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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Roundup: ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte & MSI

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Conclusion: ASUS & EVGA

Conclusion


As many of you probably expected from reading the first pages of this roundup, three of the cards performed in a nearly identical fashion but there are several differentiating factors between them. This lack of eye-opening speeds simply boils down to companies avoiding potential yield and stability issues by sticking with more conservative core and memory clocks. However, Gigabyte was able pull an ace out of their collective sleeves with the Super Overclock.

We know that most GTX 560 TI cards have the ability to hit 950Mhz without substantial voltage adjustments but to ensure longevity, caution must be exercised by board partners. Gigabyte did push things to some impressive lengths but their card is in the minority at this point. Thus, this first round of non-reference cards doesn’t feature many products pushing the absolute limits but as additional cores are binned for the FTW, Matrix, and other special editions; we’ll likely see some more absolutely blistering results.

Even though the framerate increase each card in this roundup offers over the reference-clocked solution ranged from noticeable to vertigo-inducing, we were actually more impressed with prices rather than overall performance. It isn’t every day the market sees overclocked, upgraded and custom cooled graphics cards without a price premium over the stock versions. For this reason alone, NVIDIA’s board partners should be accorded a great amount of respect.


ASUS GTX 560 Ti DirectCu II TOP


We have come to expect great things from ASUS’ recent crop of pre-overclocked graphics cards and the GTX 560 Ti TOP doesn’t disappoint. Aside from some impressive performance numbers, the main thing which sets it apart from the competition is the heatsink which sits atop the core. The newest evolution of the DirectCu cooler design helps lower the TOP’s temperatures past those of the reference card (which already boasts a respectable heatsink) while looking pretty damn good but it stops short of besting MSI’s numbers.

The voltage adjustments allowed by the outdated Smart Doctor software should allow this card to perform above and beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately, on all GTX 560 Ti cards we have found complete stability hard to come by at core speeds above the 1Ghz mark regardless of how much voltage was applied. The ASUS TOP wasn’t any different in this respect and actually stopped well short of the 1Ghz mark.

In our opinion, the TOP edition is one of the better GTX 560 cards on the market but there’s a price to pay for all the features ASUS crammed into it. Performance is identical to EVGA Superclocked and yet the DirectCu II carries a $269 price tag which is $10 more than its lifetime warranty-totting competitor. It also costs the same as the high end Super Overclock edition. Nonetheless, ASUS does have a winner on their hands, albeit at a slightly higher price than we expected.



EVGA GTX 560 Ti Superclocked


Historically, EVGA’s Superclocked Edition cards have switched between the high flying performers released when NVIDIA’s GTX 200-series were around to products sporting minor overclocks during the GTX 480 and GTX 470 days. The GTX 560 Ti edition brings this franchise back to its roots with respectable clock speeds, a good bump in framerates and of course, EVGA’s lifetime warranty.

Even though the reference-based Superclocked found itself facing custom designs from MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS in this roundup, it acquitted itself quite well. Overclocking was in line with what the other cards achieved, regardless of the slightly higher temperatures and performance was right where we expected it to be.

EVGA is quick to single themselves out as one of the few board partners who are using true GTX 560 board designs for their cards rather than just rehashing and refreshing GTX 460 boards for new use. The long term effects of using non-reference GTX 460 board designs for these higher-end chips is unknown but for the time being, we haven’t seen any tangible benefits of going EVGA’s route.

We’ll be the first to give credit where it’s due and the GTX 560 Ti Superclocked has proven itself to be an excellent choice. It is less expensive than the ASUS card and carries a mere $10 price premium over the lower clocked MSI card while sporting the sole lifetime warranty in this roundup. Like the Twin Frozer II, it also comes with a free copy of 3DMark 11. As such, it wins our Dam Good Value Award.

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,840
Location
Montreal
Conclusion: Gigabyte & MSI

Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti Super Overclock


In past reviews, Gigabyte’s Super Overclock series has run the gamut from impressive to lackluster but the GTX 560 Ti version surpasses expectations and breaks into the extraordinary category. From in-game performance to thermals to near silent operation, this card literally has it all. The fact that Gigabyte has introduced it so soon after launch makes this achievement all that more impressive, regardless of the slow trickle of cards appearing in the retail channel.

At $269, the Super Overclock is far from the least expensive GTX 560 on the market right now. However, a mere $20 premium is a small price to pay for a card that has the ability to crush a HD 6950 1GB and run neck and neck with the GTX 570.

There are a few things that we would change about Gigabyte’s card which have carried over from one generation of Super Overclock products to the next. The OC Guru software is still a travesty of epic proportions which is both poorly designed and overly complicated. Another issue is Gigabyte’s warranty length which looks like a standard 3 years at first glance but is actually 3 years from the date of manufacture so you will invariably be cut short once the card arrives. Such high performance also comes with an impressive jump in power consumption as well.

Even though there are a few stumbling points here, Gigabyte has one hell of a product on their hands. In our opinion, if you are looking for a GTX 560 Ti the Super Overclock is the card to get right now.

damgood.jpg
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MSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC


What MSI has achieved with the GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II OC is nothing short of jaw dropping. Somehow, they have been able to launch an overclocked, custom cooled product which includes upgraded components and a free copy of 3DMark II Advanced Edition without going one penny over NVIDIA’s MSRP for the reference version. In one fell swoop, MSI has undercut the competition with a superior product at a ridiculously low price.

Granted, the Twin Frozr II OC is a quarter step behind ASUS and EVGA when it comes to overall performance but the difference is between the cards will never, ever be apparent in-game. It also makes up for this minor shortcoming with core temperatures that defy belief and near-silent operation.

If anything, the GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozer OC has proven one thing: winning the performance crown doesn’t mean a damn thing. Even without offering blistering clock speeds, MSI’s card has set itself apart as one of the most appealing price-conscious GTX 560 TI products around.

 
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