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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Roundup (EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI)

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SKYMTL

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Also be sure to read our primary GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Review

The GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores has landed and while our initial article focused upon all things reference clocked, NVIDIA’s board partners are in the process of making things interesting. Unlike most other graphics card launches, this new GF110-based product doesn’t have a “reference” design -other than some NVIDIA-determined minimum clock speeds- so there will be a wide variety of offerings from just about everyone. There will be plenty overclocked SKUs and a good helping of custom coolers scattered throughout the GTX 560 Ti 448 range even though this card will have a very limited run.


The GTX 560 Ti “448” uses a cut-down and massaged GF110 core in the place of the original GTX 560 Ti’s fully tapped out GF114. NVIDIA has been quite straightforward regarding the origins of these cores too. As many have already guessed, they couldn’t make the grade for GTX 570 or GTX 580 cards so instead of being thrown out; NVIDIA is using them as a market niche filler for the Christmas season.

More often than not, giving AiBs carte blanche does have some pitfalls since expanding upon a predetermined set of specifications does tend to drive up end user cost. We’ve seen this happen with almost every launch; NVIDIA or AMD introduce a new card and their partners try to make a quick buck by selling mildly overclocked versions for outrageous prices. Luckily that situation isn’t repeating itself with the GTX 560 Ti 448 since most cards will be retailing for NVIDIA’s SEP of $289 or at the most $305, regardless of clock frequencies or value added features. The reason for this quite simple: any higher and you get dangerously close to GTX 570 territory.

With these points in mind, we set about getting our hands on as many GTX 560 Ti 448 cards as we could and EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI all answered the call. What we have is a good representational cross section of the cards available at launch. Unfortunately, due to the finite number of cores being made available by NVIDIA, what you see is what you get when it comes to selection from the eight board companies carrying this new card across North America and parts of Europe. So if something in this roundup catches your attention, jump on it at the first chance because chances are that channel stock will dry up in a matter of weeks.

 
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SKYMTL

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EVGA GTX 560 Ti Classified

The Complete Specifications



Being this is a launch day review, one may expect most of these cards to sport the same basic specifications but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

While Gigabyte brings up the rear, their card actually has the lowest price of the bunch at $289. MSI brings up the middle ground with some moderate overclocks but their Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC is also the most expensive of the bunch at $310. Last but not least, EVGA has thrown a wrench into the works by pricing their high flying Classified model at only $299, or $10 more than NVIDIA’s SEP (suggested etail price).


Much like the clock speeds, the lengths of these cards run the gamut. The MSI Twin Frozr III is by far the most compact at a mere 10” while EVGA brings up second place at a reasonable 10.5” from tip to tail. Gigabyte’s card meanwhile really pushes the envelope at 11.25” due to its gargantuan heatsink design.



EVGA GTX 560 Ti Classified


Part Number: 012-P3-2068-KR
Warranty: 3-Years (Upgrades available: $15 / 5 Years, $30 / 10 Years)
Price @ Launch: $299 USD


In the past EVGA partook in the overclocking game with their competitors but for some reason stayed out of the custom cooling / up upgraded components game. Not anymore. Along with some other cards in their GTX 500-series range, the GTX 560 Ti 448 Classified is a huge step towards offering a serious enthusiast product. It has a massive dual fan heatsink, an expanded 6-phase PWM and a number of other features.

It certainly looks like EVGA has designed a beast and the Classified’s clock speeds lend some truth to this perception. However pricing came as a pleasant surprise to us: $299, or $10 more than NVIDIA’s suggested etail price. Some may complain that this card has EVGA’s “shorter” 3-year warranty and lacks access to their famous Step Up program but upgrades to both can be purchased. Plus, we highly doubt most will keep the Classified for more than three years anyways.


Other than the aforementioned heatsink and the expanded power distribution design, EVGA has packed a few more notable features into their Classified. The board is equipped with a 6+8 pin power design which should come in handy when going for higher overclocks and there is a glowing logo on the heatsink shroud’s side.


