FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

FreshTech Solutions is one of the leading system integrators in the UK and forged an impressive reputation for their huge range of pre-configured PCs. Whether you’re on a tight budget looking to try out PC gaming for the first time, or a content creator seeking the absolute best performance, there’s something to suit your requirements. Each PC is backed by generous warranty period and it’s even possible to purchase additional cover for further peace-of-mind. For example, on systems costing £1000 and above, you can increase the warranty length from 3 years to 5 years for £25. If you’re opting for a cheaper rig under the £1000 mark, then it’s possible to select three years cover for £25 and five years support at a cost of £50. This level of flexibility allows you to protect your investment for a period which you expect to use the system for.

When selecting a custom PC, the number of configurations and pricing variation means it’s extraordinarily difficult for novices to judge which model to go for. It’s not always a sensible approach to spend more if you’re unlikely to reap the benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of custom PCs from FreshTech Solutions that we are happy to recommend at various price points. Hopefully, our readers will find this useful and those without technical knowledge can make an informed decision about which unit suits their usage scenario.


£529.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6400
  • 8gb Crucial DDR4 2133MHz
  • 120gb Kingston V300 SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • Nvidia GTX 950 2GB
  • Gigabyte H110M-S2H
  • Falcon Blue Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour)

The first machine we’re taking a look at targets consumers on a very tight budget who want to enter into the Intel ecosystem. While you could compile a cheaper build using an AMD CPU and AM3+ motherboard, it doesn’t offer much headroom in the future if you suddenly demand additional horsepower. The majority of games are GPU bound but there’s some examples including ARMA III and more recently, Black Desert Online which rely heavily on a system’s CPU performance. This particular build features a large enough capacity boot SSD to install the operating system and enjoy a snappier feel in Windows.

Also, the GTX 950 2GB graphics card is a great choice for 1080P gaming providing you turn down a few settings. On another note, the lack of overclocking isn’t an issue at this price and won’t impact on the user experience during graphically intensive games. Ideally, I’d recommend paying extra for the next tier, but this is a great choice for beginners moving away from consoles for the very first time.


£699.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Blue Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next system which retails for £699.00 offers overclocking functionality due to the unlocked K processor and Z170 chipset. Furthermore, the Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 contains an illuminated LED strip on the PCB to create a more ostentatious appearance. This higher end model includes the GTX 960 2GB GPU to maintain improved frame-rates at higher settings. It’s a significant boost over the GTX 950 and worth considering given the constant influx of modern titles requiring additional graphical grunt. Of course, it’ s still a budget option and pales in comparison to higher end graphics cards, but it should provide an enjoyable user-experience with a 1920×1080 display. Also, the boot SSD’s higher capacity allows you to store your favourites games and benefit from faster load times.


£899.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD 1TB WD10EZEX HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair CX600 80Plus Bronze PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Red Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next tier’s system costs £899.99 and has a number of key improvements including a secondary mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM and GTX 970 graphics card. When discussing the previous systems it’s important to remember that I’d recommend adding a mechanical drive to store large sums of data. This allows you to easily install various games while ensuring the boot SSD doesn’t fill up rather quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t increase the asking price by an exponential amount. On another note, the 16GB memory is useful when working with video, photo editing and other complex workloads. It’s not really necessary in games just yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if 16GB becomes the standard in the next few years.

NVIDIA’s GTX 970 offers absolutely stunning performance even with a 2560×1440 monitor and can exceed 60 frames-per-second in various titles including the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. It’s unquestionably one of the best price to performance GPUs on the market and a suitable choice for a powerful gaming system.


£1049.00

 

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K Tested Overclock to 4.6GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Falcon Gaming Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Moving towards the higher end market is a system which retails for £1049.00. This model contains a higher wattage power supply and Corsair water cooling unit to attain better temperatures. Furthermore, FreshTech Solutions guarantees the system will reach 4.6GHz and tests each overclock extremely carefully. This will be incredibly useful to consumers who feel apprehensive about overclocking their CPU and haven’t got any experience in this field. They really shouldn’t be concerned because the process is ridiculous simple. However, whenever anything goes awry, it’s important to have an excellent level of after-care support.


