Five Overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Cards, Rounded-Up

Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP

The Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP is one of the test samples we had on-hand for the GeForce GTX 560 launch back in May of last year, and it remains Asus’ premium GeForce GTX 560-based offering.

With a 9” x 4” PCB and 10.25” x 5” total size (including bezel and cooler), it’s the largest card in our round-up. The sturdy metallic fan shroud and metal reinforcement lip on the top edge give the card a very solid, inflexible feel.

The company's premium GTX 560 model can be found on Newegg for $219.99.

Asus flagship is overclocked compared to the reference design, sporting 925 MHz core and 1050 MHz memory frequencies. That's a notable improvement over Nvidia's 810/1002 MHz clocks, giving this card the second-highest factory overclock in today's story. The two auxiliary six-pin power connectors sit on the top of the card where we like to see them, rather than the side, where they'd add additional length.

The DirectCU II cooler employs three 6 mm flattened heat pipes to draw thermal energy away from the GPU and into the aluminum fins. It’s interesting to note that the two 3" radial fans are not identical, but rather have a different number of blades.

Two DVI ports and a single mini-HDMI output mirror Nvidia's reference model. Of course, because Nvidia's GPU only includes two independent display pipelines, you're only able to utilize a pair of digital outputs at any given time.

Asus includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, two dual Molex-to-six-pin power adapters, a mini-HDMI-to-HDMI adapter, a driver disk, and user manual. That's a little modest given a price tag in the upper range of boards with this GPU. It might have been nice to receive a game as well.

Bundled SmartDoctor overclocking software is able to increase GPU voltage on the GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP for more aggressive overclocking. The stock 1.012 V setting can be scaled up as high as 1.112 V.

Overclocking

We went ahead and used Asus' SmartDoctor utility to increase the GF114's voltage to 1.112 V (the highest setting). Although that's a notable jump on a graphics card, it's worth mentioning that we were able to use MSI's Afterburner software to apply 1.15 V to most of the other cards in this round-up. Asus' tool has no option to alter memory voltage, although it does allow us to manually increase fan speed. For this test, we set the fans to run as fast as possible, if only as a gauge of peak overclocking potential.

At those settings, we were able to achieve a 970 MHz core and 1152 MHz memory setting with complete stability in our Battlefield 3-based benchmark. That's not a huge jump over the card’s factory overclock, but it is again quite significant compared to the 810/1002 MHz reference speeds that Nvidia originally shipped to press for its GeForce GTX 560 launch.

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40 comments
    Your comment
  • pensivevulcan
    Kepler is around the corner, so are lower end AMD 7000 series parts, this was interesting but wouldn't one want to wait for a plethora of reasons.
    5
  • payneg1
    The Galaxy model comes closest with its 830/1002 MHz clocks, but Zotac's AMP! edition goes all the way to 950/1100 MHz.

    This dosent match with the above chart
    4
  • salad10203
    Are those temps for real? My 280 gtx has never idled under 40C.
    0
  • crisan_tiberiu
    so, basicaly if someone plays on a single monitor, there is no point going beyond a gtx 560 or a 6950 in today's games. (it slike in the "best gaming CPU chart", no point going beyond i5 2500k for gaming.
    -2
  • giovanni86
    salad10203Are those temps for real? My 280 gtx has never idled under 40C.

    Your kidding right, my overclocked 580GTX at 60% fan speed idles at 32c. Cards down clock themselves which allows them to run cooler at idle temps even if it were clocked at upwards i don't think a card would get hot unless it was being used.
    0
  • crisan_tiberiu
    sorry, i ment single monitor @ 1080p :P.
    -2
  • Anonymous
    Im surprised they got 5 OCed GPUs to run BF3 without crashing
    6
  • justme1977
    crisan_tiberiu[/nom..... (it slike in the "best gaming CPU chart", no point going beyond i5 2500k for gaming.


