GeForce GTX 960 vs. Radeon R9 380 - differences?


I'm thinking about upgrading my system with a new GPU.
My Radeon HD 7770 is not enough for smooth XCOM 2 and Dark Souls 3.

So I've got stuck on the price range of about 200€, that seem doable for me as a carefull student.
Now I'm thinking, should I get a GTX 960 or rather a R9 380?
What exactly are the differences? I've looked them up and I'm not quite sure, which one is better.

I'll summarize the different specs:

GTX 960:
GPU freq: 1241 MHz
Streaming cores: 1024
RAM: 1752 MHz / 128 bit
Power consumption: 120 W

R9 380:
GPU freq: 1010 MHz
Streaming cores: 1792
RAM: 1450 MHz / 256 bit
Power consumption: 225 W

So my take away is, that GTX 960 is faster clocked, but has less streaming units and less bit on the RAM.
What exactly does it mean, if the RAM has 128 bit or 256 bit?
And is it better to have more streaming cores that are a bit slower, or less units that are faster? (I assume the first is better?)

I'm a bit rusty on GPUs, so I'm asking here the real experts :)
Which one would you recommend me?

You shouldn't compare the amount of stream processors and frequencies between different uarchs, only with very similar cards like 390 and 390x and so on.

1 Like

I was not aware of that.
Is it because the architecture has such a huge impact on performance between different cards?

The R9-380 is Faster than the 960 from a performance standpoint.

As for Stream Processor vs CUDA cores.. That means nothing in the real world when it comes to gaming performance..

What determines how good a GPU is how many Texture units it has, its Clockspeed, and how much Video memory it has.

Basically AMD and Nvidia GPUs are like Porsche and Ferrari. They work on the same principal, doing the same job, but completely different implementations.
There is no way you can compare them. Nvidia still somehow uses lower bandwidth and have similar results...
Now, 380 outperforms 960 in DX11 and destroys 960 in DX12. That is something, you can compare. Also it consumes twice the power of 960. That is another thing you can compare. And is similarly priced. So price to performance it is better. However it is warmer, so tiny cases, not well ventilated cases, etc may be problematic.


You can't really compare them at all, and Nvidia calls them CUDA cores by the way.
They're all called unified shaders, and it has been used in all DX10 cards and up.

Good example is 5870 vs gtx 580.
5870 : GTX 580
Shaders. 1600 vs 512
Clockrate. 700MHz vs 772 MHz

One would kinda expect the 5870 to be faster no? It in real life the 580 is considerably faster.

Comparing cores and frequencies between cards is a bad idea unless it uses the same basic chip.

As for your question, 4gb 380 all the way.

1 Like

I see :o
Interesting, how very different nVidia vs. Radeon performs.
I guess, I'll go for the R9 380 then. That was my favourite in the first place, but I wasn't so sure.

Thanks :)

grab a 4gb version of the 380 if you can.

4GB would definetly be my target.
Both GTX 960 and R9 380 have 4GB versions with only about 10€ more to the price in comparisson to the 2GB versions.

Definitely try for the 4gb 380, its a much better card than the 960 :D

One thing to note about AMD cards, especially GCN ( their architecture name ) is that it tends to improve over time a lot more than Nvidia cards.
AMD can't do as much optimization as Nvidia can, A: Because they have a smaller budget, B: because Nvidia has tons of code in games that only they can optimize for properly.

Over time you're going to see the perf gap between the 380 and 960 get wider and wider.

Those reasons given by @Castellorizon plus add in the fact that Nvidia will probably nerf the performance of the 9xx series like they did with the 7xx series and the 380 will last much longer. Furthermore, if you are looking at getting an adaptive sync panel someday it should be noted that a freesync panel will be a minimum of $100 less than an equivalent Gsync (I've seen the difference over $250 at times and others probably even higher than that). Yes AMD is much better than Nvidia in dx12 (thanks to dx12 taking a lot of elements from mantle).

For these reasons I'd go for AMD, but personally, I'd wait to see what the new chips are going to do to the market. There will be an influx of current gen cards on the used market as people upgrade to the newer stuff so you might be able to grab those up for cheap.

1 Like

380 will be faster on average, has better DX12 support, and will save you cash on an adaptive sync display should you get one.

Should get a 4GB version $189

Although if you see a 380X for $200, and no more than 200, that would probably be worth the jump.


If you have to buy one now, get the 4gb 380 (or the 380x but the value on that one isn't too great but if you see one close to the price of a 4gb 380 just grab it). If you can wait, you might want to wait for the things polaris has to offer

I came here to say the same thing.

It will really depend on the game too. Some games the 960 will be better in others the 380, but as Streetguru said on average the 380 is faster.

One thing nice about being an AMD fan. No wasting time with reading stuff Just get a 380

One nice thing about being a lazy Linux user. Just get the 760

1 Like

You should focus on bandwith, where AMD reks Nvidia on this occasion.