£1599.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i7 6700K Tested Overclock to 4.5GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

The £1599.00 system swaps out the i5 6600K for Intel’s enthusiast flagship i7-6700K on the LGA1151 chipset. Once again, FreshTech Solutions guarantees an impressive minimum overclock to reach significant gains compared to stock values. Also, the 500GB SSD is a great addition which allows you to install various applications without constantly checking on the remaining capacity. The system is housed in the highly regard Fractal Design R5 chassis which creates a more premium feel. Clearly, the main improvement revolves around the GTX 980Ti and is a major step up when compared to the GTX 970.

Even though the GPU isn’t capable of running games at maximum details on a 4K display, it’s able to really reach high figures on a 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 monitor. If you want to improve the performance even further, it’s possible to add a second GTX 980Ti due to the power supply’s 750 watts rating. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard supports USB 3.1, SATA Express, multi-GPU configurations and opts for a superb audio solution. Once combined, this offers an absolutely staggering user-experience.


£1938.00

Specification:

  • Intel Core i7 5930K 3.50GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte X99-SLI
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Up to this point, we’ve focussed on the consumer LGA1151 chipset which offers great value for typical desktop tasks. Unfortunately, the platform only supports up to a 4-core 8-thread CPU. This severely limits the computational power during multi-threaded workloads. As a result, many professionals opt for 2011-v3 powered systems because they can leverage extra performance using 6-core or even 8-core processors. The next system totalling £1938.00 utilises a hex core processor with 40 PCI-E lanes and a 2TB hard disk.

Not only that, the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe boot drive is capable of an astounding maximum read of 2500MB/s and maximum write reaching 1500MB/s. This allows games to load faster and helps to process huge 4K video projects in a more efficient manner. Of course, this elite-grade PC opts for the best possible hardware including the GTX 980Ti and Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. This means you can have a powerful workstation and play demanding games in your leisure time.

If you’d like us to review any of the systems mentioned above, please let us know in the comments section below.

Ashes of the Singularity DirectX 12 Graphics Performance Analysis

Introduction


Ashes of the Singularity is a futuristic real-time strategy game offering frenetic contests on a large-scale. The huge amount of units scattered across a number of varied environments creates an enthralling experience built around complex strategic decisions. Throughout the game, you will explore unique planets and engage in enthralling air battles. This bitter war revolves around an invaluable resource known as Turinium between the human race and masterful artificial intelligence. If you’re into the RTS genre, Ashes of the Singularity should provide hours of entertainment. While the game itself is worthy of widespread media attention, the engine’s support for DirectX 12 and asynchronous compute has become a hot topic among hardware enthusiasts.

DirectX 12 is a low-level API with reduced CPU overheads and has the potential to revolutionise the way games are optimised for numerous hardware configurations. In contrast to this, DirectX 11 isn’t that efficient and many mainstream titles suffered from poor scaling which didn’t properly utilise the potential of current graphics technology. On another note, DirectX 12 allows users to pair GPUs from competing vendors and utilise multi graphics solutions without relying on driver profiles. It’s theoretically possible to achieve widespread optimization and leverage extra performance using the latest version of DirectX 12.

Of course, Vulkan is another alternative which works on various operating systems and adopts an open-source ideology. Although, the focus will likely remain on DirectX 12 for the foreseeable future unless there’s a sudden reluctance from users to upgrade to Windows 10. Even though the adoption rate is impressive, there’s a large number of PC gamers currently using Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. Therefore, it seems prudent for developers to continue with DirectX 11 and offer a DirectX 12 render as an optional extra. Arguably, the real gains from DirectX 12 will occur when its predecessor is disregarded completely. This will probably take a considerable amount of time which suggests the first DirectX 12 games might have reduced performance benefits compared to later titles.

Asynchronous compute allows graphics cards to simultaneously calculate multiple workloads and reach extra performance figures. AMD’s GCN architecture has extensive support for this technology. In contrast to this, there’s a heated debate questioning if NVIDIA products can even utilise asynchronous compute in an effective manner. Technically, AMD GCN graphics cards contain 2-8 asynchronous compute cores with 8 queues per core which varies on the model to provide single cycle latencies. Maxwell revolves around two pipelines, one designed for high-priority workloads and another with 31 queues. Most importantly, NVIDIA cards can only “switch contexts at draw call boundaries”. This means the switching process is slower and gives AMD and a major advantage. NVIDIA has dismissed the early performance numbers from Ashes of the Singularity due to its current development phase. Finally, the game’s release has exited the beta stage which allows us to determine the performance numbers after optimizations were completed.

