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The GeForce GTX 960 goes 4GB, too
Going by price, the most natural foil for the Radeon R9 380X in Nvidia's lineup is the GeForce GTX 960. We already know and love the Gigabyte's Windforce GTX 960 2GB from when we first reviewed that GPU, but card makers are now offering versions of the GTX 960 with 4GB of GDDR5 that are closer to the 380X's sticker price. It seemed only logical to pick up the 4GB version of this card to represent the green team this time around.

This card goes for about $230 right now on Newegg. Larger memory size aside, the Windforce is practically identical to its 2GB cousin. This card gives us higher-than-reference 1216MHz base and 1279MHz boost clocks, and it keeps the hot-clocked GPU cool with a whisper-quiet twin-fan heatsink.

Our testing methods
Most of the numbers you'll see on the following pages were captured with Fraps, a software tool that can record the rendering time for each frame of animation. We sometimes use a tool called FCAT to capture exactly when each frame was delivered to the display, but that's usually not necessary in order to get good data with single-GPU setups. We have, however, filtered our Fraps results using a three-frame moving average. This filter should account for the effect of the three-frame submission queue in Direct3D. If you see a frame time spike in our results, it's likely a delay that would affect when the frame reaches the display.

We didn't use Fraps with Ashes of the Singularity, Battlefield 4, or the Fable: Legends benchmark. Instead, we captured frame times directly from the game engines using the games' built-in tools. We didn't use our low-pass filter on those results.

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core i7-5960X
Motherboard Gigabyte X99-UD5 WiFi
Chipset Intel X99
Memory size 16GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Vengeance LPX
DDR4 SDRAM at 2133 MT/s
Memory timings 15-15-15-36 1T
Hard drive Kingston SSDNow 310 960GB SATA
Power supply Corsair AX850
OS Windows 10 Pro

Here are the full specs of the cards we used in this review, along with their driver versions:

  Driver revision GPU base
core clock
GPU boost
MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming 2G GeForce 358.91 1216 1279 1753 2048
Asus Strix Radeon R9 380 4GB Catalyst 15.11.1 - 990 1425 4096
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960 4GB GeForce 358.91 1216 1279 1753 4096
Sapphire Radeon R9 380X Catalyst 15.11.1 - 1040 1500 4096
MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G GeForce 358.91 1114 1253 1753 4096
XFX Radeon R9 390 Catalyst 15.11.1 - 1015 1500 8192

Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Kingston, and Gigabyte for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Our thanks to Sapphire, Asus, XFX, and MSI for providing the graphics cards we tested in this review, as well.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.