Even though NVIDIA’s 10-series of video cards have grabbed the lion’s share of the limelight recently the fact still remains that ‘older’ 9-series cards did not suddenly turn into turtles. Rather their performance is the same as it was before the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 were released – and 1060 announced. All that has changed is their prices have plummeted as the market has become filled with used 9-series cards from people upgrading. This has created a rather unique opportunity for consumers to get excellent video card horsepower without breaking their budgets. This is fairly par for the course with the release of any new generation cards. However, what if we told you there was another option besides buying used cards?

mfg - PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB SLI

You see while other manufactures have been rushing to abandon their 9-series models, PNY on the other hand has embraced this opportunity and recently released a new GeForce GTX 960 and 950 models! Today we will be looking at the 960 model. As the name suggests this new PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB model is not only a new GeForce GTX 960 model, but also a factory overclocked model – the only type of 960s we would ever buy. As everyone knows the later into a product cycle you get the more mature it becomes. For manufactures this means having access to a lot more ‘overclockable’ NVIDIA GPUs than in the early days. For consumers this means that getting better than stock performance also costs less – as factory binning costs money!

intro - PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB SLI

This is why the PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming comes with an MSRP of only $210 (USD) and yet comes with a 5.2 percent factory overclock on the ‘960 core. To be more precise instead of 1127Mhz and 1,178MHz boost, this card comes set at the factory at 1,203/1,266. As we saw in previous reviews, such as the PNY Elite OC 960 (http://www.realhardwarereviews.com/pny-geforce-xlr8-gtx-960-elite/), this results in a noticeably bump in overall performance. However, this is one the start of the freedom that PNY’s engineer have been granted by using a mature technology. In the past factory overclocked GeForce GTX 960 models always came with stock RAM settings of an effective speed of 7Ghz. The PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB on the other hand has this boost to 7.2GHz. This too has been shown to boost performance nicely and while the GPU core is not set as high as some this unique combination certainly will make this model more effective at pushing pixels than the core speeds would lead one to believe.

The fact that PNY has released a new model this late is indeed eyebrow raising, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The new PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB model is not just a re-release of previous design and instead boasts an entirely redesigned custom heatsink and fan combination that promises to not only be more effective than previous models but also much more aesthetically pleasing as this unit not only uses a more elegant looking design but also comes with integrated LEDs for that little extra attention getting je ne sais quoi.

It is this combination that makes the PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming not only very intriguing on its own, but may just make for an excellent dual card setup that looks as good as it performs. Sounds interesting doesn’t?! So let’s put these two cards under the microscope and see if they can indeed emerge from the ‘fog of war’ and prove that the GeForce GTX 960 still has some life left in it!

install2 - PNY GeForce GTX 960 XLR8 OC Gaming 2GB SLI