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The Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Review: Take Off Your Ti

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Review: Take Off Your Ti
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Nvidia strips the Ti moniker and some performance from its GeForce GTX 560 Ti in order to create a new lesser-priced model. Can the company's GeForce GTX 560 stand up to AMD's popular Radeon HD 6870, or does it fall short of the value mark?

Nvidia and AMD go to great lengths to make sure they offer an alternative to every single one of their competitor’s products. No price point gets dominated by one graphics card for very long.

Cases in point: Nvidia recently launched its GeForce GTX 550 Ti to compete with the Radeon HD 5770/6770, and AMD just introduced the Radon HD 6790 to compete with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 768 MB.

Today, Nvidia throws another reactionary jab: GeForce GTX 560. Note the lack of a ‘Ti’ designation. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti is pitted against AMD's Radeon HD 6950 1 GB. So, this new product is destined to do battle with the slightly cheaper Radeon HD 6870, a card that exists for roughly $200 online.

How exactly does Nvidia turn a GeForce GTX 560 Ti into a GeForce GTX 560? Yes, it involves more than removing the suffix. Its GF114 ASIC ends up taking a slight beating from the Nerf bat.

That is to say Nvidia disables a single Streaming Multiprocessor (SM). The GeForce GTX 560 operates using seven of GF114’s eight SMs. Each functioning SM has 48 shader cores, four dispatch units, and eight texture units. All four 64-bit ROP partitions are enabled, each capable of handling eight 32-bit integer pixels per clock cycle. As a result, the GeForce GTX 560 has 336 shader cores, 56 texture units, and 32 ROPs, with a 256-bit memory interface. 

If those specs sound vaguely familiar, that's because they’re the same as Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460 1 GB. It makes sense; after all, the GF114 is functionally identical to GF104. It was simply reworked to deliver higher clocks while using less power. With this in mind, you might assume that GeForce GTX 560 is intended to replace the GeForce GTX 460. But there's one more variable to consider: clock rates. The reference GeForce GTX 460 has a 675 MHz core and 900 MHz GDDR5 memory. But GeForce GTX 560 sports an 810 MHz core and 1002 MHz memory—much closer to the GeForce GTX 560 Ti’s 822/1022 MHz core and memory combination. 

Now, we all remember that the GeForce GTX 460 scales incredibly well when it gets overclocked. So, we expect the GeForce GTX 560 to give AMD's Radeon HD 6870 a run for its money. Speaking of the competition, let’s consider the similarly-priced options:


GeForce GTX 460 1 GBGeForce GTX 560 1 GBGeForce GTX 560 Ti 1 GBRadeon HD 6870 1 GB
Shader Cores
336336
384
1120
Texture Units
5656
64
56
Full Color ROPs
3232
32
32
Graphics Clock
675 MHz810 MHz
822 MHz900 MHz
Shader Clock
1350 MHz1620 MHz1644 MHzN/A
Memory Clock
900 MHz1002 MHz1002 MHz
1050 MHz
GDDR5 Memory
1 GB
1 GB1 GB1 GB
Memory Interface
256-bit256-bit
256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth
115.2 GB/s128.2 GB/s128.2 GB/s
134.4 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate
37.8 GTex/s45.4 GTex/s52.5 GTex/s50.4 GTex/s
Connectors
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DVI,
1 x HDMI,
2 x DisplayPort
Form Factor
Dual-slotDual-slotDual-slotDual-slot
Power Connectors
2 x 6-pin2 x 6-pin2 x 6-pin2 x 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply
450 W450 W500 W500 W
Thermal Design Power
160 W160 W
170 W151 W


The chart makes it easier to see that GeForce GTX 560 is essentially a GeForce GTX 460 overclocked to GeForce GTX 560 Ti levels.

Nvidia didn't provide a reference board for this launch. Instead, it directed us to a couple of its board partners. We have two cards in the lab for this introduction: Zotac's GeForce GTX 560 AMP! Edition and Asus' GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP.

Nvidia’s New 275.20 Driver

In addition to the new graphics card, Nvidia is also taking advantage of today's launch to introduce its next GeForce driver iteration. In addition to the usual claims of performance increases—specifically for Crysis 2, Portal 2, and Bulletstorm—there are some interesting new features included.

You may be familiar with the update notifications included in the 270-series drivers, where you're told when a new driver is available for download. According to Nvidia, over 90% of users with that driver opt to enable this feature. In the new 275.20 release, SLI and AA updates can be set to automatically download. Then, you can see which updates were installed by looking at a history tab in the driver control panel. 3D Vision profiles are scheduled to be added in a future driver revision, but Nvidia didn’t commit to a date for this.

Speaking of 3D Vision, there are also few enhancements included in the driver. More than 525 game profiles are now included, the 3D Photo viewer now has windowed support, and the Portal 2 profile is tweaked to fix some issues, so the game now carries an Excellent rating.

Nvidia also ties in improvements to the driver’s desktop scaling options. The new interface shows a much-needed preview of what you can expect to see after picking new settings. Moreover, there's an option to override game settings for Windows 7, an OS that has a bad habit of ignoring driver settings in the past. Nvidia dedicated significant effort to guiding users through disabling overscan on their televisions. And where overscan cannot be disabled, the driver creates a custom-resized resolution with 1:1 pixel mapping, in addition to resizing standard resolutions for games that don't support custom values.

Display 80 Comments.
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  • 8 Hide
    rolli59 , May 17, 2011 1:24 PM
    I am just surprised they did not call it SE!
  • 6 Hide
    daygall , May 17, 2011 1:26 PM
    All these naming schemes are giving me a freakin head ache stupid derp companies, why cant both of them just stick with 1 naming scheme for a while

    if its not amd mucking with my mind and HD6870
  • 0 Hide
    daygall , May 17, 2011 1:28 PM
    srry for the dbl post... but half my comment disapeared ....

