How much overclocking head room is there in Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 560 part? Gigabyte decided to find out by taking the non-Ti budget part, adding a second fan, and flogging the hell out of it.
The result is the Gigabyte GTX 560 Super Overclock.
For those out of the loop, the GeForce GTX 560 is built on a core with only 336 shader cores versus the 384 in the Ti version, as well as 56 texture units versus 64 in the Ti part. Stock cards run at 810MHz but Gigabyte gets a solid 11 percent overclock to 900MHz. Unlike its predecessor, the GeForce GTX 460 768MB, the GTX 560 gets a full 1GB of GDDR5 and the same memory bus width as the GTX 560 Ti card.
A second fan lets Gigabyte massively overclock the GeForce GTX 560.
The result is near–GTX 560 Ti performance, which is great. Also great: a price point of roughly $200-$220. MSI’s Twin Frozr II GTX 560 Ti card can be found for less than $250, so the GTX 560 is still priced lower, even overclocked.
The Gigabyte card is built with two of the biggest cooling fans we’ve seen on small videocards. They also use the newly fashionable narrow-blade design. So even with the core clock pushed to 900MHz, the card’s noise level isn’t offensive.
Other features are pretty standard. The card offers two dual-link DVI connectors and a Mini HDMI port. Two PCIe 6-pin connectors are needed for power. The card itself has some nifty power-phase status LEDs, which look cool if you’re someone who fancies transparent side panels on your PC chassis. As with every other graphics card maker, Gigabyte ships software to tune clock speeds. Honestly, though, it’s really not worth it—you’re already hitting more than 10 percent above stock.
In the end, though, performance is what counts. So how does Gigabyte’s $200 marvel actually measure up? Not bad. Not bad at all. We compared it to the 2GB Palit GTX 560, which runs at reference clocks, Asus’s overclocked Radeon HD 6870, and the MSI Twin Frozr II GTX 560 Ti. (The GTX 560 Ti is just offered as comparison, since it’s a $250 card.)
The outcome is pretty impressive. The Gigabyte card falls just short of the theoretically more capable GTX 560 Ti and crushes the real competition. The Radeon HD 6870 only managed a couple of wins, and even fell behind in idle power usage. About the only time the 2GB Palit card outperformed the Gigabyte 1GB card was when running Metro 2033 at 2560x1600 with 4x AA—that’s a scenario when more video RAM helps.
So if your graphics card budget is in the $200 range, give this card a close look. It’s fast, quiet, and will fit in most cases.
Impressive performance for the price; relatively quiet; moderate size.
Fan bulk makes adjacent slot usage problematic.
Gigabyte GTX 560 Super OC
Palit GTX 560 2GB
Asus Radeon HD 6870
3D Mark Vantage Perf
Unigine Heaven 2.1 (fps)
BattleForge DX11 (fps)
Fary Cry 2 / Long (fps)
HAWX 2 DX11 (fps)
STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps)
Just Cause 2 (fps)
Aliens vs. Predator (fps)
F1 2010 (fps)
Metro 2033 (fps)
Power @ idle (W)
Power @ full throttle (W)
*MSI N560GTX-Ti included for reference only. Best scores are bolded. 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.