Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti Review: GF114 Rises, GF100 Rides Off

Benchmark Results: 3DMark11 (DX11)

I recently spent some time on the phone with Nvidia discussing 3DMark11. It seems the company doesn’t like this benchmark because it doesn’t reflect what it considers being the future of game development—that is, increased use of geometry to improve realism.

No doubt, the emphasis in 3DMark11 is on lighting—a particular DirectX 10 shader, specifically. However, I also had a very fair and balanced call with Futuremark, which says it designed the benchmark with the right amount of tessellation optimization. Throwing gratuitous geometry at a scene has diminishing returns on visual fidelity, but it does have the potential to really hammer the performance of entry-level and mainstream boards. And while the first graphics test in 3DMark11 doesn’t touch geometry at all, the second, third, and fourth do incorporate what we’d consider a reasonable amount of tessellation—that is to say, there aren’t any scenes with triangles so large that we think to ourselves, “wow, that was a missed opportunity to add geometric detail.”

Of course, Nvidia argues that a synthetic like this should be reflective of the future, not just today’s titles. Futuremark counters that it is—at no point will game developers want to add complexity for complexity’s sake.

3DMark11 incorporates enough geometry to augment realism, according to Futuremark3DMark11 incorporates enough geometry to augment realism, according to Futuremark

At the end of the day, what matters most is how reflective 3DMark11 is of a greater sampling of real-world games. And when you look through our results in today’s DirectX 11 games (everything we test here today, except for World of Warcraft, is DX11-based), you’ll notice that 3DMark11 is actually a little bit off for whatever reason. The most notable disparity is between the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and Radeon HD 6870. The AMD card is scored ahead of the Nvidia board here, but in all other real-world cases (except F1 2010—more on that in a bit), Nvidia lands ahead. The GTX 470 also seems disproportionately lower here than it is elsewhere against the Radeon HD 6870. And even within AMD’s own lineup, it’s interesting to note that the Radeon HD 5870 beats its 6950 in a number of benchmark situations, though 3DMark11 shows the opposite by a substantial margin.

Perhaps 3DMark11 is more representative of the future than Nvidia thinks, if the 6950’s dual tessellation engines are helping keep it that far ahead of the 5870. Or maybe its reliance on DirectX 10-class lighting shaders only serves to emphasize AMD’s strong DX10 performance as Nvidia’s arguably more future-looking architecture is made to suffer. In either case, don’t base your purchasing decisions on the results of a synthetic alone. The folks at Futuremark made an effort to factor out the politicking that goes into heavily IHV-influenced games, but in doing so disconnected the results you’ll see from more…shall we say, affected real-world titles. There’s a place for it in our benchmark suite, but I’d be pretty ticked to see a 3DMark11 score from Tom’s Hardware on the box of any graphics card, used as a marketing point. It simply cannot be digested at face value.

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112 comments
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  • reprotected
    Some areas could be improved, but this is still pretty decent. Just lower the price 50 dollars please Nvidia and I will buy 10 of them. :)
    0
  • Anonymous
    Wow, it's not as powerful as I expected with that kind of energy use.
    8
  • liemfukliang
    Please don't let me go away from Tomshardware because the disapearing of Print View Mode. If there is an official anounce about that please give me the link. In Indonesia internet is so slow and expensive. That way the print mode is so much help. I open an article, klik print view page. I go watching TV, eat, drink cofee, etc. About 10 - 20 minutes later the acticle is completed. I just save as mht for feature need (personal use). Lastly I read it.
    Btw TomGUIDE still have this print page view. Why only in Tomshardware the button is missing?
    Sorry for my OOT.
    2
  • geekapproved
    Quote:
    Either way, my conclusion on the GTX 560 Ti doesn't change. It still doesn't present me with the overwhelming urge to upgrade. AMD's cards simply look better in comparison, based on their performance.


    FAIL
    -9
  • hardcore_gamer
    6950 is really better than a GTX560Ti, and consumes less power.Gigabyte's 1Ghz card is interesting.If it has the performance of a 6950 at $269, AMD'll be forced to reduce the price (again)
    1
  • anacandor
    I'd love to see some more benchies on that Gigabyte card like noise and temps, for only $20 more it seems like a steal!
    -1
  • amazing2
    liemfukliangPlease don't let me go away from Tomshardware because the disapearing of Print View Mode. If there is an official anounce about that please give me the link. In Indonesia internet is so slow and expensive. That way the print mode is so much help. I open an article, klik print view page. I go watching TV, eat, drink cofee, etc. About 10 - 20 minutes later the acticle is completed. I just save as mht for feature need (personal use). Lastly I read it.Btw TomGUIDE still have this print page view. Why only in Tomshardware the button is missing?Sorry for my OOT.


    Here you go:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/review_print.php?p1=2845

    :)
    2
  • James296
    I waited to see what this card was going to be like but it feels more like a rebranded GTX 460/470 as far as performance so I'm just going to skip the GTX 560 "Ti" and go for the GTX 570
    1
  • cknobman
    GeekApprovedFAIL


    Bigger FAIL
    7
  • hixbot
    So can the 6950 1GB be unlocked to a 6970? If not, I'm not sure it has the value the author mentioned, not when compared to the 2GB 6950 which comes with the free upgrade.
    -1
  • cronik93
    I think it was a good choice for he AMD to make a 1GB version of the 6950 to compete with the 560.
    4
  • leiuno
    what is "unshorn" ?
    0
  • wolfram23
    Can't wait to see what the next gen can do when I may be upgrading... but still, the performance increases over last gen are pretty impressive, and the price/performance ratio is way better now too
    0
  • Onus
    I've been waiting for this. Bummer though, I was really hoping for a single PCIE power connection. Oh well. It looks like the most powerful card out there with only one is the HD6850.
    1
  • Onus
    leiunowhat is "unshorn" ?

    Unshorn = not sheared, e.g. used to describe sheep before their fleece is harvested. Or, in this case, a graphics card without some of its circuits cut out.
    1
  • scrumworks
    That 20 1GB Radeons is only for that single Sapphire model. XFX currently has two 1GB models 20pcs each and I'm sure others follow soon. And that's only at newegg.com.
    1
  • Anik8
    This is chickenshit with everybody blindly slamming the gtx 560.IMO it performed reasonably well and is at par with the 6950.
    Moreover the card has exceptional overclocking headroom and the OC charts are simply overwhelming.
    -1
  • Tamz_msc
    If this drops to 220$ or less in a couple of weeks, AMD will have no answer for it.
    0
  • jprahman
    Wow this kinda sucks, I built my LGA1156 i5-760, 2xGTX 460 rig three months ago. So now because of the Sandy Bridge launch and now this it's already obsolete.
    1
  • rohitbaran
    Well, it doesn't help bring the price of Radeon 6950 any lower. Once AMD launches the 1 GB version of Radeon 6950, this card will be in trouble.
    2