Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 review
Hot, loud and with average speed, it’s an unnecessary addition to an already crowded line-up
Review Date: 17 May 2011
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £141 (£169 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Nvidia’s GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 Ti used the “Titanium” suffix to show they were mainstream cards – powerful, but not as strong as the real big guns. That’s been dropped for the new GTX 560, even though it sits right between those two cards in Nvidia’s pecking order.
Random naming strategies aside, the GTX 560 uses a tweaked version of the GF1144 core that powered the GTX 560 Ti. It has 1.95 billion transistors – around two-thirds the number included in the GTX 580 – but deactivates one of the chipset’s eight graphics cores, making for 336 working stream processors to the 384 of its Ti sibling.
In an unusual step, Nvidia hasn’t produced a reference model of the GTX 560. Instead, it’s punted the design out to board partners so they can churn out overclocked versions. As such, there aren’t any base clock speeds: the core can be anything from 810MHz to 950MHz, and the 1GB of GDDR5 starts at 4,000MHz. Our review sample, a Zotac AMP! card, sits at the high end of this envelope, with a core clock of 950MHz and a memory clock of 4,400MHz.
That massive clock boost means the GTX 560 is actually slightly faster than its bigger brother. In our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test, the GTX 560 scored 41fps, dropping to 34fps with 4x anti-aliasing: that’s 1fps ahead of the GTX 560 Ti in both tests. It trades blows with AMD’s chips, too, sitting just between the HD 6870 and HD 6950. In Just Cause 2, it wasn’t quite so fast: at 1,920 x 1,080 and Very High quality with 8x anti-aliasing, it managed 48fps to the GTX 560 Ti’s 55fps.
The GTX 560 was less impressive when we clocked it down to its minimum 810MHz. An average of 30fps in the Very High Crysis test is 4fps behind the HD 6870, and Just Cause 2 dropped to 42fps.
Either way, heat issues quickly appeared thanks to the increased voltage used to cater for that wide overclocking envelope. At 950MHz, the core quickly hit its thermal limit of 90°C, which is far too hot for our liking. There was no respite at 810MHz, either, with the same temperatures achieved within a similar timeframe.
The two fans on our Zotac AMP! test model quickly drew comparisons to the infamous GTX 480 thanks to the racket they produced. And the final nail was the card’s power draw: a peak of 396W for our test rig is higher than the 331W required by the GTX 560 Ti and the 302W of the HD 6950.
So the speed comes at a price, and that applies to real money too. Nvidia puts its new chip at £170 inc VAT, an area crowded with exceptional cards. Add £10 to your budget and you’ll be able to afford a GTX 560 Ti. An extra £20 should get you an AMD Radeon HD 6950. Both offer comparable or better performance while being cooler and quieter.
If board partners can reduce the voltage, noise and heat, then a slightly cheaper GTX 560 could feasibly become a valid mid-range option. For now, though, the woeful thermals and uncompetitive price make it impossible to recommend.
Author: Mike Jennings
Why does nvidia keep making hard to buy their products?
I thought this was a price cut at first before it was pointed out the subtle difference of ti at the end.
Why not call it gtx 555?
seriously this is 8800gts (320/640mb) not to be confused with 8800gts (256/512mb) or the 8800 gtx, gt or gs
It's like their trying to trick us.
By blagger123 on 18 May 2011
- Google reveals why it thinks we'll buy smartwatches
- Windows 8.2/Windows 9: release date, features and free cloud version
- Apple's top reasons for rejecting apps
- Raspberry Pi unveils HTML5-optimised browser
- Apple and FBI "actively investigating" celeb photo hack
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office