Just Cause 2 has quickly become known as one of the best-looking games on the market and while it doesn’t include DX11 support, it uses the full stable of DX10 features to deliver a truly awe-inspiring visual experience. For this benchmark we used the car chase scene directly following the Casino Assault level. This scene includes perfectly scripted events, some of the most GPU-strenuous effects and lasts a little less than four minutes. We chose to not use the in-game benchmarking tool due to its inaccuracy when it comes to depicting actual gameplay performance.
Lost Planet is a game that was originally released on consoles but in its port over to the PC, it gained some highly impressive DX11 features. For this benchmark, we forgo the two built-in tools and instead use a 2 minute gameplay sequence from the second level in the first chapter. The reason we use this level is because it makes use of three elements that are seen throughout the game world: jungles, water and open terrain.
There has been a lot of buzz about Metro 2033 which has mostly centered on its amazing graphics coupled with absolutely brutal framerates on even the best GPUs on the market. For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.
Unigine’s Heaven benchmark is currently the de-facto standard when it comes to simple, straightforward DX11 performance estimates. While it is considered a synthetic benchmark by many, it is important to remember that no less than four games based on this engine will be released within the next year or so. In this test we will be using a standard benchmark run with and without tessellation enabled at three resolutions,
GPGPU: Folding @ Home Performance & Power Consumption
One of the cornerstones of consumer GPGPU performance has always been a card’s ability to crunch numbers for distributed computing projects like Stanford’s Folding @ Home program.
In this test, we use the latest GPU3 client on a number of cards and let it run for 24 hours in order to get an approximate PPD average. Since this is the beta of GPU3, the quantity of projects is limited which helps give a slightly more accurate comparison between the GPUs. In order to monitor PPD, we used the HFM.net program. Note that results are based off of a single project: 6805.
Performance for the GTX 560 Ti with this WU is actually quite close to that of the GTX 570 due to higher clock speeds. Other upcoming projects may take better advantage of the additional cores higher end cards come equipped with but for the time being, the GTX 560 seems to be an excellent option for people with Folding rigs.
For whatever reason this newer project increases power consumption of Fermi-based GPUs when compared to past examples. Nonetheless, the GTX 560 Ti proves to be quite efficient.
For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at it highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.
For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.
The GTX 560 Ti follows in the GTX 460’s footsteps with an extremely small acoustical profile; one which puts the HD 6900-series to shame. In addition, NVIDIA has effectively expanded the heatsink design which leads to some excellent temperatures being reported. Hopefully, this will allow for much higher clock speeds to be attained.
System Power Consumption
For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.
Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.
Even though NVIDIA lists the GTX 560 Ti as having a TDP of only 10W more than the GTX 460, as we can see above this doesn’t necessarily lead to a mere 10W increase in power consumption. Nonetheless, this new card remains highly efficient considering the performance it delivers.
The GTX 460 was know as one of the better overclockers of its generation and believe it or not, the GTX 560 Ti takes things to another level. Using EVGA's excellent Precision tool, core speeds hit an incredible 991Mhz while the memory wasn't all that far behind and posted an increase of more than 400Mhz. We wouldn't be surprised to see quite a few of these cards clock past the 1Ghz mark.
The resulting performance from these overclocks is nothing short of incredible for a card which costs $250. At launch, we should also see quite a few pre-overclocked SKUs, some of which will have incredible clock speeds.
A little more than six months ago, NVIDIA took the wrapper off their GF104 architecture to rave reviews and excellent sales figures. Now with the introduction of the GF114-based GTX 560 Ti we are seeing a continuation of NVIDIA’s winning ways in a highly popular price bracket.
What has happened with the GTX 560 Ti shouldn’t be lost on anyone because we are finally seeing some serious forwards movement in a market that had almost stagnated. In a mere six months this new card has been released at almost the same price as the GTX 460 was and yet provides an average of 35% better performance without consuming significantly more power. In our books, that’s impressive.
When compared against its immediate competition, the GTX 560 Ti simply steamrolls the HD 6870 1GB at the resolutions which most gamers use and even runs neck and neck with the higher priced HD 6950 1GB. These statistics may look great but its performance against the GTX 470 is what really shows the kind of strides NVIDIA has been making with their refreshed cards.
By now it should be obvious that a 2GB frame buffer just isn’t needed on a card in the sub-$300 market but what this seems to be lacking is bandwidth. Even though the battle between the HD 6950 1GB and GTX 560 Ti swings back and forth from one game to the next, the NVIDIA card almost always looses out in bandwidth limited situations. In our opinion, GF114 has the Cayman Pro beat hands down from an architectural perspective but it lacks a real finishing punch at slightly higher resolutions.
It is important to remember that high resolution gaming isn’t usually on the minds of people looking at $250 graphics cards. Because of this, NVIDIA decided to focus their performance aspirations towards gamers using sub-27” monitors and ended up producing a highly versatile product that posts absolutely impressive numbers at key resolutions. From a performance per dollar standpoint, the GTX 560 Ti even makes the $289 HD 6950 2GB look like an overpriced also-ran instead of a market leader. Even the launch of 1GB Cayman Pro cards does nothing to shake the feeling that GF114 is the right architecture being introduced at the great time with a highly competitive price. Sure, the HD 6950 1GB gives the GTX 560 a run for its money but the NVIDIA card still edges it out in the overall cost category, surefire availability and its ability to overclock like no-one's business
In our opinion, the GTX 560 Ti is one of the best cards released in the last year or so. It is literally a perfect sub-$300 product which is quieter and more efficient than the competing AMD cards and even puts the once-mighty GTX 470 to shame. March marks the beginning of the busy PC and console game spring release season and the GTX 560 Ti is in an enviable position to take advantage of this upsurge in demand.
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