Nvidia May Drop 2GB Model of GTX 960

Originally launching in both a 2GB and 4GB variant, Nvidia is reportedly planning to discontinue the lower capacity model. By offering only a 4GB tier, Nvidia is hoping to make the card more attractive to buyers as they will only see the 4GB version. At this point in time, there is no word yet if the 4GB 960 will keep its current price or drop to fill in the void left by the departing 2GB model.

The GTX 960 features the full GM206, Nvidia’s budget Maxwell die. While the card does decent against AMD’s R9 380, it does fall behind a bit in terms of overall performance. With the launch of the GTX 950 as well, the 960 has become even more of a niche product. The 950 features only 256 fewer shaders and 12 TMUs, not a large margin by any means, placing its performance to near 960 levels. With such competition, it is understandable why Nvidia will try to differentiate the card more by only having a 4GB model.

The biggest question is whether or not the GTX 960 will actually need 4GB of VRAM. While 4GB might be needed for 1440p, the 960 is solidly a 1080p performing card. That has historically been the domain of 2GB of cards and by the time 4GB is required for 1080p, the GPU core of the 960 may well be lacking. One also must consider the fact the 950 also has a 4GB model and would age about the same as the 960. Both cards are also limited by the 128bit memory interface which may hinder the use of such a large frame buffer.

Undoubtedly though, the extra frame buffer would make the 960 more future proof if only just. It will be interesting to see if Nvidia does follow through with this move in the end. We will follow this story as it develops and bring you more information as it arrives so stay tuned!

Thank you HWBattle for providing us with this information

Capcom Unveils Street Fighter V PC Requirements

Capcom has revealed the official PC requirements for Street Fighter V and recommended configuration to play the game as intended:

Minimum:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-4160 @ 3.60GHz
  • Memory: 6 GB DDR3
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 480 (or higher)
  • Network: Broadband Connection Required
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 11
  • Soundcard: DirectX compatible soundcard or onboard chipset

Recommended:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K @3.50GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB DDR3
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 960
  • Network: Broadband Connection Required
  • DirectX Version: DirectX 11
  • Soundcard: DirectX compatible soundcard or onboard chipset or better

As you can see, the minimum requirements are fairly reasonable and should work on any gaming rig from the last few years. However, publishers are always quite vague with these specifications and there’s no information about resolution, graphical settings or achievable framerate with each configuration. On another note, Street Fighter V will be a Steamworks title with cloud saves, achievements and trading cards.

Unfortunately, there’s no launch support for DirectX 12 but this isn’t a major issue if the game runs well enough on a wide array of systems. Street Fighter V looks impressive and I cannot wait to test the game out with my Hori Fight Stick.

Are you looking forward to Street Fighter V?

Thank you The Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

EVGA Offers Cashback on Nvidia GTX 960 In July

What’s better than getting a relative good graphics cards cheap? Easy, getting some of the money back after you purchased it. That is exactly what you can do now as EVGA offers European customers a €25 cashback on GeForce GTX 960 cars in July.

The exact period of purchase must be between the 6th of July and 2nd of August 2015 to be eligible and the end-user is required to register their new graphics card and follow the steps of the cashback claim process online at eu.evga.com. As always with these cashback programs, you need to purchase the unit from participating partners and the list is quite long. Among them are prominent players such as CaseKing, Scan Computers, dabs, Webhallen, and many more.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 960 comes as either a 2GB or 4GB version and it is equipped with the pretty amazing ACX 2.0+ cooler.

It features a memory MOSFET cooling plate (MMCP) that reduces MOSFET temperatures by up to 11°C and optimised Straight Heat Pipes (SHP) that additionally reduce GPU temperature by 5°C. The fans are optimised for the perfect airflow and run on double ball bearings with an extreme low power motor. More air with less power. The fans turn off completely if the card is below 60 degrees and the graphics card also features a dual BIOS with quick-switch.

More Details For Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Emerge

We brought you news last week that Nvidia was preparing a more budget friendly cards in the form of the GeForce GTX 950 and 950Ti. Now, more information has been revealed about the upcoming cards, pointing to a singular release for the GTX 950 alone. As expected the GPU will be the GM206-250, supposedly a cut-down version of the GM 206-300 used in the mainstream GTX 960.

