GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

This is GALAX’s “normal” sized GTX 960, the appearance is distinctly different from the GTX 960 OC Mini-ITX version reviewed a few weeks ago.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

For a start the shroud looks plain, very unlike that shiny metal-brushed shroud on the GTX 960 OC.

Packaging wise it’s no different from the GTX 960 EXOC as well, the box of the same size and design with only the text changed.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

Here’s the package content.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

The package contents are
– Graphics Card
– Quick Installation Guide
– User Manual
– 8-pin PCI power converter
– DVI to VGA

More details at the official product page.

From the top are 3 visible heatpipes, they are silver colored instead of copper colored like the ones on the OC variant. As you can see it also uses 8-pin PCI-E instead of 6-pin PCI-E.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

Here’s the view from the bottom.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

The heatsink is placed very close to the capacitor, RAM chips and VRM to help cooling.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

Here are the I/O ports for the GTX 960 EXOC.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

The neat part about this card is that it comes with a sleek looking back plate, not that it’s a long card that holds 2x PCI-E power cable but I appreciate that GALAX had a backplate installed for the card.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

And of course before we reach the benchmarks, here’s the GPU-Z.

GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC Graphic Card Review

Test Setup

Processor Intel Core i5-4670K
RAM Kingston HyperX 2x 4GB DDR3 2400Mhz Kit
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z97X Gaming 3
Cooler NZXT Kraken X31
Monitor Dell U2414H
Power Supply FSP AURUM S 600W
Casing NZXT S340
Operating System Windows 8 Pro 64bit

Benchmark

Here we go!

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Heaven 4.0

Card 1080p (avg)
GALAX GTX 960 EXOC 46.7
GALAX GTX 960 OC 46.3
HIS Radeon R9 285 50.4
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 58.4
ASUS STRIX GTX 970 77.2

Metro Last Light

Heaven 4.0

Card 1080p (avg)
GALAX GTX 960 EXOC 56.0
GALAX GTX 960 OC 56.5
HIS Radeon R9 285 53.0
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 55.0
ASUS STRIX GTX 970 78.5

Bioshock Infinite

Settings are at
2 – UltraDX11_DDOF | 2 – Custom | 1 – 16:9 | 4 – 1920×1080

GALAX GTX 960 EXOC 74.09
GALAX GTX 960 OC 73.29
HIS Radeon R9 285 85.82
Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 82.03
ASUS STRIX GTX 970 114.07

PERFORMANCE SUMMARY : I don’t know what’s with both nVidia and AMD these days but we’re having cards at RM 800 – 1000 range with 2GB RAM instead of 3GB or more. 🙁 And it’s not like they’re performing any better. The GTX 960 trades blows with the R9 285, both being the somewhat “stripped down” version of their spiritual predecessors – with lower memory bandwidth and VRAM despite supposedly faster clock speed and power efficiency.

If you already have a GTX 760 or 670 from nVidia camp or R9 280X, R9 280, HD 7970 and HD 7950 from the AMD camp then the GTX 960 isn’t a card you go for unless you don’t mind taking a hit on performance. On the plus side, the GTX 960 is a card cooler than all the cards I mentioned.

Temperature

Furmark Burn-in Test was used to stress the card. Fan settings are at Auto. Room set to ~25c.

Below is the full load details.

Card Idle(°C) Load (°C)
GALAX GTX 960 EXOC 33 68
GALAX GTX 960 OC 36 69

Just as amazing as the GALAX GeForce GTX 960 OC, the EXOC was able to maintain its operational temperature under 70°C with less than 45% fan speed and it’s still dead silent. From my observation, the larger heatsink allows better heat dissipation due to larger surface made available so the span spins at lower slightly lower RPM.

Power Consumption

Here’s what the power draw of the card is like. Power consumption reading was taken from the watt-meter, actual power draw by the entire system from the wall point. Seeing that it’s a 90% power efficient PSU that I’m using on the rig, the actual power draw will be estimated on the right most column.

The GALAX GTX 960 OC is reported to be at 120W TDP (based on nVidia specs), much lower than many other cards out there, including the 170W R9 285 that’s the closest competition. Below is the power draw comparison between them.

Card GTX 960
Wattage
GTX 960
Estimated Draw
R9 285
Wattage
R9 285
Estimated Draw
Furmark Burn-in 192 172 224 201
Unigine Heaven 4.0 171 154 219 197
Idle 50 45 54 49
Idle without GPU 36 33 36 33
Estimated
Card Power Draw
121 164

Based on my observation the GALAX GTX 960 OC does hit 120W on load and could draw higher power than stated on nVidia specs, this is probably due to the overclock.

Overclocking

I wasn’t expecting much from this card but to my surprise I managed to pump an additional 100Mhz to the core clock and 100Mhz to memory clock and gained 2 extra frames in Unigine Heaven 4.0!

Card 1080p (avg)
GALAX GTX 960 EXOC 46.7
GALAX GTX 960 EXOC OCed 49.0

The Verdict

The GALAX GeForce GTX 960 EXOC graphic card is available now for RM 899, which I think is a very good price for a card with 3-years warranty! It performs exactly the same as the GTX 960 OC Small Form Factor variant that retails at RM 849 BUT it comes with some overclocking potential and being the larger card, it has better cooling capacity and it also has a neat looking back plate.

The beauty of the GALAX GeForce GTX 960 OC is the size (form factor) and the cooler, you can’t get a better deal than this for that price. GALAX’s range of graphic cards are available at CompuZone.

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