Nvidia’s engineering teams have been pretty busy lately, reengineering and streamlining the previously inefficient Fermi architecture. We’ve seen the GTX 580 and GTX 570 released in recent months. Now it’s the sweet spot GPU, the GTX 460, getting the chip re-spin love. Dubbed the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, Nvidia is clearly hoping to recapture some of the thunder of the venerable GeForce 4400 Ti GPU from an earlier generation.
MSI’s Twin Frozr II cooler keeps the card running cool while pushing clock speeds 5 percent to 7 percent above reference clocks.
As the Maximum PC team noted earlier, the new chip, code-named GF114, now sports a full 384 shader cores, 1GB of GDDR5 and pushes the reference core clock speeds up to 822MHz. During the product briefing, Nvidia noted that the GPU has plenty of headroom for overclocking, and we’re seeing quite a few designs which push the clock speeds.
First up on the review platter is MSI’s N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II OC Edition. The OC Edition pushes the core clock speeds to 880MHz and the memory clock to 1050MHz. The twin fan design has been updated from the original Twin Frozr; it’s less bulky and heavy, plus it seems to be quieter than the original. MSI also claims that the board is less prone to warping when mounted in a vertical case and uses “military grade” components in its construction.
We popped the card into our graphics test system and took it for a spin. The MSI board is priced at $260, in the same range as competitive products. So just how well does the card perform versus the reference card and the earlier GTX 460? And what about AMD?
The MSI N560GTX-Ti pretty much hammers the overclocked Asus Radeon HD 6870. It even performs credibly against the XFX Radeon HD 6950, which wins more of the benchmarks, but by small margins—and loses several to the MSI 560 Ti.
The twin fan cooling system is about on par with the single fan card we’ve been testing here, and a little quieter to our ears than the Asus twin-fan 560 Ti we’ve also reviewed. At full throttle, power is a little higher than the HD 6870—but performance is also better. On the other hand, the MSI card only costs a little more than Nvidia’s suggested price for reference cards. For a few dollars more, you get 5 percent to 7 percent upclocks, better performance and a card that doesn’t generate vast amounts of heat and noise. That’s a good deal in our books.
MSI NGTX560 Ti Twin Frozr OC
Impressive performance for the dollar and the watt; good noise level; 3DMark 2011 Advanced Included
Warranty is limited; power plugs a little hard to reach
Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Reference
Asus ENGTX 460 TOP 1GB
Asus Radeon HD 6870 DirectCU
XFX Radeon HD 6950
3DMark Vantage Perf
Unigine Heaven 2.1 (fps)
BattleForge DX11 (fps)
Far 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)
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 7 Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA. Note that lower numbers are better for power consumption.