Card Layout and Photos
Being a Gigabyte card I wasn’t really sure if I should be expecting two fans or three fans with the GTX 960. Gigabyte has been known to really pack the cooling fans in. For this card they went with two oversized fans on a Windforce cooling setup. This includes a black plastic fan shroud. The fan shroud doesn’t have much to it though, they even slipped in gaps between the two fans. It does give a nice all blacked out look to the card though.
Up on the top edge of the card they did slip in a Windforce logo that will face out on your build. There isn’t a backlit logo like on the MSI but it is direct and to the point. From the top view we can also see the Windforce cooling a little better. Right in the center of the card the heatsink has a large contact block with two heatpipes that head out the top of the card and two out the bottom. All four help spread the heat out from the GPU out into the inch thick heatsink. The two fans blow down over the heatsink and then across the PCB. All of the warm air then is pushed out the top, bottom, and end of the card and into your case. You will need to keep this in mind, the card will run cooler than a reference card but it will add to the heat in your case if it doesn’t have the airflow to push all of the warm air out.
For SLI connections the GTX 960 only supports one. This lets you run a dual card onfiguration but you can’t go crazy with 3 and 4 SLI configurations. This is great as an upgrade next year when prices are dropping.
For power Gigabyte went with a surprisingly two 6-pin connections to power the GTX 960. For comparison Asus went with a single 6-pin and MSI went with a single 8-pin. Both plugs are flipped around backwards with the PCB notched for the clips. This means Gigabyte doesn’t have to work the cooling around to make room for your fingers to get in and unhook cables. This allowed them to run that least heatpipe righ up next to the power plugs.
One area that the Gigabyte card really stands out is with its connection options. Unlike the other two GTX 960’s tested they stuck with two DVI ports.. This combined with the three DisplayPorts and one HDMI gives you a wide selection of display connection options. They did sacrifice the small cooling vent that the other two cards used, but the airflow that provides is trivial and some people still need more than one DVI connection for their multi monitor setups.
When we flip the Gigabyte GTX 960 around we can see that they went with a longer PCB just like MSI did with their GTX 960. Asus went with a smaller design. We get a black PCB of course and unlike the Asus there isn’t a backplate. From this view we can also see the flipped power connectors a little better as well. The PCB is notched to allow room for the clips and to save room for a thicker heatsink.