonic M12II-520 EVO Edition Bronze 520W
– Display: AOC i2769VM
– Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe White
– OS: Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1

 

To test the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model, the GeForce 353.62 WHQL driver was used, being the latest Nvidia driver available at the time of writing the review.

All the games used to test the graphics cards are set to their highest quality settings with the resolution 1920 x 1080. Both the games and benchmarks used were run three times.
The software used to measure the temperature and frames per second (FPS) are the following:
– AIDA64 Extreme V5.30.3500
– GPU-Z.0.8.5
– MSI Afterburner 4.1.1

The overclocking has been done using the default fan settings.
Each graphic card overclocks differently, thus the results obtained in the review can differ.

In the case of the MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model, it achieved a maximum overclock of 1400MHz Base Clock and 1973MHz Memory.

 

 

The test results are as follows:

Unigine Valley Benchmark 1.0

 

Grand Theft Auto V

 

Tomb Raider 2013

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

 

Battlefield 3

 

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

 

Temp. Performance

 

The noise level was measured at three different distances from the fans (10cm, 20cm, 30cm.) the noise was measured with a margin of error of ± 5 db.

Sound Performance: idle

Sound Performance: full load

 

Final thoughts

The MSI GTX 960 Gaming 4 GB model is a good choice for anyone looking for a graphics card capable to run the newest games at maximum settings while having an affordable price. The Twin Frozr V cooling system maintains the graphics card cool and quiet, the two fans are turned off when the system is in idle and spin up only when the graphics card is used intensively.
In addition to the bigger 4GB video memory, this model is equipped with a backplate which adds extra rigidity and style to the graphic card.

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