The NVIDIA GTX 760 series of graphics cards has become a very popular option when considering great gaming performance at an affordable price. Looking to expand on this popularity, ASUS has released their latest offering in this category… the ROG Striker Platinum GTX 760. New features include an updated DirectCU II cooler, CoolTech fan technology, and a color coded LED that changes shade to reflect the GPU’s load status. Oh, and lest we forget – the Striker Platinum comes with a pretty stout factory overclock too. So, let’s jump right in and find out if ASUS has another product worthy of the ROG name!
Specifications and Features
Here are the specifications as provided by ASUS. Right off the bat, we can see the Striker Platinum GTX 760 comes with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory, and the card is factory overclocked. The reference design GTX 760 has a base GPU clock of 980 MHz, but ASUS has overclocked this card to 1085 MHz. The boost clock speed is listed at 1150 MHz; but typically, the actual boost clock is substantially higher when the card is put under load. True to form, when the card was under load, the actual boost clock was 1241 MHz. The 4 GB of onboard memory is set to 6008 MHz (quad pumped) and sits on a 256-bit interface. The NVIDIA GK104 GPU core, which this card is based on, features 32 ROPs, 96 TMUs, and boasts 1152 Cuda cores.
As is typical with ASUS ROG products, the features are plentiful. Power delivery components, the DirectCU II cooler, and other high level features are shown in the pictures below. You’ll get a good look at all of this later in the review, but the exploded view and list of major features will give you an idea of what’s in store.
ASUS performed some in-house testing that shows a substantial increase in FPS over the GTX 760 reference design cards.
The design of the DirectCU II cooler has had a bit of a makeover and now features all 10 mm heatpipes with new CoolTech fan technology. ASUS claims 37% better cooling, along with much quieter operation when compared to the reference designed cards.
The DIGI+ VRM makes its way to this card, along with an 8-phase Super Alloy Power design. ASUS says you can expect 30% less power noise and long lasting durability.
The ROG color coded load indicator changes colors to indicate three different load levels – light, medium, and heavy.
Packaging and First look
The looks of the packaging shouldn’t be foreign to anyone remotely familiar with ASUS ROG products. By glancing at the front of the box, you’re greeted with some ASUS branding and the name of the video card. The back of the box lists the specifications, box contents, display connections, and an exploded view depicting the new features this rendition offers. The box sides are left for additional branding and a multilingual list of system requirements. Raising the flap attached to the box front reveals a more in-depth look at the high level features, a software overview, and some ASUS in-house testing that shows better gaming and cooling performance over a reference design GTX 760.
Once the box is open, you’ll find… yep, you guessed it. Another box! Once box #2 is open, we come to… what else? Yep… box #3! This is where ASUS tucks away the accessories. Under the accessory box, we finally get to the well-protected video card itself. You’ll find the Striker Platinum GTX 760 wrapped in an anti-static bag and sitting in a firm foam bed. All kidding aside, the packaging is well-presented, informative, and does a good job protecting the product.
The accessories include a power adapter cable, flexible SLI bridge, support CD, and the installation/user manual.
Before we zoom in for an up-close look at the Striker Platinum GTX 760, here is a series of pictures taken from various angles. ASUS always puts an emphasis on aesthetics for anything they slap the ROG name on, and it’s no different this time around either. If you’re into the red and black color scheme, then you’ll find this card to be a very attractive affair.
The ASUS ROG Striker Platinum GTX 760 Up Close
Looking at the card from the top, we can see one of the 10 mm heatpipes protruding from the fan shroud. Just above that are the required 8-pin and 6-pin power connectors. Also located at the top are the color-coded ROG emblem and a pair of SLI connections, which means tri-SLI is supported. Just next to the power connectors is a set of voltage check points built into the PCB.
Along the bottom of the card, there really isn’t much to show other than the PCI-E connection area.
For display connectivity, we have one each of a Dual Layer DVI-D, Dual Layer DVI-I, HDMI, and DisplayPort. Full support for up to four monitors is possible here.
