ASUS’s STRIX is the shortest card we tested at just 22cm (it’s pitched as being perfect for slotting into smaller mini-ITX and micro-ATX cases, and it’s hard to disagree), meaning it also has the smallest cooler — a twin-fan job that combines with some nice fat heat pipes.
Despite the smaller dimensions, the STRIX comes with a decently aggressive stock overclock of the GPU (1,253MHz vs the ’standard’ 1,126MHz) and RAM running at 3,600MHz, a fair bit higher than the Gigabyte GV-N960G1 Gaming-2GD and MSI MSI GTX 960 Gaming 2G cards. While the STRIX idled a bit hotter than its counterparts, at 42ºC vs the low 30s, under load it actually had the lowest temperatures of the lot, never rising above 65ºC, even when overclocked.
Speaking of the latter, the STRIX managed some of the highest overclocks, resulting in sustained GPU boost speeds upwards of 1,540MHz, giving you an extra 10% on average over its default configuration. That said, this was, oddly, the slowest overall in terms of real-world overclocked performance — though ultimately that means an end difference of 1-3fps at 1080p, at most, and less at higher resolutions.
We did like the outputs on offer — three DisplayPorts, one HDMI and one DVI offers a good mix of old and new, tilting a little towards the latter. And power wise, it only requires one 6-pin PCIe connector. Nice.
Verdict: A discrete card that’s cool under pressure.