Five Overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Cards, Rounded-Up

We were foiled in our quest to find the best vendor-provided GPU cooler for Nvidia's GeForce GTX 560. But out of the ashes sprung a round-up of cards armed with those very same solutions. Which of these five GF114-based boards is right for you?

This story was conceptualized as a means to compare graphics card coolers from different vendors. Because no two GPUs have the exact same overclocking headroom, we wanted to take one GeForce GTX 560 and drop solutions from Asus, ECS, Galaxy, MSI, and Zotac onto that bare board. With thermal, acoustic, and performance data, we would have been able to give you a definitive answer as to whose heat sink and fan combination does the best job of pulling heat away from Nvidia's GPU. Surely, this would have been great information to have when overclocking. 

Unfortunately, that plan was foiled by a number of variables that we simply couldn’t overcome to our satisfaction. For example, the cooler designers employ a surprisingly diverse range of fan power cable plugs, which aren't interoperable with any one card's connector. Moreover, fan temperature profiles vary from one card's firmware to another's, affecting our thermal and acoustic results.

With five GeForce GTX 560 cards in-hand, though, we still had the makings of a respectable round-up. So, we abandoned the idea of isolating cooler/fan effectiveness and forged ahead to bring you a comprehensive look at five examples of Nvidia's roughly-$200 contender.


Asus GTX 560
DirectCU II TOP
ECS Black
GTX 560
Galaxy MDT4
GeForce GTX 560
MSI N560GTX
Twin Frozr II OC
Zotac GeForce
GTX 560 AMP!
Graphics
Clock
925 MHz870 MHz
830 MHz
870 MHz
950 MHz
Shader
Clock
1850 MHz1740 MHz1660 MHz
1640 MHz
1900 MHz
Memory
Clock
1050 MHz1000 MHz1002 MHz
1020 MHz
1100 MHz
GDDR5
Memory
1 GB
1 GB1 GB1 GB1 GB
Cooler
DirectCU II
Reference
Custom
Twin Frozr II
Custom
Size
10.25" x 5"9.5" x 5"8.75" x 5"
10" x 5"9.5" x 5"
Connectors
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
4 x DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
2 x DL-DVI,
1 x mini-HDMI
Form Factor
Dual-slotDual-slotDual-slotDual-slot
Dual-slot
GPU
Voltage
0.912 V Idle
1.012 V Load
0.950 V Idle
0.987 V Load
0.912 V Idle
0.987 V Load
0.912 V Idle
0.987 V Load
0.912 V Idle
1.15 V Load
GPU Voltage
Adjustment
Asus
Smartdoctor
Not supported
(MSI Afterburner)
Galaxy Xtreme
Tuner HD
MSI
Afterburner
Not supported
(Stock 1.15 V)
Special
Features
And Software
N/A
N/AQuad-Display
Support
Includes game:
Lara Croft and
the Guardian of Light
Includes game:
Assassin's Creed:
Brotherhood
Warranty
3-Year
parts & labor
2-Year labor
3-Year parts
2-Year labor
3-Year parts
(if registered in 30 days)
3-Year
parts & labor
2-Year Standard,
Limited Lifetime Extended
(if registered in 30 days)
Newegg
Price
$219.99
$192.99
$229.99
$199.99
$219.99


As you can see, there’s a wide range of specifications applied to these cards, none of which match Nvidia’s reference 810 MHz core and 1002 MHz frequencies. The Galaxy model comes closest with its 830/1002 MHz clocks, but Zotac's AMP! edition goes all the way to 950/1100 MHz.

There’s a lot more distinguishing one board from the others than operating clock rates, though, as all of the coolers are unique as well. There's only one that matches the reference design. Some cards also include value-adds like games, and the Galaxy MDT supports as many as four display outputs and triple-monitor surround gaming. Of course, we also have to gauge how far our samples can be overclocked.