Flipping the card over reveals a PCB reminiscent of the one found on NVIDIA’s reference GTX 470 with populated 10 memory IC spots and a small cut out to facilitate heatsink ventilation. On the original Fermi cards, the opening in the PCB was used for increased airflow towards the fan when they were installed in an SLI configuration. In this case it pulls double duty as an extra exhaust port for the hot air generated by the heatsink.

All of the exterior PCB markers point towards the distinct possibility that EVGA took a GTX 480 PCB and simply installed a GF110 core onto it. If this is the case, you can bet that the Classified will never have to worry about stressing the PWM, even when overclocked to extreme levels.

The Classified’s backplate uses EVGA’s High Airflow Bracket which is supposed to further increase airflow. In this case we doubt this design does much since the fans aren’t directional and won’t benefit from far-away openings. For those wondering, there is also a pair of DVI connectors and a single mini HDMI 1.4a output (a mini HDMI to full size adaptor is included in the accessory package.
 

SKYMTL

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Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti 448

Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti 448


Part Number: GV-N560448-13I
Warranty: 3 Years from date of manufacture
Price @ Launch: $289 USD


Much like EVGA, Gigabyte has gone for the path less travelled when designing their GTX 560 Ti 448. They have used their Windforce 3X heatsink which is capped by three large (but quiet) 80mm fans and looks slightly awkward perched atop such a short PCB.

While the overall design of this GTX 560 looks like nothing we’ve seen before, its clock speeds stick to the reference speeds and the warranty period is Gigabyte’s usual 3 years. This card’s price however is particularly interesting since it should stick to the $289 “reference” price which could make for a phenomenal value.


The Windforce 3X cooler uses a large copper vapor chamber which also covers the memory modules and a truly impressive looking heatpipe to achieve optimal cooling efficiency. While the heatsink may look familiar, the PCB itself seems to be a custom designed affair that has been tailor made for the GTX 560 Ti 448. It does use Gigabyte’s usual blue but we’re reasonably sure this layout hasn’t been used on a previous card.


The heatsink’s huge size means it sticks out over the PCB’s edge by a good 1.5”, making the Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti 448 the longest card in this roundup at 11.25”. We can also see that unlike the EVGA card, this one adheres to a dual 6-pin power connector layout.

The backplate is a custom design with dual DVI connectors and full sized outputs for HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort.
 

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MSI GTX 560 Ti 448 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC

MSI GTX 560 Ti 448 Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC


Part Number: N560GTX-T1 448 Twin Frozr III PE/OC
Warranty: 3 Years
Price @ Launch: $310 USD


Say hello to the card with the longest name (and highest price) in this roundup: the MSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr III Power Edition OC. As one might infer from the name, this card uses MSI’s iconic Twin Frozr III heatsink design, have the ability for Triple Overvoltage control through the Afterburner software and comes with a pre overclocking.

The increase in clock speeds is minor at best (an 18MHz bump on the core and 100MHz more for the GDDR5) but the Power Edition’s feature list reads like a what’s what of enthusiast components. Along with the aforementioned Triple Overvoltage and Twin Frozr III heatsink, it also uses a 6+1 PWM design, Military Class II components, a switch for changing between Performance and Silent fan speed profiles and has the shortest length in this roundup at just 10”.


The Twin Frozr III heatsink uses a design that has been often imitated but never duplicated. It uses a total of five large heatpipes which begin at a core contact plate and make their way up into a large aluminum fin array that is capped by a pair of large, quiet PWM fans. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences with this setup and it should perform admirably here as well.

In order to better cope with the heatsink’s excess weight, MSI has added a full length metal stiffener bracket alongside one of the PCB’s edges. This works toward minimizing PCB flex and could increase the card’s longevity.


MSI’s Power Edition maintains NVIDIA’s reference specification with a pair of 6-pin power connectors which should provide more than enough power for excess overclocking. Meanwhile, the backplate features a pair of DVI outputs and a single mini HDMI connector.
 

SKYMTL

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Test System, Setup & 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

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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



Extreme Preset

 

SKYMTL

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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





1920 x 1200



 

SKYMTL

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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



1920 x 1200

 

SKYMTL

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)


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





1920 x 1200



 

SKYMTL

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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





1920 x 1200



 
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