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Maximum PC Staff May 17, 2011

Palit 2GB GTX 560 : Fast, Silent, Affordable

At A Glance

Palantir

Compact; low power; good performance for the price.

Magic 8-Ball

2GB frame buffer doesn't buy a lot of additional performance

Nvidia is steadily filling in the gaps in its product line. Late last year, Nvidia had the GTX 460 768MB and GTX 460 1GB cards. The 1GB GTX 460 was effectively replaced at the $250-$270 price point by the GTX 560 Ti. Now the company is delivering the GTX 560, which will be priced around $199 - $220.


Palit's GTX 560 offers 2GB of frame buffer, if that's what you're into.

Unlike the GTX 460 768MB cards, which only offered a 192-bit memory bus, the GTX 560 supports a 256-bit wide bus.
The Palit card is slightly unusual in supporting a 2GB frame buffer, but its specs are otherwise pretty stock. It’s not factory overclocked, but given the tweaking and streamlining that are part of the improvements of the GF114 (560) over the GF104 (460), we do expect some performance benefits. The GTX 560 does have eight fewer shader units than the GTX 560 Ti.

We tested the Palit card against the Radeon HD 6870, which fits into a similar price point, as well as a pair of factory overclocked Nvidia cards—the more expensive MSI GTX 560 Twin Frozr II card and the Asus GTX 460 TOP 1GB model. The 560 Ti scores are there for reference only – we only directly compared the Palit card to the Radeon HD 6870 and GTX 460 1GB cards, which are at the same general price point.

Palit spent some engineering effort into incorporating a slightly larger than normal 9cm, 15-blade fan design. The entire affair runs 3dB quieter and 6 degrees C cooler than the reference design. The card includes two dual-link DVI ports, an HDMI connector and an old-school VGA plug. It lacks a DisplayPort connector, though,  and only two monitors can be active at once. The card requires two PCI Express 6-pin power plugs. It’s a double-wide, full height card, but is just 7.5 inches long, so should fit in most PC cases.

The Palit GTX 560 card is a clear improvement over the 1GB GTX 460. It’s likely the 2GB frame buffer only had a minor impact; most of the improvements are due to the GTX 560’s higher clock speeds and streamlining of the internal circuitry since the FTX 460. Palit’s suggesting a $199 retail price for the card. Most GTX 560 cards will likely ship with 1GB of GDDR5, but will be factory overclocked. With the Palit 2GB card, you’re trading off core clock speeds for additional frame buffer. Even without overclocking, though, Palit’s GTX 560 2GB card acquits itself quite well indeed.

SPECS

Palit 560 GTX 2GB
MSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II

Asus ENGTX 460 TOP 1GB

Radeon HD 6870
Shader Cores*
336
384
336
 1120*
Memory Width
256-bit
256-bit
256-bit
 256-bit
Texture Units
56
64
56
56
ROPs
32
32
32
 16
Memory
2,048MB
1,024MB
1,024MB
1,024MB
Core Clock frequency
810MHz
880MHz
675MHz
800MHz
GDDR5 Memory Clock
1,002MHz
1,050MHz
900MHz
1,000
Transistor Count
1.95 Billion
1.95 Billion
1.95 Billion
2.15 Billion
Price$199
$250
$229
 $230

*AMD and Nvidia shader cores are not directly comparable.

Benchmarks

Palit GTX 560 2GB
Asus ENGTX 460 TOP 1GBAsus Radeon HD 6870 DirectCUMSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II
3DMark 2011
3,878 3,963 4,314 4,519
3DMark Vantage Perf
16,811  16,226 17,041 19,482
Unigine Heaven 2.1 (fps) 22  18 18 26
Crysis (fps)

23

 23 29 29
BattleForge DX11 (fps) 45  40 42 54
Far Cry 2 / Long (fps) 87  83 78 102
HAWX 2 DX11 (fps) 109  101 77 127
STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps) 36  35 34 44
Just Cause 2 (fps)41 35 35 42
Aliens vs. Predator (fps) 27  21 26 32
F1 2010 (fps)
45  43 54 52
Metro 2033 (fps)16 15 20 17
Power @ idle (W)
120 133 140 130
Power @ full throttle (W)310 298 252 305

Best scores between the Palit and Asus cards are bolded; MSI card is included for reference, but is not directly compared. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition in an Asus P6X58D Premium motherboard with 6GB of DDR3/1333 and an 850TX Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA.

THE VERDICT

Palit 2GB GTX 560 : Fast, Silent, Affordable

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