In order to relieve the DirectCU II cooler and back plate, there are four screws that must be removed from the back of the card then several more accessed from the top side of the card. While the DirectCU II cooler was making good contact with the GPU core, I did find the TIM application to be a bit on the heavy side. The aluminum back plate does not make contact with the PCB, so it really doesn’t provide much in the way of cooling. However, it gives a nice finished look to the card and also doubles as a stiffener to prevent the PCB from flexing. Using a back plate on a video card is becoming ever more popular among enthusiast users, so it’s nice to see ASUS recognize that and include one. Value add for sure.
The heatsink assembly features three 10 mm copper heatpipes that weave their way through the fin stack. Typically, heatsinks that have heatpipes making direct contact with the GPU perform much better than ones where the heatpipes pass through a solid block. ASUS also attached an additional heatsink over the MOSFETs that should get excellent airflow passing over it from the forwardmost fan. Speaking of fans, there are two 90 mm FirstD branded fans attached to the fan shroud. The front fan is what ASUS calls CoolTech Fan Technology. It boasts a hybrid blade and bearing design, which is said to provide multi-directional airflow via the inner blower and outer flower-type fan blades.
As you probably remember seeing in the features list above, the Striker Platinum GTX 760 features a Super Alloy Power 8-phase power design. Incorporated into this power design are the 10K Japanese-made black metallic capacitors, concrete (like) core chokes, and hardened MOSFETs. Controlling the voltage for the Super Alloy Power design is none other than the ASUS DIGI+ VRM. Other than the GPU core itself, the Striker Platinum is built on a completely custom PCB and bares little to no resemblance when compared to the reference design PCB.
The other thing ASUS usually makes a point of doing is positioning the POSCAPs directly behind the GPU core. This design gives the GPU core immediate access to their capacitance and should provide lower power noise and improve stability when overclocking.
I was glad to see the 4 GB of memory being used is from Hynix, as it seems to be a popular choice with the enthusiast/overclocking crowd. More precisely, the H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC memory ICs are used, which are rated for 6 GB/s at 1.5 V.
The last picture below is an up-close look at the Kepler GK104-225-A2 GPU core.
Once the card is installed and running, there are two green lights confirming the power leads are properly connected. If you forget to plug a cable in, or do so incorrectly, a red light will illuminate in place of the green. I’d like to see ASUS ditch the green light and just provide a red one to indicate the power cable needs attention. The green light takes away from the color scheme of the card in my opinion. In the picture below, you can also see a cool looking strip of red LEDs and the color coded ROG emblem up top.
Bundled Software / GPU Tweak
GPU Tweak is a full featured utility that allows for complete monitoring, overclocking, and has a version of GPU-Z built in. You can save up to six profiles as well, which can be a real time saver if you want to customize the card’s settings to a particular game. Voltage manipulation is also supported, depending on the video card installed.
Late last year, ASUS developed GPU Tweak Streaming, which allows you to stream your game play so others can watch it live.
The overclocking journey landed at 1185 MHz GPU base clock, 1250 MHz boost clock, and 1333 actual boost clock when under load. Unfortunately, GPU Tweak only had an option to set the memory up to 1652 MHz (6608 MHz quad pumped), but I felt it could do more than that. I tried Afterburner instead, and it allowed much higher memory frequency settings. Once I had the needed headroom, I was able to get the memory up to 1777 MHz (7108 MHz Quad pumped). So, we ended up with a stable +100 MHz GPU overclock and a +275 MHz overclock on the memory. By stable, I mean completing our entire test suite with no lockups or artifacts. As a side note, the power target limit was able to be set up to 120% instead of the typical 110/115% we see. GPU Tweak and Afterburner both had the higher power target limit available.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Formula|
|CPU||Intel i7 4770K Haswell|
|Memory||G.SKill TridentX DD3-2400 MHz 2x8GB @ 1866 MHz 9-9-9-24|
|SSD||Samsung EVO 500 GB SSD|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1050 Professional Series|
|Video Card||ASUS ROG Striker Platinum GTX 760 (335.23 Driver)|
|Cooling||Swiftech Apogee HD CPU Water Block – 360 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump|
We’ve got a good variety of comparison cards on tap for today’s comparison graphs, so let’s get after it! We’ll stick to the Overclockers.com GPU test procedure that we’ve been using since the Haswell platform was released. If you’re not familiar with our testing method, click on the link provided for more information. For quick reference, below is the down and dirty version of what we do.
