We’re not surprised by the performance and package that Gigabyte has put together with this new card. The reference design doesn’t offer significant performance improvements, but Gigabyte’s aggressive overclock changes the equation, packing some great mid-range horsepower in a 28nm format.
We also see Nvidia continue the evolutionary journey in features such as GPU Boost, smartly focusing more on temperatures than power envelope. All but the most diehard overclockers out there will appreciate this approach, as lower temperatures and noise levels are the key to most gaming rigs, not benching stations. And on that note, the Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming does run very cool and quiet, showing the Windforce cooler is indeed a force to be reckoned with for the other Nvidia partners in the market.
The only real downside here is that this cooler is quite large (and long) for those who may have cramped mid- or mini-tower cases. That said, the card is sleek, well designed, and impressive. Factor in a multitude of output ports, and we’ve got something special here for gamers on a modest budget in the $200-ish range.
We’ve seen GTX 960 models for around $199, and this Gigabyte G1 Gaming model is $210, which is still less than much of the competitors’ models. We typically see cards with custom coolers and factory overclocks costing a bit of a premium, so this extra $10 is a worthwhile value for what is an excellent mid-range graphics card.
The true competitor, at least in terms of performance, to the GTX 960 might be considered the AMD R9 285, which is about $30 more expensive. In terms of equal pricing, the AMD R9 280 would be considered the natural competitor, which this Gigabyte GTX 960 would have no problems beating. Regardless on how you slice things, the GTX 960 sits very well in the graphics card mix at this competitive echelon.
Keep in mind that framerates only tell part of the story, as the very low temperatures, low noise, and innovative features here are just too good to pass up. Unless you’re an AMD fanboy or are looking to save a few bucks, the GTX 960 is clearly the better option.
Gigabyte has an excellent card in the GTX 960 G1 Gaming, showcasing a compelling combination of strong mid-range gaming performance, an aggressive factory overclock, great cooling, and low noise levels. It should absolutely be on your purchase shortlist if you’re in the market for a new gaming card in the $200 range.
Gigabyte GTX 960 G1 Gaming