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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Don't forget to read our GTX 560 Ti 448 Roundup where we take a look at cards from EVGA, MSI and Gigabyte

Can anyone remember the last time either of the two big players introduced a new graphics card? If you think back far enough, you’ll remember it was NVIDIA with their GTX 560 (non-Ti) that was first glimpsed back in May of this year. Since then we have seen our fair share of manufacturer designed cards that somewhat bridge the gap between certain price points but new Radeon and GeForce branded products have been few and far between.

To be perfectly transparent here, neither AMD nor NVIDIA will have their third generation DX11 architectures ready in time for this year’s lucrative Christmas shopping season. But with so many new game titles clustered around the last few months of 2011, this could be a bumper year for GPU purchases. So NVIDIA decided to step up to the plate by taking advantage of some unused cores they have been holding onto since production of the GF110-series architecture commenced. The result is a 448-core card aptly named the GTX 560 Ti 448 which is a bit of a mash up between the high end GTX 570 and the hugely popular yet lower performing GTX 560 Ti.

GTX-560-448-18.jpg

In order to get to this point, NVIDIA had to scrounge up some cores that offered more performance than your typical GTX 560 Ti while being inexpensive to produce. Unfortunately, the GTX 560 Ti’s GF114 core was fully tapped out since its latest iteration uses the architecture’s full number CUDA cores, ROPs and memory controllers. This meant looking to the GF110 architecture.

In essence, these GTX 560s are using “failed” GF110 cores that couldn’t make it into the GTX 570 or GTX 580 and through a careful binning process NVIDIA has found enough viable samples to introduce a new, yet limited run of cards. These cores have a pair of Streaming Multiprocessors disabled for a total of 448 cores while the elimination of a single 64-bit memory controller means eight ROPs and 128 KB of L2 cache go down the proverbial drain as well. It is worth noting that with these changes, the GTX 560 Ti 448 has exact same core specifications as last year’s GTX 470.

GTX-560-448-59.jpg

When compared against the rest of NVIDIA’s current lineup, it is quite easy to see where the new GTX 560 Ti 448 fits in. Its use of the GF110 architecture necessitated lower clock speeds than its 384 core sibling so it wouldn’t step on the GTX 570’s toes. Nonetheless, we are seeing a return of a larger 320-bit GDDR5 interface and the GTX 570’s 1.28GB memory layout.

NVIDIA is threading a bit of a needle here though. While there may be a significant difference between the GTX 570 and GTX 560 Ti on paper and in benchmarks, there isn’t all that much separating one from the other when it comes to pricing. The GTX 560 Ti 448 does bridge this gap but its specifications should put it closer to the GTX 570 than its little brother so expect it to hit the $289 mark at launch. For some this may be a bitter pill to swallow considering certain loss-leader GTX 570s hitting about $300 but as market forces take hold, expect these low priced cards to become a thing of the past. In addition AMD’s HD 6950 2GB has very recently seen its price cut to $270 in preparation for the GTX 560 Ti 448’s launch so the battle between these two middleweights should be interesting to see.

GTX-560-448-20.jpg

As you may expect, the use of binned GF110 cores means there is a strictly finite number of GPUs available for this card. So expect the GTX 560 Ti 448 to be a limited edition product that will be around for the time being but once the initial run is sold out, finding one will become almost impossible. To ensure retail channels are sufficiently stocked and demand is somewhat controlled, NVIDIA has also decided to release this card in some markets but not others. North America, European Nordic countries, the UK, France, Germany and Russian retailers will all get stock while the rest of the world is out of luck this time around.

With prevalence of inexpensive 1080P monitors and visually stunning games like Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that NVIDIA is targeting this particular performance niche. When playing at 1080P or higher resolutions, the GTX 560 Ti is more than sufficient to play new games at medium detail settings but many will want Before the GTX 560 Ti 448, that meant stepping up to a $310 (or higher) GTX 570 or hop onto the AMD train by choosing a HD 6950 2GB. This new card meanwhile provides a value minded alternative and adds in Triple SLI compatibility for those who want a bit of extra firepower.

