NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 1GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 16, 2011
Product Name: NVIDIA GTX 560 1GB
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With the graphics card market becoming increasingly cluttered, finding a comfortable spot for a new product to settle into has become increasingly difficult. The GTX 550 Ti that was released a few months ago came up short of its intended goal while the GTX 560 Ti proved to be a great product for its intended audience. The GTX 560ís results are a bit less clear cut though.

NVIDIA seems to have hit all the high points by improving upon the GTX 460 in every way possible. Anyone doubting the GPU marketís price / performance ratio isnít moving forward fast enough need not look any further than the GTX 560. In barely 10 months we have seen the GTX 460 1GB -which launched at $230- surpassed by the $199 GTX 560. The difference isnít insignificant either; the new GF114-based card offers a nearly 20% improvement in framerates over the previous generation without a noticeable increase in power consumption.

With pre-overclocked GTX 560s being the norm right from launch day, it was interesting to see what board partners had in store for us. Gigabyteís card is well priced while boasting impressive cooling and acoustical attributes. It doesn't cost a dime more than the reference version either. The MSI Twin Frozr II OC offers a perfect mix of increased framerates and the always excellent Twin Frozr heatsink while only costing $10 more than a bone stock card.

The ASUS DirectCu II TOP meanwhile is the real king of the litter. At lower resolutions its performance can occasionally outstrip that of a GTX 560 Ti or even an HD 6950 1GB while featuring some headroom left for overclocking. These capabilities do come at a price though: 10% price premium over many other cards and a significant power consumption increase. Nonetheless, like its competitors the TOP is an impressive card for its price and there will surely be many like it from other board partners.

Thereís an obvious reason why NVIDIA is pushing the overclocked versions of the GTX 560 though: the $199 reference card canít convincingly beat a HD 6870. Granted, there supposedly wonít be many reference clocked products available but that poses a bit of an issue since a HD 6870 can easily be found for under $199. Even certain GTX 560 Ti and HD 6950 1GB cards have been regularly hitting the $220 mark.

So where does this leave the GTX 560? For the time being, right where NVIDIA needs it to be. This card plugged a hole in their lineup and offers good performance in a package thatís efficient and quiet. In some ways the GTX 560 may be the victim of overly aggressive rebate programs for the GTX 560 Ti and HD 6950 but we still feel it is a worthy successor to the GTX 460.


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