KFA2 GeForce GTX 960 EXOC review

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KFA2 GeForce GTX 960 EXOC 

GALAX is back in da house, ehm well... KFA2 I meant. See, in Europe GALAXY can't make use of the trade-name Galaxy (hello Samsung!), so at one point they named the products KFA2 for the EU. A few months ago Galaxy figured, let's just re-brand to GALAX worldwide to get one name out there, and so they did.

Unfortunately GALAX as a name is apparently taken in certain EU countries, ... so for now you'll see the branding name KFA2 return in the EU. Story to be continued? Hey, we all know it's Galaxy right... Anyhow, KFA2 releases their mid-range GeForce GTX 960 EXOC edition, yep, as in 'Extreme Overclocked'. The product comes factory overclocked with a boost clock of 1266 MHz. The product has a custom and relatively small PCB. KFA2 was on a mission, to make the card both silent whilst offering temps in the 60 to 65 Degrees C range, and hey man, mission accomplished. The card has 2 GB graphics memory, is energy efficient and comes factory overclocked for you. Let's check it out shall we? 

So, it's Nvidia who is releasing the GeForce GTX 960 based products. The GM206 GPU empowering the card has been a topic of much discussion over the past few months, and let's face it... everybody expected this GPU to be based on the GPU being used in the GTX 970 and 980. Then there were delays, and the product got pushed backwards to even after Christmas. Yes, somebody made the decision that the GTX 960 should be a cheaper fab product opposed to using the more expensive GM204 that you know from the GTX 970/980. Nvidia now bakes the GM206 for the GTX 960 series, the product has been castrated and stripped of everything that is sexy with the GTX 970/980. You'll see the memory cut down to 2 GB of memory on these puppies, that memory runs on a 128-bit wide bus, the shader processors have been halved to 1024 Shader/Stream/Cuda cores. Let me quickly table that up for you:

Model GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 970 GeForce GTX 960
GPU GM204 GM204 GM206
CUDA cores 2048 1664 1024
Texture Units 128 104 64
Raster Devices 64 64 32
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Amount of memory 4 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 2 GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB / s 224 GB / s 112 GB/S

So yes, you take a GTX 980, chop it in half in every way and that is the GeForce GTX 960. A lot of you guys will feel that this is a bridge too far. Especially the 2GB and 128-bit wide bus seem to be a nag, then again Maxwell makes efficient use of memory color compression. But hey, you haven't read this review just yet so let's not draw any conclusions right now. However it is abundantly clear that the Geforce GTX is a 1080P card at best with its 2GB of graphics memory. The new product will be based on Maxwell architecture, yes, named after the mathematical physicist. The Maxwell family of GPUs is actually the 10th generation of GPU architecture for Nvidia. With several design goals in mind (higher performance and lower power consumption) Nvidia was hoping to reach 20nm by the time their high-end product would be released. It is now January 2015 and it is abundantly clear that the 20nm fab nodes are a huge yield mess, as no manufacturer dares use it. Nvidia went with plan B and stuck with a 28nm process, this makes their silicon sizeable, in relative proportions of course. Nonetheless, Nvidia has moved forward and today the 3rd Maxwell based product (GTX 750 was actually the first trial) is being released as a GM206 based GPU. Armed with voltage, power and load limiters, Nvidia these days can harvest massive performance out of chips when you think about it. Today is about the GeForce GTX 960 range of performance. The base clock speed of the GeForce GTX 960 is 1126MHz. The typical Boost Clock speed is 1178MHz. The GPU used thus is still on 28nm. 

With a custom PCB, all dark / grey / military design and cooler, the KFA2 GTX 960 EXOC Black Edition will get all the cooling it needs.While temps stick at roughly just over 60~65 Degrees C, the noise levels are low overall. And how does a 1203 MHz core GPU clock frequency with a 1266 MHz Boost frequency sound eh? Check 'er out as with an etail price of 219 USD/EURO this might be the one to get if it suits your budget needs.

I mean look at that, it looks like kit from Batman's utility belt ... nice ...



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