Sparkle’s Calibre X560 was the fastest card in today’s roundup at 1000 MHz GPU and GDDR5-4800, and deserves some recognition for that effort. It leads most of our performance charts, edging out the 1000 MHz GDDR5-4580 model from Gigabyte by around 1%.
However, Gigabyte deserves similar credit for packaging its 1000 MHz GPU under a more elegant two-slot cooler, allowing this model to fit more motherboards in single- or dual-card configurations. A 1% performance penalty that saves one slot sounds like a good trade-off to us.
Update (2/23/2011): It's worth noting that these Web-based prices are in a constant state of flux. Since publication, MSI's card has dropped $5, Palit's is down $10, and Sparkle is committing to selling the X560 for $10 less (though it still isn't available). Of course, we're fans of price movements in that direction!
Asus was the only company to offer an overclocked card at the reference card’s price today. The only seller who could match that price with MSI’s card was unfortunately out of stock, and the next-lowest price was $5 higher. Asus also clocks its card higher than MSI for better performance. Anyone looking for an even more aggressive price will likely find “instant rebates” on standard-speed cards, such as Sparkle’s SX560T1024D5MH, though the cost/performance ratio must then be re-evaluated.
Thus, an 8% increase in performance translates directly into an 8% increase in value for Asus’ GTX560 Ti DirectCU II TOP 1GB GDDR5. That kind of value leadership deserves an award, in spite of the product’s unwieldy name.
Gigabyte is the value runner-up, despite its higher price, all because if its 10% performance lead over Asus. Yet, we don’t expect Gigabyte’s runner-up status to last long, since Sparkle’s aggressive pricing policy often fosters unscheduled discounts. Either of these cards might have qualified for our most prestigious "Best Of" award, had Asus not shown up with its better overall value.