Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti review

25 Jan 2011

Offers all the power you need to play the latest titles at high resolutions, yet the price remains reasonable

Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Price when reviewed: 
199(£200 inc VAT)
5

Nvidia’s high-end GTX 580 and 570 cards both received Recommended awards, with the latter currently sitting proudly atop the A List. The next card down the scale, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, aims to stretch that success into the mid-range.

It doesn’t stray far from its older brothers. The GF114 core is a reworking of the GF110, and its changes echo those made to last year’s GTX 460. Key among these is the reorganisation of the core’s stream processors: instead of the GTX 580’s four and the GTX 570’s three Graphics Processing Clusters (GPCs) with 32 stream processors each, the GTX 560 Ti uses two 48-strong GPCs.

Elsewhere, there’s 1.9 billion of Nvidia’s new variable-speed transistors – down from the 3 billion in the GTX 580 – and a core clocked at an impressive 822MHz. The shader clock is a very high 1,640MHz, and the 1GB of GDDR5 memory runs at 4,000MHz.

The combination of higher clock speeds, reorganised stream processors and efficient transistors pushed the GTX 560 Ti to some fine benchmark scores. It averaged 40fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test. That’s 8fps behind the GTX 570, and only 3fps behind the Radeon HD 6950, which costs around £30 exc VAT more.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti

The GTX 560 Ti also managed 32fps when we added 8x anti-aliasing, before going on to deliver stonking scores in our Just Cause 2 tests. An average of 65fps in the 1,920 x 1,080 Very High test with 8x anti-aliasing is almost 20fps faster than the Radeon HD 6950.

There’s plenty of overclocking headroom. We used MSI’s free Afterburner utility to tweak the card, quickly improving its base clock from 820MHz to 960MHz, and the memory clock from 4,000MHz to 4,320MHz. The results were palpable: 45fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis benchmark, more than 10% faster than at stock speeds. It’s an encouraging sign, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see board partners releasing models with even higher clock speeds.

The GTX 560 Ti stayed cool and quiet during our tests, with an idle temperature of 43°C that rose to 78°C during our stress tests. It’s just a shame it isn’t quite as efficient when it comes to power draw: a peak of 331W for our whole test rig is lower than the GTX 580, but both the Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 required less power.

Where this card really scores, however, is in the pricing. At £166 exc VAT, it’s far cheaper than its rivals: AMD’s Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 cost around £195 and £230 respectively, and a GTX 570 will set you back at least £230. The £170 HD 6870 performs similarly but boasts nothing like the same overclocking headroom.

The GTX 560 Ti, then, is a triumph: virtually as fast as more expensive rivals, and with scope for even better performance with a bit of tweaking. Under the hood it shares plenty with the GTX 460 – and it looks likely to repeat its predecessor’s success.

Details

Price ex VAT £166
Price inc VAT £199
Performance 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Overall rating 5

Core Specifications

Graphics card interface PCI Express
Cooling type Active
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Core GPU frequency 822MHz
RAM capacity 1,024MB
Memory type GDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support 11.0
Shader model support 5.0
Multi-GPU compatibility Two-way SLI

Connectors

DVI-I outputs 2
DVI-D outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
7-pin TV outputs 0
Graphics card power connectors 2 x 6-pin

Benchmarks

3D performance (crysis) low settings 147fps
3D performance (crysis), medium settings 96fps
3D performance (crysis) high settings 66fps