Five Overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Cards, Rounded-Up

GeForce GTX 560 In Nvidia's $200 Range

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Asus GTX 560DirectCU II TOPECS BlackGTX 560Galaxy MDT4GeForce GTX 560MSI N560GTXTwin Frozr II OCZotac GeForce GTX 560 AMP!
GraphicsClock925 MHz870 MHz830 MHz870 MHz950 MHz
ShaderClock1850 MHz1740 MHz1660 MHz1640 MHz1900 MHz
MemoryClock1050 MHz1000 MHz1002 MHz1020 MHz1100 MHz
GDDR5Memory1 GB1 GB1 GB1 GB1 GB
CoolerDirectCU IIReferenceCustomTwin Frozr IICustom
Size10.25" x 5"9.5" x 5"8.75" x 5"10" x 5"9.5" x 5"
Connectors2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI4 x DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI2 x DL-DVI, 1 x mini-HDMI
Form FactorDual-slotDual-slotDual-slotDual-slotDual-slot
GPUVoltage0.912 V Idle1.012 V Load0.950 V Idle0.987 V Load0.912 V Idle0.987 V Load0.912 V Idle0.987 V Load0.912 V Idle 1.15 V Load
GPU VoltageAdjustmentAsusSmartdoctorNot supported(MSI Afterburner)Galaxy XtremeTuner HDMSIAfterburnerNot supported(Stock 1.15 V)
SpecialFeaturesAnd SoftwareN/AN/AQuad-DisplaySupportIncludes game:Lara Croft andthe Guardian of LightIncludes game: Assassin's Creed:Brotherhood
Warranty3-Year parts & labor2-Year labor 3-Year parts2-Year labor3-Year parts(if registered in 30 days)3-Year parts & labor2-Year Standard,Limited Lifetime Extended(if registered in 30 days)

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.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • salad10203
    Are those temps for real? My 280 gtx has never idled under 40C.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • crisan_tiberiu
    sorry, i ment single monitor @ 1080p :P.
  • Im surprised they got 5 OCed GPUs to run BF3 without crashing
  • justme1977
    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.

  • wizloa
    heh, my 4870 runs at 80c regardless of idle or load
  • FunSurfer
    I think there is an error on the Asus idle voltage: instead "0.192 V Idle" it should be 0.912