- i7 4770K @ 4 GHz
- Dual Channel DDR3-1866 9-9-9-24
- GPU @ stock and overclocked
- Monitor capable of 1920×1080
- 3DMark Vantage – DirectX 10 benchmark running at 1280X1024 – Performance preset.
- 3DMark 11 – DirectX 11 benchmark running at 1280X720 – Performance preset.
- 3DMark Fire Strike – DirectX 11 benchmark running 1920X1080 – Standard test (not extreme).
- Unigine Heaven (HWBot version) – DX11 Benchmark – Extreme setting.
- Batman: Arkham Origins – 1920X1080, 8x MSAA, PhysX off, V-Sync off, The rest set to on or DX11 enhanced.
- Battlefield 4 – 1920X1080, Ultra Preset, V-Sync off.
- Bioshock Infinite – 1920X1080, Ultra DX11 preset, DOF on.
- Crysis 3 – 1920X1080, Very high settings, 16x AF, 8x MSAA, V-Sync off.
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – 1920X1080, Maximum preset.
- Grid 2 – 1920X1080, 8x MSAA, Intel specific options off, Everything else set to highest available option.
- Metro Last Light – 1920X1080, DX11 preset, SSAA on, Tessellation very high, PhysX off.
What you’re going to see in our synthetic benchmarks is the Striker Platinum GTX 760 dominating the R9 270X and consistently topping the MSI GTX 760 Gaming when left at stock speed. Once overclocked, it goes toe to toe with the reference GTX 770 and holds relatively tight to the HIS R9 280X.
Moving to our game benchmarks, we see a similar pattern as noted above. When overclocked, the Striker Platinum GTX 760 again performed pretty much on par with the GTX 770 and held tight to the R9 280X. As expected, outperforming the MSI GTX 760 Gaming and ASUS R9 270X DCU II Top proved to be no problem in our game tests.
A nice showing here for the Striker Platinum GTX 760, certainly nothing to complain about on the performance front.
Power Consumption and Temperatures
Power consumption numbers were impressive as is the case with most of today’s modern video cards. The numbers below reflect total system draw with the Striker Platinum GTX 760 installed in our Haswell based test system. Even with the card under full load and overclocked, the most we could record was 327 watts from the wall. A good quality 500 watt power supply could easily handle a well appointed system with this video card installed.
The newly designed DirectCU II cooler performed quite well under all testing scenarios. Leaving the fan speeds set to auto control resulted in maximum temperatures well below the thermal threshold. The fan speeds only ramped up to 47% when left on auto control, so you get the benefit of quiet operation and good cooling at the same time. If you crank the fans up to 100% speed, the temperatures drop dramatically and never even reached as high as 60 °C. At maximum speed, the noise they produce is noticeable, but not what I would call exorbitantly loud. Nothing to complain about here!
Pushing the Limits
I was able to get the GPU core up to 1225 MHz and get a run of 3DMark Fire Strike completed. This resulted in a boost clock of 1290 MHz with an actual boost clock of up to 1372 MHz. On the memory side, 1827 MHz (7308 MHz quad pumped) was obtainable. You’ve got to love that Hynix memory!
At the time of this writing, ASUS tells us the MSRP will be $309.99 and should be available at Newegg and Amazon very soon. Competitor cards with the same factory overclock and 4 GB of onboard memory sell in the $299 to $319 range, so the price point is right in line. At that price it’s a great deal considering the many features the Striker Platinum GTX 760 brings to the table. The card’s aesthetics are pleasing with the addition of the color coded load indicator, the red strip light, and the overall red/black theme. You’ll find overclocking very fruitful and easy to perform, although you’ll need a third party overclocking utility to get the maximum speed out of the Hynix memory. The enthusiast crowd will enjoy the benefits of the onboard 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and the terrific performance the improved DirectCU II cooler provides.
Wrapping things up here, we have a terrific performing, great looking, and feature packed offering by ASUS this time around. Let’s not forget the excellent overclocking and how well the DirectCU II cooler works, which add an additional layer of value to the card. If a GTX 760 based video card is on your radar, you definitely want to keep the ASUS Striker Platinum GTX 760 at the top of the list.