GTX-560-448-7.jpg

With the who’s who of board partners offering these cards, it should come as no surprise that every one of them is vying for your attention. Since NVIDIA doesn’t have a “reference” layout for the GTX 560 Ti 448, every card we have seen uses a different design and are usually tailor made to offer increased overclocking headroom and quiet, efficient cooling. The Gigabyte card we are using for this review is no exception since it retains NVIDIA’s default specifications and recommended price of $289 but sports a unique heatsink and custom PCB. Make sure you check our GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Roundup for a look at cards from EVGA and MSI as well.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Test System & Benchmark Sequences

Test System

Processor: Intel Core i7 920(ES) @ 4.0Ghz (Turbo Mode Enabled)
Memory: Corsair 3x2GB Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Cooling: CoolIT Boreas mTEC + Scythe Fan Controller
Disk Drive: Pioneer DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
Monitor: Samsung 305T
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1

Drivers:
NVIDIA 285.88 Beta (GTX 560 Ti 448)
NVIDIA 285.62 WHQL
AMD 11.10 WHQL

Application Benchmark Information:
Note: In all instances, in-game sequences were used. The videos of the benchmark sequences have been uploaded below.


Battlefield 3

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​

Crysis 2

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Deus Ex Human Revolution

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Dirt 3

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Metro 2033

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Shogun 2: Total War

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Witcher 2 v2.0

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​

*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 3 benchmark runs

All IQ settings were adjusted in-game
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
3DMark 11 (DX11)

3DMark 11 (DX11)


3DMark 11 is the latest in a long line of synthetic benchmarking programs from the Futuremark Corporation. This is their first foray into the DX11 rendering field and the result is a program that incorporates all of the latest techniques into a stunning display of imagery. Tessellation, depth of field, HDR, OpenCL physics and many others are on display here. In the benchmarks below we have included the results (at default settings) for both the Performance and Extreme presets.


Performance Preset

GTX-560-448-30.jpg


Extreme Preset

GTX-560-448-31.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Battlefield 3 (DX11)

Battlefield 3 (DX11)


For this benchmark, we used a sequence from the Rock and Hard Place mission. The results may seem lower than normal and this is due to the fact that after playing through the game multiple times, this one are was found to be the most demanding on the GPU. As with all of the tests, we try to find a worst case scenario in order to ensure a given card can properly play through the whole game instead of just a “typical” section.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-32.jpg


GTX-560-448-33.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-34.jpg


GTX-560-448-35.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Crysis 2 (DX11)

Crysis 2 (DX11)


Crysis 2 with the DX11 and Texture Package installed not only looks great but it is a strain on any GPU. For this benchmark, we used a classic runthrough which includes far views, explosions, combat and close-in knifing; basically every hallmark of gameplay.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-36.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-37.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution


Deus Ex: Human Revolution may not be the hardest game for today’s high end gaming rigs to render. While the game mostly takes place indoors, it is the few outdoor areas that put additional strain on graphics cards. So for this test, we use one of the more involved outdoor sections: the Sharif Manufacturing Loading Docks.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-39.jpg


GTX-560-448-40.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-41.jpg


GTX-560-448-42.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Dirt 3 (DX11)

Dirt 3 (DX11)


Dirt 3 isn’t all that much different from its predecessor but the developers have added a few more visual touches but boost image quality. In this case, we used the Michigan Rally track since it features some of the hardest to render features of the game: expansive vistas, water, dirt effects, trees and many other items.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-43.jpg


GTX-560-448-44.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-45.jpg


GTX-560-448-46.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


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.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-47.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-48.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Shogun 2: Total War (DX11)

Shogun 2: Total War (DX11)


Due to its very nature, Shogun 2 is a tough game to benchamark since the in-game tool doesn’t accurately convey an in-game experience. So we took a pre-recorded battle which pits three large armies against one another and includes camera zooms, fog, gun smoke and other items. Using a pre-recorded sequence also effectively removes the CPU from the equation since it doesn’t have to process AI.


1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-49.jpg


GTX-560-448-50.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-51.jpg


GTX-560-448-52.jpg
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
The Witcher 2 (DX9)

The Witcher 2 (DX9)


The Witcher 2 may be a DX9 based game but its graphics quality is beyond reproach. In this benchmark we take an area out of The Kayran mission and include one of the toughest effects the graphics engine has in store for the GPU: rain. Throughout this sequence, rain plays a large part but explosions, combat and even some sun shafts are included as well.

1680 x 1050

GTX-560-448-53.jpg


GTX-560-448-54.jpg


1920 x 1200

GTX-560-448-55.jpg


GTX-560-448-56.jpg


Please note that while the numbers seem to indicate that AMD cards win hands down in this game, the HD 6900-series cards have serious driver issues that caused noticeable stuttering in our gameplay sequence. This began with the 11.9 driver release and has continued through 11.10 and is still present in 11.11.

In the coming days we will post videos showing this but for the time being, take the AMD results in the graphs above with a grain of salt. While their framerates are good, the overall in-game experience leaves much to be desired.
 
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