    I have the feeling that even a i5 2500k@4ghz bottlenecks a 7970 @1080p in most newer games.
    If the GPU market goes the way it does, it won't take long that even midrange cards will be bottlenecked @1080p by the cpu.
    -1
  • wizloa
    heh, my 4870 runs at 80c regardless of idle or load
    1
  • FunSurfer
    I think there is an error on the Asus idle voltage: instead "0.192 V Idle" it should be 0.912
    3
  • Memnarchon
    justme1977
    crisan_tiberiu[/nom..... (it slike in the "best gaming CPU chart", no point going beyond i5 2500k for gaming.
    I have the feeling that even a i5 2500k@4ghz bottlenecks a 7970 @1080p in most newer games. If the GPU market goes the way it does, it won't take long that even midrange cards will be bottlenecked @1080p by the cpu.


    Not really. This is mostly game depended. Depends on how much stress each graphics engine push at cpu and gpu.
    Games like Dragon Age 2 and SWTOR are gpu intensive. So a GTX570 (that I have) is being used at 1080p at 99% of its usage with a low performance nowadays Q6600 in SWTOR (used MSI after burner to monitor it).
    But with games such Skyrim which cpu is more important than other games, a highly clocked sandybridge is required in order to play smoothly at 1080p.
    One thing is certain for sure. The higher the resolution the more gpu power and less cpu power requires a game.
    0
  • nevertell
    Hey, I have a gtx 460 and I play with tesselation and DX11 enabled in metro 2033 @1080p. It has some drops to 25 and lower, but that's never in the middle of a firefight.
    -3
  • silverblue
    giovanni86Your kidding right, my overclocked 580GTX at 60% fan speed idles at 32c. Cards down clock themselves which allows them to run cooler at idle temps even if it were clocked at upwards i don't think a card would get hot unless it was being used.

    The 280 idles higher than the 580 to the best of my knowledge, plus it's a 65nm part and the largest gaming GPU ever created.
    0
  • GhosT94
    would you please add Crysis 2 to all GPU benchmarks
    -4
  • stingstang
    silverblueThe 280 idles higher than the 580 to the best of my knowledge, plus it's a 65nm part and the largest gaming GPU ever created.

    That's an enormous amount of fan speed for an Idle GPU. Hope you're happy having a nice loud fan at idle. I can't imagine how loud it gets under a light load.

    To the article, I don't think these comparisons are really necessary. All the cards are going to have different overclocking capabilities, which is what anyone from tom's is going to check. Hell, the worst card you guys test according to this comparison might overclock the most, and be the best card for the money on someone else's comparison.
    0
  • Onus
    Any subjective comments about the Asus cooler's noise? I'm wondering if the different fans reduce harmonic whine, or some similar effect of having two identical fans in close proximity. I have this cooler on my GTX560Ti, and I never hear it.
    0
  • jaquith
    Hmm...Missing something here...Where's any EVGA??? See -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=50001402%2040000048%20600094002%20600158457&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=REVIEWS&PageSize=20 EVGA on GTX 570/580 (-AR lines) also includes Lifetime Warranties. IMO EVGA and ASUS are the best choices for nVidia GPUs.

    For a $30 savings the ASUS ENGTX560 DCII OC/2DI is worth a look. Sure if you run the fans at 100% a higher CFM fan is going to be very loud, but no one runs their fans @ 100% either.

    With Apps like MSI Afterburner and others it's incredibly easy to OC any GPU. It's a balancing act between performance, temperatures, and dDA (noise). One of the big reasons for water blocks on higher end cards, etc.
    0
  • jaquith
    Duh me, typo dBA...coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

    BTW - I appreciate the Article, it's enlightening and offers good info. Thanks! :)
    0
  • cleeve
    payneg1The Galaxy model comes closest with its 830/1002 MHz clocks, but Zotac's AMP! edition goes all the way to 950/1100 MHz.This dosent match with the above chart


    Quite right! Fixed.
    0
  • wolfram23
    427362 said:
    so, basicaly if someone plays on a single monitor, there is no point going beyond a gtx 560 or a 6950 in today's games. (it slike in the "best gaming CPU chart", no point going beyond i5 2500k for gaming.


    The GTX 560 is comparable to the 6870, though generally thought to be a little slower but with better OC headroom. The 6950 is much faster, and is comparable to the GTX 560 Ti.
    2