Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance

GeForce GTX 960 Ultra

We continue to acquaint our loyal readers with the original model GeForce GTX 960 and following products MSI , Palit and Gainward today study and test, perhaps, one of the most ambitious video cards of this class – Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra .

However, immediately say that this is not the latest model of the original GeForce GTX 960, which we plan to introduce you to choose the best version on aggregate characteristics. There is still a review of video production Gigabyte G1 Gaming, and look forward to the appearance of our sample ASUS STRIX.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Packing

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra comes in a relatively large and brightly colored box on the right side which shows the model name and series graphics card, Set zero noise, memory size, its type and bus width, the name of the cooling system, and shows the included delivery mousepad.

The reverse side of the box to tell the potential buyer about the product’s features and NVIDIA in nine languages, including Russian.

On a small sticker on one side of the box you can find the serial number of the card.

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance

Inside the shell, color is another box of thick dark gray cardboard. It inserted the two halves of the semi-soft polyethylene foam between them and fixed video card. More inside the box we found nothing beve acause we were given a sample press release. Note that the serial version of Inno3D video cahashalways been a wealth of equipment and useful bonuses.
In the Russian retail chains Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra for sale yet seen only once at a price almost 22 thousand rubles, and we believe it is unlikely that this value can be taken as a basis. Abroad, this card can be purchased for US $ 239 at the recommended price of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 on at $ 199.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Design and features of the printed circuit board

New Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra looks grand, its design and size completely matching the video card of the middle class. Frankly, the design of the graphics card we would call a few clumsy. Is that on the back side of the board covering the PCB plate with perforated mesh device gives at least some seriousness and completeness.

While we will not deny that someone and this design will appeal, arguing there is no sense here. But the size of the graphics card can hardly be attributed to its advantages because it is the biggest GeForce GTX 960 on the market. Not only that, its length is 300 mm, so more and a thickness of 60 mm, which makes it impossible to use Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra in SLI-configuration through one slot of the motherboard. Add that weighs this “baby” 1047 grams.

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance
A set of interfaces in Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra quite standard: panel placed DVI-I (Dual-Link), one HDMI version 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.2.

Originally performed and grill for partial discharge of heated air outside the computer chassis. It triangular perforated holes appreciably larger area in comparison with conventional slit and, therefore, ready to let through a larger volume of air flow.
One connector for creating SLI-tandem placed in his regular place (recall that GeForce GTX 960 only supports 2-way SLI), and on the opposite side of the upper face of the PCB soldered two six-pin connectors for additional power supply.

It is noteworthy that for Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra claimed power consumption is not the standard 120, as much as 160 watts.Yes, and the recommended power supply unit for a system with a single graphics card should be at least 500 watts, not 400, as it is declared in the specifications of NVIDIA.
Despite its massiveness, the cooling system is attached to a printed circuit board with only four screws at the corners of the graphics processor. Dismantle it, you can see the board itself, still closed heat distribution plate and aluminum radiator on the VRM.

After removing all the “armor” from the board, you can smoothly explore its components. First of all, it should be noted that the length of the board is only 254 mm – a little more than the standard versions of the GeForce GTX 960. Power section is located in the area between the graphics processor and outputs, and four memory chips soldered on the front and back of the PCB. In the lower right-hand corner, you can see the logo of the series iChill, and above it are two pads for extra power connectors.

It is obvious that for Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 its taken and unified circuit board from one of the previous models of graphics cards.
The power supply system of the GPU is built on the four-circuit using a solid-state capacitors and ferrite chokes.

Another phase is responsible for memory and power connections soldered to the opposite end of the board, next to the additional power connector.

GPU power management controller NCP81174 production ON Semiconductor.

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance

Graphics processor NVIDIA GM206 our sample card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra released in Taiwan on 49 week 2014 (early November) and refers to the version of the A1. Unfortunately, around the perimeter of the substrate had no protective plastic box, like some other manufacturers of video cards, so when installing or removing the cooler should be especially careful not to damage the fragile crystal.

In reference GeForce GTX 960 GPU core frequency in 3D-mode is quite high – 1126 MHz, but Inno3D decided to go for broke and on the GPU original version iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra 1329 MHz given frequency, or immediately plus 18% of face value. This is the maximum factory overclocking among all known original GeForce GTX 960. The so-called forced mode, the GPU can be up to 1393 MHz, and, according to monitoring during the tests it rose to the level of 1456 MHz. Interestingly, the last value is equal to the frequency of GPU video cards recently tested Gainward, although the nominal frequency of her much more modest. We add that the transition in 2D-mode GPU frequency is reduced to 135 MHz while reducing the voltage from 1.2 to 0.85 V.
The quality of the graphics processor ASIC our sample card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra equal to 75.2%.

The video card is equipped with two gigabytes of graphics memory standard GDDR5, recruited chips manufactured by Samsung Semiconductor marked K4G41325FC-HC28 .

