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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core GPU Review
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Date: Nov 29, 2011
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction and Specifications
Just in time for the holiday buying season, NVIDIA is at the ready with a brand new graphics card. Sort of. Today, NVIDIA is announcing the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores. Some of you may be thinking, “Hey! GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards use the GF114 GPU which offers a maximum of 384 cores!” And you’d be right. This new GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores, however, isn’t built around the GF114 GPU. Rather, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores is outfitted with the same GF110 GPU powering the high-end GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 580, but with a couple of its SMs fused off.

There are some other factors that differentiate the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores from other GF110-based cards as well, but NVIDIA had a bin of the GPUs with 448 cores available and decided to put together a graphics card that would fill the gap between existing GeForce GTX 560 Ti and GeForce GTX 570. Instead of naming the card something like the GeForce GTX 565, however, NVIDIA chose the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores moniker because the card will be a limited edition. Once the bin of 448-core GF110 GPUs is gone, so will the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores. NVIDIA is also only offering this card in certain key regions—it won’t be a worldwide release.


Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition

NVIDA GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 Cores
Specifications & Features


The GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores has—you guessed it—448 CUDA cores arranged in 14 SMs, with 56 texture units and 40 ROPs. The reference specifications call for a 732MHz core clock with 1464MHz CUDA cores. 1.2GB of GDDR5 memory is linked to the GPU via a 320-bit bus and the memory is clocked at an effective 3800MHz data rate. The cards will require a pair of 6-pin PCI Express power leads and support up to 3-way SLI.

As is the case with most NVIDIA GPU releases, however, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores will be offered in overclocked editions by some of NVIDIA’s board partners. The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card you see pictured here is an overclocked variant.

 

 
Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition

The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition strays from NVIDIA’s reference design in that is sports a custom, single-fan cooler and overclocked GPU. The GPU clock is increased to 765MHz with 1530MHz CUDA cores, but the memory clock remains unchanged from the 3800MHz (effective data rate) of the reference design.

As you can see in the pictures above, the card is two-slots wide and features dual DVI outputs along with one HDMI output and one DisplayPort output.

Zotac includes a nice accessory bundle with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition as well. Along with the card itself, we found a user’s manual, quick installation guide, a Zotac case badge, two peripheral-to-6-pin power adapters, a VGA-to-DVI adapter, and a driver / utility disc that includes copies of vReveal, Nero Vision Xtra, CoolIris, XBMC, and Kylo. Although not pictured here, we’re told that Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition cards sold in the U.S. will also include a coupon code for a copy of Battlefield 3. Now that’s one heck of a game to bundle.

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Test Setup & Unigine Heaven

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards in this article on a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard powered by a Core i7 980X six-core processor and 6GB of OCZ DDR3-1333 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings (DDR3-1333, CAS 7) and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS and installed the latest DirectX redist, along with the necessary drivers, games, and benchmark applications.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 980X
(3.3GHz, Six-Core)
Gigabyte EX58-UD5
(Intel X58 Express)

Radeon HD 6870
Radeon HD 6950 1GB
Radeon HD 6850
Radeon HD 6970
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
GeForce GTX 570
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core 

6GB OCZ DDR3-1333
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX April 2011 Redist
ATI Catalyst v11.10
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers 285.88

Benchmarks Used:

Unigine Heaven v2.5
FarCry 2
Just Cause 2
Alien vs. Predator
Metro 2033
Lost Planet 2
F1 2010

Unigine Heaven v2.5 Benchmark
Pseudo-DirectX 11 Gaming


Unigine Heaven

Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v2.5 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion) It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.

The new GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card falls into place right where you'd expect it to in the Unigine Heaven benchmark, which is to say it was somewhat faster than the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but a hair slower than the higher-end GeForce GTX 570.
 

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FarCry 2 Performance

FarCry 2
DirectX Gaming Performance


FarCry 2

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry 2, using one of the built-in demo runs recorded in the "Ranch" map. The test results shown here were run at various resolutions with 4X AA enabled.

FarCry 2 tells essentially the same story as Unigine Heaven on the previous page. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card come in just ahead of the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but a bit behind the GeForce GTX 570. The higher GPU clock of the Zotac card also gives it a slight edge over the reference clocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core GPU.

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Just Cause 2 Performance

Just Cause 2
DX10.1 Gaming Performance


Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 was released in March 2010, from developers Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive. The game makes use of the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the similarly named original. It is set on the fictional island of Panau in southeast Asia, and you play the role of Rico Rodriquez. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article using one of the built-in demo runs called Desert Sunrise. The test results shown here were run at various resolutions and settings. This game also supports a few CUDA-enabled features, but they were left disabled to keep the playing field level.

At this point, it should come as no surprise that a specific trend is emerging. Once again, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition cards offered higher framerates than the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but just missed the mark set by the GeForce GTX 570.

