With AMD's Mantle in dire straits and losing ongoing support, the question of timing for its inevitable death has been fresh in our minds. Microsoft's DirectX 12 promises to accomplish many of the same objectives that made Mantle appealing – namely, putting developers “closer to the metal” – while being distributed alongside the prolific Windows OS; this, we think, has already stifled Mantle's viability to developers.

As a website that is dedicated to PC gaming, we decided to devote this week's sales round-up to video cards. We found a video card for just about every budget, from entry level to the more hardcore gamers. The round-up includes a GTX 750, R9 285, GTX 960, and more.

Last year's GTC event in San Jose, California saw the unveil of nVidia's architecture following Maxwell: Pascal. We wrote about Pascal at the time, but very little was revealed about the new architecture. This year's GTC keynote presentation by nVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revisited Pascal architecture and the nVidia GPU roadmap through 2018.

Our full GTX Titan X ($1000) FPS benchmarks are pending publication following nVidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC), though CEO Jen-Hsun Huang's keynote today marks the official and immediate launch of the GTX Titan X video card. The keynote was live-streamed.

Moments ago, the new GTX Titan X's official specifications were unveiled at GTC 2015, to include core count, the GPU, and price. We've compared the Titan X's spec to the GTX 980, & 780 Ti below. The Titan X will be available here (Newegg) at some point. The card should be available via NVIDIA's official store momentarily.

Our initial review of nVidia's new GTX 960 looked at ASUS' Strix model of the card, a $210 unit with a custom cooler and an emphasis on silence. We declared the GTX 960 a formidable competitor at the price range, remarking that its software-side support and power made it a primary choice for 1080p gaming. AMD's closest competitor is the R9 280 – a powerful alternative for users who don't mind a bit higher TDP and less frequent driver updates – priced closer to $170 after rebates.

As nVidia continues to push SLI as an actionable configuration, the question of SLI compatibility with video games is raised once again. Not all games adequately support SLI and, for this reason, we've historically recommend a single, more powerful GPU in opposition to two mid-range options in SLI.

Part of our daily activities include extensive graphics benchmarking of various video cards and games, often including configuration, OC, and performance tweaks. As part of these benchmarks, we publish tables comparing FPS for the most popular graphics cards, ultimately assisting in determining what the true requirements are for gaming at a high FPS.

Although our test methodology includes extra steps to ensure an isolated, clean operating environment for benchmarking, the basics of testing can be executed on everyday gaming systems. This article explains how to benchmark your graphics card, framerate (FPS), and video games to determine whether your PC can play a game. Note that we've simplified our methodology for implementation outside of a more professional environment.

We're revisiting our Evolve benchmark, now that the game has fully launched and (some) drivers have been updated. Our previous Evolve bench tested the game's beta, but disclaimed heavily that the beta meant a lack of driver support and software-side optimization. The return benchmark uses much of the same methodology and represents the same game as previously, so this article will be a bit shorter in length.

Save CPUs, all components manufacturing in the PC hardware industry is centered upon the same core philosophy: Design a PCB, design the aesthetics and/or heatsink, and then purchase the semiconductor or Flash supply and build a product. In the case of video cards, board partners are responsible for designing aftermarket coolers (and PCBs, if straying from reference), but purchase the GPU itself from AMD or nVidia. The “hard work” is done by the GPU engineers and fabrication plants, but that's not to trivialize the thermal engineering that board partners invest into coolers.

When our readers ask us which version of a particular video card is “best,” we have to take into account several use-case factors and objective design factors. Fully passive cooling solutions may be best for gaming HTPCs like this one, but can't be deployed for higher-TDP graphics hardware. That's where various aftermarket designs come into play, each prioritizing noise, dissipation, and flair to varying degrees.

This week, with the release of NVIDIA's newest GTX 960 GPU, we have dedicated three of these deals to what we consider to be the three best GM206-powered cards available right now.

It's official: The price gap between the GTX 960 and GTX 970 is large enough to drive a Ti through. NVidia's new GeForce GTX 960 2GB graphics card ships at $200, pricing it a full $50 cheaper than the GTX 760's launch price. The immediate competition would be AMD's R9 285, priced almost equivalently.

NVidia's GTX 960 is intended to target the market seeking the best video card for the money – a segment that both AMD and nVidia call the “sweet spot” – and is advertised as capable of playing most modern games on high settings or better. The GTX 960 uses a new Maxwell GPU, called the GM206, for which the groundwork was laid by the GTX 980's GM204 GPU. In our GTX 980 review, we mentioned that per-core performance and per-watt performance had increased substantially, resulting in a specs listing that exhibits a lower core count and smaller memory interface. AMD has leveraged these number changes in recent marketing outreaches, something we'll discuss in the conclusion.

This GeForce GTX 960 review tests the new ASUS Strix 960 video card against the 970, 760, R9 285, & others. The benchmark analyzes GTX 960 FPS performance in titles like Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, EVOLVE, and other modern titles. The GTX 960 is firmly designed for 1080p gaming, which is where the vast majority of monitors currently reside.

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