    EDIT* if its not amd mucking with my mind and HD6870 < HD5870 = HD6970

    its Nvidia and GTX460 < GTX560Ti >
  • 1 Hide
    kcorp2003 , May 17, 2011 1:53 PM
    so that disable part can be flash to re-enable it?
  • 4 Hide
    NuclearShadow , May 17, 2011 2:04 PM
    The naming is certainly for marketing purposes. People are not attracted to lower numbers even when they are more fitting when it comes to new products.
    Yes companies exploit this but on the other hand would their product sell if they didn't? At-least now as well as it would otherwise.

    Take the Xbox 360 as a example. Its predecessor was simply "Xbox"
    It's not the 3rd console of the series and certainly isn't the 360th.
    The 360 is completely meaningless in the name when it comes to the product.
    They didn't want to name it Xbox 2 for the simple reason that loss of sales may occur because of the PS3's 3. They felt that some consumers may feel that because of the higher number the PS3 is superior and should buy that instead. As silly as this may sound to everyone they very likely are correct. Hence why the Xbox 360 was named such. But can you really blame them?

    Final note: I personally find the 360's name funny as it would mean the Xbox 360 by name would be right at where the Xbox is and not of any change.
  • -5 Hide
    geekapproved , May 17, 2011 2:05 PM
    Stupid strategy. MOst people are buying 560ti's and 6950 1GB's. Not 6870's and surely not 560's.
  • 1 Hide
    bobdozer , May 17, 2011 2:30 PM
    Anybody else notice that there is always an nvidia card at the top of toms video reviews?

    Why stop at the 560 TI? You can't use price as an excuse this time around because it costs about the same as the 6950.
  • 6 Hide
    bobdozer , May 17, 2011 2:36 PM
    The conclusion is pretty bad.

    Newegg has a bunch of 6870's costing less than $200 (one is $173 with rebate + free Shogun total war).

    So it's slightly faster, has much better minimum framerates, consumes much less power and is cheaper. I don't see any compelling reason to buy this 560.
  • 1 Hide
    hangfirew8 , May 17, 2011 3:02 PM
    Where did you get those puny memory bandwidth values from? HS has the 560TI at 128.3GB/s. You have 4GB/S. Has Nvidia started selling the Fx5200 again?
  • 1 Hide
    elbert , May 17, 2011 3:21 PM
    The 560GTX SLI had no crossfire setup to compare. Was this due to the 560GTX SLI only compares to a 6850CF? The 560ti SLI v/s 6870 CF is a very good compare. In the link the 560ti SLI has 2 wins, 2 losses, and one near tie with 6870 CF.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gtx-560-ti-gf114,2845-13.html
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , May 17, 2011 3:55 PM
    I don't think that Crysis 2 should be included in these benchmarks until they have dx11. That's assumming they actually do something with DX11. If they don't, you should never include them again. I mean what's the point of showing this stuff for something that a 5 year old console can play.
  • 3 Hide
    ojas , May 17, 2011 4:09 PM
    hangfirew8Where did you get those puny memory bandwidth values from? HS has the 560TI at 128.3GB/s. You have 4GB/S. Has Nvidia started selling the Fx5200 again?


    hahahaha yeah my 9600GT has more mem bandwidth than what they've listed here!! :p 

    HS is not wrong, the memory bandwidth for the 560 is 128 GB/s according to nvidia's site as well.

    lol pls correct that Don! it's a bit funny... :p 
  • 3 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , May 17, 2011 4:14 PM
    GeekApprovedStupid strategy. MOst people are buying 560ti's and 6950 1GB's. Not 6870's and surely not 560's.

    So your saying most people wouldn't possibly consider anything below ~$230? Why's that? There's a huge market for mid-range and low-end graphics cards.
  • 0 Hide
    sweatlaserxp , May 17, 2011 4:23 PM
    $200 I can understand as a base price, but in this case, they have a disabled stream processor, so they jack up the clockspeeds so that it can perform closer to the 560 Ti, and then raise the price to nearly the same as the... 560 Ti.
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , May 17, 2011 4:41 PM
    hangfirew8Where did you get those puny memory bandwidth values from? HS has the 560TI at 128.3GB/s. You have 4GB/S. Has Nvidia started selling the Fx5200 again?


    Clearly a typo from the author; I've fixed.
  • 1 Hide
    cangelini , May 17, 2011 4:42 PM
    bobdozerAnybody else notice that there is always an nvidia card at the top of toms video reviews?Why stop at the 560 TI? You can't use price as an excuse this time around because it costs about the same as the 6950.


    Video reviews? Link please! =)
  • 2 Hide
    verbalizer , May 17, 2011 4:57 PM
    Quote:
    I am just surprised they did not call it SE!

    ^+1
  • 2 Hide
    Mousemonkey , May 17, 2011 5:18 PM
    It should have been left as a GTX460 IMHO, perhaps calling it a version 2.0 or something. All that's going to happen now is people are going to wonder why one of these GTX560's won't SLi with a Ti version.
  • 6 Hide
    cronos177 , May 17, 2011 5:30 PM
    Between the GTX 560 and HD6870 decision would mostly be based on AMD vs NVIDIA. Though, HD6870 is cheaper, consume less energy, and escalates better on CF
  • 5 Hide
    therandomuser , May 17, 2011 5:57 PM
    rolli59I am just surprised they did not call it SE!

    Maybe it can be related to the fact that I sometimes call them the Stupid Edition cards.

    Honestly, nVidia has been slipping up with their launch prices in the lower mid-range. AMD will dominate for now in the lower prices, but when will nVidia smarten up and get something to compete down there?
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