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Metro 2033 Performance

Metro 2033
DirecX11 Gaming Performance


Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is your basic post-apocalyptic first person shooter game with a few rather unconventional twists. Unlike most FPS titles, there is no health meter to measure your level of ailment, but rather you’re left to deal with life, or lack there-of more akin to the real world with blood spatter on your visor and your heart rate and respiration level as indicators. The game is loosely based on a novel by Russian Author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Metro 2003 boasts some of the best 3D visuals on the PC platform currently including a DX11 rendering mode that makes use of advanced depth of field effects and character model tessellation for increased realism. This title also supports NVIDIA PhysX technology for impressive in-game physics effects. We tested the game resolutions of 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 with adaptive anti-aliasing and in-game image quality options set to their High Quality mode, with DOF effects disabled.

The same performance trend we've seen throughout all of our tests thus far played out again in Metro 2033. This time around, though, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition's performance was closer to the GeForce GTX 560 Ti than it was to the higher-end GeForce GTX 570.

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Lost Planet 2 Performance

Lost Planet 2
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance


Lost Planet 2

A follow-up to Capcom’s Lost Planet : Extreme Condition, Lost Planet 2 is a third person shooter that takes place again on E.D.N. III ten years after the story line of the first title. We ran the game’s DX11 mode which makes heavy use of DX11 Tessellation and Displacement mapping and soft shadows. There are also areas of the game that make use of DX11 DirectCompute for things like wave simulation in areas with water. This is one game engine that looks significantly different in DX11 mode when you compare certain environmental elements and character rendering in its DX9 mode versus DX11. We used the Test B option built into the benchmark tool and with all graphics options set to their High Quality values.


The performance trend continued in our Lost Planet 2 tests, but in this benchmark the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition offered performance well ahead of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and only slightly trailed the GeForce GTX 570.
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F1 2010 Performance

F1 2010
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance


F1 2010

Though Codemasters still continues to torture us with their ridiculously complicated labyrinth of game menus, we’ve found ourselves coming back to one of their titles for a taste of bleeding-edge DX11 benchmarking. F1 2010 is their latest racing simulation and like Dirt 2, it sports impressive visuals with DX11 support. “Ultra” settings for shadow effects and post processing elements like depth of field then become available to the gamer and in turn, crank up the workload on the graphics subsystem. The game engine also makes use of multi-core processors for higher performance on top-end systems. We tested the game configured with its Ultra graphics options at resolutions of 1920x1200 and 2560x1600.

The performance trend in the F1 2010 benchmark looked much like the one from LP2 on the previous page. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition was once again faster than the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and a touch slower than the GeForce GTX 570. But the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card's performance was much closer to the higher-end 570 than it was to the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti.

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Alien vs. Predator Performance

Alien vs. Predator
DirectX 11 Gaming Performance


Alien vs. Predator

The Alien vs. Predator benchmark makes use of the advanced Tessellation, screen space ambient occlusion and high-quality shadow features, available with DirectX 11. In addition to enabling all of the aforementioned DirectX 11 related features offered by this benchmark, we also switched on 4X anti-aliasing along with 16X anisotropic filtering to more heavily tax the graphics cards being tested.

Our final benchmark doesn't reveal anything new. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card finishes ahead of the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but behind the GeForce GTX 570.

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Total System Power Consumption

Before bringing this article to a close, we'd like to cover a few final data points--namely power consumption, noise, and overclocking. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and while under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Total System Power Consumption
Tested at the Outlet

As its framerates have suggested throughout our testing, the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card's power consumptions characteristics are in-line with is performance. While idling, the card consumed only slightly more power than the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and slightly less than the GTX 570. The same is true for its power consumption while under load, but it was closer to the GeForce GTX 570 than the lower-end Ti card.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: NVIDIA is positioning the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition card between the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti and the GeForce GTX 570 in its product stack, and that’s exactly how it performs. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition proved to be about 10% to 15% faster than the original GeForce GTX 560 Ti and a few percentage points slower than the GeForce GTX 570. In comparison to competing cards in the Radeon family, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition typically outran the Radeon HD 6950 and traded blows with the Radeon HD 6970.


Just in Time for the Holidays is right...

GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition cards will be available immediately from a number of NVIDIA’s key AIB partners, like Zotac, EVGA, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Gainward, Inno3D and Palit, in the US and Canada and across the pond in the UK, France, Germany, Russia, and Nordics, but it will not be a worldwide release. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core will be a limited edition product that’s not intended for every market and will likely sell out within a couple of months according to NVIDIA.

With that said, the card is a solid choice for the midrange. With prices ranging from $289 on up depending on the overclock and bundle (the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Limited Edition will sell for $299 and include a copy of BF3), it competes directly against the Radeon HD 6950 and falls in right between the GTX 560 Ti and 570. Considering the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core was faster than the 6950 overall, that’s a good position to be in. If you’re looking for a graphics card in this price range, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448-Core Limited Edition won’t disappoint.

  • Good Performance
  • Competitive Pricing
  • PhysX and CUDA Support
  • DX11 Support

  • GTX 570 and Radeon HD 6970 Priced Only Slightly Higher
  • Limited Edition Release



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