No information about the core configuration has been revealed yet, but we can make some educated speculation. As replacements for the Maxwell 750/750Ti, it is unlikely the 950 will be the same as the 750 which has a core configuration of 512:32:16 (Shaders:TMU:ROP:). That either points to 640:40:16 like the 750Ti or something with more oomph like 768:40:24. Remember, if Nvidia does plan on a 950Ti in the future, it has to leave enough room for it to make sense, so the 950 launch may be a good indicator to see if we ill get a Ti version in the future. The GTX 960 comes in at 1024:64:32 so at the very least, the 950 likely won’t hit higher than 896:40:24 in order to get the most out of imperfect GM206s. On the other hand, purposefully lasering off parts, especially on the 28m process where yields are high is also suboptimal.

On the memory side of things, the information suggests that the 950 will come in either a 2GB or 4GB configuration, much like the 960 it is based on. That would put memory capacity at double the 750/750Ti and the previous 650 series. The memory numbers suggest a 128Bit bus, and it is unlikely it will be any higher as the 960 only comes with a 128Bit bus. The 2GB-4GB frame buffer points to a target resolution of 900 or 1080p like the 960 but likely at a lower playable quality. Final specifications are DVI, HDMI and 3 DisplayPorts, similar to the 960. With no launch date yet, it will be interesting to see what Nvidia brings to the table as the AMD side of things with the R7 370 is less than optimal.

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

Feast Your Eyes on the GeForce GTX 960 EXOC White Edition by KFA2!

From a practical point of view, a graphics card needs to be powerful enough to meet its owners’ day-to-day demands, whether we’re talking about light multimedia tasks or heavy gaming. However, if you’re a PC enthusiast who built his system with a particular color theme in mind, you’ll also want to pick out a graphics card that matches your motherboard, RAM and cooling solutions. Those of you who chose white will be glad to know that KFA2 just announced its GeForce GTX 960 EXOC White Edition graphics card, which boasts an all-white back-plate as well as a white cooler shroud and white fans.

Its PCB is actually black, which could be good or bad depending on your own tastes and preferences, but it definitely provides a nice contrast. Performance-wise, this GTX 960 comes with a factory OC of 1279 MHz core and 1367 MHz GPU Boost. The memory remained unchanged at 7.00 GHz. The cooling system is composed of an aluminium fin-stack heatsink complemented by 8 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes that touch directly on the GPU. As far as display outputs are concerned, they include a DisplayPort 1.2, a HDMI 2.0 and a pair of DVI ports.

The card costs €209.90. What do you think about its looks and performance?

Thank you Techpowerup for providing us with this information.

Zotac Tease a 5-Fan NVIDIA GTX 960

Zotac is not exactly the company to stick to general design conventions, with stylish hugging cooling shrouds and lashings of carbon fibre look materials, they know how to make a card that appeals to the enthusiast market.

In their latest teaser, it seems that the Zotac boffins have taken a humble GTX 960 and added their AMP! cooling solution to it, but that wasn’t enough. They cut down the shroud and added another TWO fans; they may only be 60mm, but dedicated rear PCB cooling can only mean a good thing right? The PCB features excellent VRAM and support Zotac’s own OC+ external overclocking module design; this new card has been dubbed the GTX 960 TOP-X and will feature within the Gamer Force series.

It’s unclear whether this will be based on the AMP! PCB and features, but this card is reportedly capable of a core clock of around 1,500MHz, which isn’t something to be sniffed at.

Zotac have created this ‘overpackaged’ card to attract the price conscious buyers, who look for the most bang for buck purchase. Sadly this would be limited to the Greater China region, so seeing this card in Europe or America would be a rare thing, at least for now.

Would you be interested in buying this particular model of the Zotac family if it does become available in your market? I would love to get my hands on one; see how the acoustics stack up compared to others.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

EVGA Announces Pro SLI Bridges V2

EVGA announced today that it was launching a line of SLI bridges that will help to bring a bit of style and class to your SLI setup. The new bridges are for two, three, and four way SLI with a back-lit white EVGA logo on black and it is shrouded with aluminum.

The standard ribbon and bare PCB bridges that are normally supplied by board makers often leave those with windowed cases wanting something more elegant. Nvidia came to market with some earlier nice black and aluminum bridges within the last year and they did great, so obviously EVGA is wanting to get in on that market and came up with their own design. No word currently on pricing and the release date is “coming soon”, but you can bookmark the webpage to keep watch for the release.

Next Generation Features:

  • Separate models to support 2-Way (Short), 2-Way (Standard), 3-Way SLI or 4-Way SLI.
  • High pixel clock design optimized for 4K+ and 120Hz+ gaming.
  • EVGA logo illuminates on select GeForce GTX graphics cards.
  • Compatible with all SLI enabled graphics cards.
  • Looks super awesome!