Nice to see that Inno3D not ignore the memory overclocking, since instead of the regular 7012 MHz it operates at 7200 MHz. This is a standard result of acceleration for companies such as Gainward and Palit. Recall that in the 128-bit bus exchange VRAM its theoretical capacity is 115.2 GB / s (+ 2.8%) and that in 2D-mode memory frequency is reduced to 648 MHz.
With those characteristics Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra, which we have not mentioned in this review, we introduce the utility GPU-Z.

Completed a review of the design reference to this model video card BIOS and move on to her huge cooling system.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Cooling systems – efficiency and noise level

The video card cooling system HerculeZ X3 Air Boss, consisting of an aluminum radiator with heat pipes and three fans with shaped plates.

Schematically, the design of this cooler is as follows.

The basis of the cooler is an aluminum radiator, consisting of two plate sections, the total number of which is 121, and the intercostal spacing of 1.8 mm. Unlike previous versions HerculeZ X3 here fins received additional relief – podshtampovki designed for more efficient heat transfer.

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance

In addition to these changes, the radiator has at least one heat pipe, and now their number is four. The diameter of the heat pipe is 6 mm, and for their longevity and preserve throughout the life they are nickel-plated.

For nickel-plated copper base plate heat pipes are soldered, but in the fins, a simple pressure test.

To cool the memory chips on the front side of the PCB heat-distributing plate is used, and the reverse side of the PCB couple chipset does not cooled.

On elements VRM-chain with a small aluminum radiator with thermal pads. The plate on the back side of the board only performs protective and decorative functions.

Cools the entire structure three fans, impellers diameter of which is 86 mm. The speed of rotation is regulated by pulse width modulation in the range from 0 to 3040 rev / min. Like many other manufacturers, Inno3D introduced in its cooling system algorithm disable fan in low load. According to the specifications, at an ambient temperature of 35 degrees Celsius fans Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra does not have to rotate while the video card power consumption will not exceed 60 watts or GPU warms above 60 degrees Celsius. In practice, however, we observed a somewhat different picture. Add that to the basis of the cooler fans are durable hydrodynamic bearings with three times longer life.

In addition, all three impellers are removable, which makes it easy to maximize their service.

To check the temperature of the video card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra as a load, we used five cycles of the test is very resource-intensive game Aliens vs. Predator (2010) with maximum quality graphics in resolution 2560 × 1440 pixels with 16x anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing MSAA-degree 4x:

To monitor the temperature and all other parameters were applied software MSI Afterburner 4.1.0 and GPU-Z utility version 0.8.1. All tests were carried out in a closed system case, the configuration of which you can see in the next section, with an average room temperature of 24.5 degrees Celsius.
The first test temperature of the video card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra has demonstrated the effectiveness of our excess of the original cooler for GeForce GTX 960.

Despite the fact that during the entire test GPU operated at a frequency of 1455 MHz, the temperature only reached the level of 50 degrees Celsius and does not rise above. In this case, the fan speed almost immediately after the start of the test increased from 0 to 1200 rev / min, and also held steady at this boundary during the entire test. And let the fans were heard in the background of the working of the system unit, it is obvious that the algorithm of their work could be made even more flexible (with a margin of cooling performance!).Well, it’s just a matter of programmers Inno3D, and special effort it should not be required.

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance
If manually set the maximum fan speed, the temperature of the GPU is the peak load for another five degrees Celsius lower than for the automatic adjustment.

Curve noise cooler Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra almost merges with the curve of the noise level graphics card MSI Radeon R9 280X Gaming, however, due to significantly lower the fan speed HerculeZ X3 Air Boss compare these two video cards is meaningless – iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra significantly quieter. In comparison with the Gainward GeForce GTX 960 Phantom GLH novelty also not inferior, but the MSI GeForce GTX 960 Gaming noticeably inferior in terms of noise. Given the huge margin of efficacy in Inno3D, this video card is also required refinement algorithm of the fans in the BIOS, so you can make it perfectly quiet cooling system. But in general, we were satisfied with the level of noise HerculeZ X3 Air Boss, since background working system unit card can not be heard at all frequencies. Rf chokes squeak was not detected in any of test applications.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Overclocking capability

Despite the impressive graphics processor overclock Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra, we managed to squeeze out a few tens of megahertz, namely – 85 MHz, or + 6.4%. Core voltage during this test did not increase, because the graphics card to be returned, and guarantees absolute safety of such acceleration nobody would have given. In turn, we sped up the video memory directly on the 980 MHz effective, or + 12.2%.

As a result, the frequency of Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra after the dissolution amounted to an impressive 1414-1478 / 8180 MHz.

Moreover, according to monitoring in 3D-mode frequency forced GPU video card stably held at at 1540 MHz, which is well illustrated by the test temperature further overclocked.

The impressive efficiency of the cooler Inno3D HerculeZ X3 Air Boss and here was demonstrated to us in all its glory, because the peak GPU temperature did not exceed 52 degrees Celsius mark, and the speed of the fans did not differ from that which was our fixed in nominal mode, the graphics card. A great result!

Review Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 960 Ultra: Ultra in everything except the performance updated: March 4, 2015 author: John Malkovich