Zotac has developed a new GeForce GTX 960 graphics card that features rather extreme clock-rates and may easily become the world’s fastest graphics adapter based on Nvidia Corp.’s GM206 graphics processing unit.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 960 Extreme Top 2GB GDDR5 graphics card features 1342/1405 base/boost GPU clock-rates, which means that it has around 20 per cent higher compute performance over reference GeForce GTX 960 graphics cards. While the GPU frequencies are high, this is hardly a breakthrough since there are a lot of factory-overclocked graphics cards featuring the GM206 chip. What really sets the Zotac GTX 960 Extreme Top apart from competitors is its memory frequency: 7200MHz vs 7000MHz on all similar graphics adapters. While the increase is not truly significant, it may bring noticeable benefits in high resolutions, where memory bandwidth matters a lot.
Although the Zotac GTX 960 Extreme Top is already among the fastest graphics cards powered by the GM206 GPU, the manufacturer did everything to maximize its overclocking potential, according to a report from Expreview, which contains numerous photos of the product.
Zotac’s GeForce GTX 960 Extreme Top uses the company’s proprietary printed circuit board with 8-phase (6+2) voltage regulation module featuring solid-state chokes and high-end capacitors. The graphics card requires 6-pin and 8-pin power connectors in a bid to provide enough power to the graphics processing unit in overclocked mode. The add-in board is also equipped with Zotac’s own OC+ and PowerBoost modules designed to further increase overclocking potential.
In addition, the extreme graphics board from Zotac features a unique cooling system with four copper heat-pipes, a massive aluminium radiator as well as a special 3D Storm module with two small fans designed to cool-down the backside of the adapter. The primary cooler is similar to those Zotac uses for its high-end graphics boards, its performance should be more than enough even for a massively overclocked GM206. Actual benefits of the add-on cooling module may be very limited, but it may help one to squeeze all the juices from the graphics card.
Price of the Zotac GTX 960 Extreme Top in China is 1899 yuan (£202, $306), which is a lot for a GM206-based solution . In fact, it is uncertain whether the board will actually be sold outside of China.
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KitGuru Says: Without any doubts, the Zotac GeForce GTX 960 Extreme Top seems to be an interesting solution from an engineering point of view. However, sophisticated graphics cards also carry hefty price tags. No matter how significantly you overclock the GeForce GTX 960, it will always be massively behind the GeForce GTX 970 in terms of performance. Prices of massively overclocked GeForce GTX 960 hit £215-£220 in the U.K. and $240-$260 in the U.S. By contrast, the most affordable GeForce GTX 970 can be obtained for as low as £255 in the U.K. and $307 in the U.S.