Compatibility:

SLI functionality works on all SLI enabled graphics cards. LED functionality works on the following cards:

  • All EVGA GTX TITAN graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 980 graphics cards.
  • Select EVGA GTX 970 graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 960 graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 780/780 Ti graphics cards.
  • Select EVGA GTX 770 graphics cards.

Palit Announces GeForce GTX 960 JetStream 4GB Graphics Card

Palit seems to be a little late with its GTX 960 offering, though better late than never as it goes. The company is now offering its GeForce GTX 960 JetStream Edition featuring 4GB of graphics memory.

While the graphics card solution sure looks amazing, it does have more than just its design to offer. It is said that the GTX 960 JetStream offers a very silent cooling solution, with temperatures reaching levels of under 70 degrees Celsius under full load.

The GPU core clock is set to have a frequency of 1127 MHz and can be boosted up to 1178 MHz, while the 4GB memory comes with a 7000 MHz. Also, given the 128-bit memory interface, the graphics card solution is able to boost a memory bandwidth of 112 GB/s.

EVGA Introduces 4GB GeForce GTX 960 SSC Graphics Card

EVGAs graphics cards are well-known for their impressive specs and efficient coolers, and now you can also get their GeForce GTX 960 SSC with 4GB GDDR5 memory instead of the previous 2GB reference.

EVGA also added their new EVGA ACX 2.0+ cooler that comes with a Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP) that reduces MOSFET temperatures up to 11°C, and optimized Straight Heat Pipes (SHP) that reduce GPU temperature by 5°C. ACX 2.0+ coolers also feature optimized Swept fan blades, double ball bearings, and an extreme low power motor that delivers more air flow with less power.

New Features:

  • 4GB of High-Performance GDDR5 Memory – Improved 4K gaming performance and higher texture qualities!
  • dBi (dB Noise Inverter) – EVGA’s ACX 2.0+ fan turns off below 60C, generating 0dB of noise.
  • MMCP (Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate) – Full-size cooling plate makes direct contact with memory and MOSFETS, reducing memory up to 9°C and MOSFET up to 11°C.
  • QSD (Quick Switch Dual BIOS) – Multiple integrated BIOSes allow you to switch to the secondary with the flick of a switch.
  • OPT (Optimized Power Target) – The power target is precisely tuned for the perfect balance of thermal, power and performance, offering 33% more power over reference.
  • SHP (Straight Heat Pipes) – Triple 8mm straight heat pipes offer 6% better heat dissipation than bent heat pipes with reduced thermal resistance.

The card runs at a 1279MHz base clock and has a Boost to 1342MHz. The 4GB memory runs at 7010MHz on the 128 Bit memory bus with 112.16GB/s bandwidth. It supports up to four monitors, 240MHz refresh rate, and 4K resolution.

Thanks to EVGA for providing us with this information

Leadtek Launches WinFast GTX 960 HURRICANE Graphics Card

Leadtek has unveiled their Nvidia GTX 960 based WinFast HURRICANE graphics card that comes factory overclocked, with a dual-fan cooler to keep the card cool at the increased load levels.

Leadtek’s GTX 960 HURRICANE comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory and has 1024 CUDA cores. The card runs with a base clock of 1228MHz and a Boost speed of 1291MHz. A 9% improvement over the reference speed. The two-slot card has a power draw of 120W which really isn’t much for the performance you get.

The card has a pretty common connector layout with three DisplayPort, one HDMI and one DVI and it supports up to 4 screen Nvidia Surround View. A 4GB version of the card is also planned, but no further details were revealed at this time.

Thanks to Leadtek for providing us with this information

Gainward Phantom GLH GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 has been out for just over a week and has given us amazing performance capabilities given its such a small power requirement and it has impressed us here at eTeknix with the ability to run passively; could this mid-range graphics card set the pace for future sub $200 cards? Even though it’s not very powerful, the GTX 960 series has proven that high resolutions are almost possible at this price point.

Today we have the Gainward Phantom GLH (Goes Like Hell) Edition GeForce GTX 960 2GB; a bit of a mouthful if I must say so myself. Gainward aren’t renowned for breaking overclocking world records, but they know a thing or two about producing high quality, super quiet cooling solutions with a quirky difference. Gainward has worked their magic by cherry picking specific cards that can handle and maintain their intense factory overclocks. NVIDIA has aimed this card at the core gaming market, hoping for those who admitted to using older technology during Steams survey will want to upgrade to the new Maxwell architecture thanks to its low price.

