ASUS Strix Edition GeForce GTX 960 Graphics Card Review

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by Rob Williams on January 22, 2015 in Graphics & Displays

NVIDIA’s much-anticipated mid-range 900 series card is here. It’s called the GeForce GTX 960 (no need to act surprised) and it brings a couple of surprises. As NVIDIA’s “sweet spot” GPU, the GTX 960 is designed to be an affordable option that lasts the long haul, so let’s see what the green team’s latest $199 option brings to the table.

Game Tests: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4

Given the sheer number of titles in the Assassin’s Creed series, it’s a little hard to believe that the first game came out a mere seven years ago. You could definitely say that Ubisoft hit the ball out of the park with this one. To date, we’ve never considered an AC game for benchmarking, but given the number of graphical goodies featured in the PC version of Black Flag, that trend now ends.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The saved game starts us not far from the beginning of the game under a small church which can be climbed to synchronize with the environment. To kick things off, I scale this church and rotate the camera around once, making sure to take in the beautiful landscape; then, I climb back down and run all the way to the water (the top of this small church and the water can be seen in the above screenshot).

Note: For some reason, Ubisoft decided to cap the framerate to 60 FPS in Black Flag even if Vsync is turned off. For most games, this would ruin the chance of it appearing in our benchmarking, but because the game is graphically intensive, I’ve chosen to stick with it, as at higher resolutions, reaching 60 FPS is a perk that will belong only to high-end graphics cards.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (1920x1080)

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (2560x1440)

At 1080p, an expensive graphics card just isn’t needed for this game, and some might even say that the same applies to 1440p. While the GTX 960 failed to exceed 50 FPS at that resolution, a quick disabling of a luxury feature, such as SSAO, could help push performance much closer to 60 FPS.

Battlefield 4

Thanks to the fact that DICE cares more about PC gaming than a lot of developers, the Battlefield series tends to give us titles that are well-worth benchmarking. Battlefield 3 offered incredible graphics and became a de facto benchmark immediately, so it’s no surprise, then, that BF4 follows right in its footsteps.

Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The Singapore level is the target here, with the saved game starting us on an airboat that must be driven to shore, where a massive battle is set to take place. I stop recording the framerate once the tank makes its way to the end of this small patch of beach; in all, the run takes about 3 minutes.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix - Battlefield 4 (1920x1080)

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 Strix - Battlefield 4 (2560x1440)

Battlefield 4 is a gorgeous game, and with the GTX 960, or at least ASUS’ overclocked version, it can nearly reach 60 FPS at maxed-out details, at 1080p resolution. Performance is maimed when moving up to 1440p, but as mentioned in the last test, that can be easily remedied with the turning off of some intensive features, like ambient occlusion and perhaps even antialiasing.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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