The rise in popularity of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games like Dota 2 and League of Legends hasn't escaped Nvidia's notice, and the latest graphics card from the company comes with an earnest love note attached for those gamers. The GTX 960 is the junior member of Nvidia's latest 900 series of Maxwell GPUs, scaling down the capabilities of the GTX 980 and 970 into a smaller package that's less demanding on both your power supply and wallet.
Despite the unprecedented power efficiency of Nvidia's current high-end cards, their price remains a big hurdle for many people considering an upgrade, with Nvidia finding that its most popular GPUs among MOBA gamers are its x60 series: the GTX 460, 560, 660, and 760. Two out of every three gamers are using a GTX 660 or older, says Nvidia, and the new GTX 960 is how the company hopes to convince them to step up to its latest hardware. Neither League nor Dota 2 have the highest of graphical requirements around, but Nvidia makes a compelling case with its 4K downscaling technology, which renders the game in 4K resolution and then converts it to a 1080p image that is sharper and smoother than anything achievable when rendering at 1080p directly. The old GTX 660 didn't have the horsepower to pull this off at a reasonable frame rate, but the new GTX 960 does.
Beyond trying to appeal to MOBA gamers, Nvidia's new card also represents a great choice for those looking to build small or quiet PCs with plenty of graphics-processing power inside. The 960 has a 120W TDP, requires only a single 6-pin power connector, and can even run silently at a measly 30W when playing League of Legends at max settings and 1080p resolution. The other side of that coin is that the 960 has plenty of overclocking room if you're not content with gaming at the most popular 1080p resolution, with Nvidia saying this card was "built for overclocking."
Whichever way you look at it, the GeForce GTX 960 represents a compelling combination of modern technology (including support for Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 12), extreme power efficiency, and affordable pricing. Nvidia's hardware partners are set to offer a wide range of choices when it comes to cooling and factory speeds, allowing you to pick the perfect card for your gaming needs. The GTX 960 is available immediately at a suggested retail price of $199.