This particular Gainward Phantom is perched at around $21o. For a card that promises epic performance through cherry picked components, lets see if its worth the extra 5% premium.

Gainward follows the same style of packaging as others in the NVIDIA range; plain and simple box with a key image of the graphics card. Along the bottom, we see the Phantom logo with its slogan. The only difference with this box is the Goes Like Hell (GLH) logo in the top right. Inside the box, we have bundled a twin molex to 6-pin PCIe power connection, VGA to DVI adapter and Gainwards driver install and quick start guide.

Gainward keeps things plain and simple, utilising their own PCB to be able to sit nicely under the Phantom cooler. This cooling solution is one of the most unusual on the market, hiding its twin 92mm PWM fans inside the cooling shroud with the rather slim radiator sitting on top.

This particular Phantom cooler is the newest variant in the series and has a cool party trick.

That’s right, the Phantom cooler has the ability to remove the fans.

This feature gives you the ability to clean the fans after a period of time, but you could also choose to run completely passively, albeit running the risk of extremely high temperatures unless you have very good airflow in your case.

At the far end of the card, it’s in keeping with Gainwards’ style, plain, simple and to the point; not even a glimpse of the heat pipes.

Along the top of the card, things get a little more interesting, showing you the single 6-pin power connection, ample for the 120w TDP. You also see the two slots which the fans are situated with groves to allows for better air flow.

On the back of the card, you have a very typical PCB with rear mounted RAM chips. It’s a shame Gainward didn’t give the card a backplate; it really would have finished it off well. You can see that the PCB is around 1/5th shorter than the cooling shroud, allowing for improved airflow.

Things are kept simple at the outputs end of the card, twin DVI ports, a single DisplayPort and a HDMI port capable of 4k resolution. I wonder if this card, with its intense overclocks; can produce a good 4k score in our tests.

EVGA Introduced the GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC ACX 2.0+

Nvidia has released the GeForce GTX 960 and the graphics card manufacturers are getting their new cards ready. EVGA is one of them, and they have announced the new EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC ACX 2.0+ graphics card.

The new EVGA ACX 2.0+ cooler brings new features as well. A Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP) reduces MOSFET temperatures up to 11°C, and optimized Straight Heat Pipes (SHP) reduce GPU temperature by an additional 5°C. ACX 2.0+ coolers also feature optimized Swept fan blades, double ball bearings, and an extreme low power motor.

New Features:

  • dBi (dB Noise Inverter) – EVGA’s ACX 2.0+ fan turns off below 60C, generating 0dB of noise.
  • MMCP (Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate) – Full-size cooling plate makes direct contact with memory and MOSFETS, reducing memory up to 9°C and MOSFET up to 11°C.
  • QSD (Quick Switch Dual BIOS) – Multiple integrated BIOSes allow you to switch to the secondary with the flick of a switch.
  • OPT (Optimized Power Target) – The power target is precisely tuned for the perfect balance of thermal, power and performance, offering 33% more power over reference.
  • SHP (Straight Heat Pipes) – Triple 8mm straight heat pipes offer 6% better heat dissipation than bent heat pipes with reduced thermal resistance.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SuperSC ACX 2.0+ GPU has 1024 CUDA Cores and 2GB GDDR5 memory, the GPU runs at 1279 MHz with a boost up to 1342MHz while the memory is running at 7010MHz. The card provides three DisplayPort 1.2, one HDMI 2.0, and one Dual-link DVI port. It also comes with the convenient quick-switch dual BIOS.

Thanks to EVGA for providing us with this information

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 Teased – Priced at Under $249, Available Q1 2015

We’re starting to hear about the GeForce GTX 960, a card that looks like it could set AMD on fire. The latest reports see the card keeping its GM204 core, 256-bit memory bus and 4GB of RAM – all of which are found on the GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs.

Where things get really interesting is the price – with rumours of a price point of under $249 in the US, where we could see NVIDIA really pin Team Red against the wall if it priced its reference board at $199 and allow AIB partners to scale up to $249 with exotic coolers, and more. Here in the UK, we should expect a price of around £200.

Specifications on the GeForce GTX 960 are just rumors for now, but we could expect 1408 SPs, 88 TUs, and a TDP that should fall under 150W.

Source: KitGuru.