NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 1GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 16, 2011
Product Name: NVIDIA GTX 560 1GB
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When NVIDIA announced the GTX 460, it was heralded as the perfect graphics card for people looking for excellent performance on a reasonable budget. As competing solutions were released its price has gradually decreased to its current mark of slightly under $150 which has essentially opened up a hole in NVIDIA’s lineup between it and the $250 GTX 560 Ti. Enter the GTX 560 1GB (sans Ti).

At a starting price of $199 we’ll likely see the GTX 560 go up against some well entrenched products like AMD’s popular HD 6870 and some of the higher clocked GTX 460 1GB models. Much like the GTX 460 before it, the 560 will be launching at numerous price points with both reference and pre-overclocked cards being available right out of the gate. When these higher spec products are taken into account, there will likely be GTX 560 cards at every interval between $199 and $225.

Today also happens to be when NVIDIA officially launches their new R275 drivers. They don't offer much in the way of performance improvements but automatic background updates for SLI profiles, a more intuitive 3DVision control panel, more monitor scaling options and some much needed bug fixes are just a few of the things that have changed.

With a solid lineage at its back the GTX 560 is hoping to build upon NVIDIA’s success with their other “refreshed” Fermi cards while brining high performance to a lower price bracket. To accomplish this, the latest addition to the GeForce family makes use of a GF114 core and much like the GTX 460, it ships with a single SM disabled for a total of 336 cores and 32 texture units. Meanwhile, the four 64-bit memory controllers and the structure of 32 ROPs remain untouched which essentially means we won’t see any 768MB cards…for the time being at least.

To many, the GTX 560 will likely look like nothing but an overclocked GTX 460 and that’s exactly what it is….but with a twist. This “refreshed” architecture has been graced with a revised transistor layout for increased rendering and thermal efficiency so it can achieve some impressive clock speeds. Advances like these have allowed for a core clock of 800Mhz on the reference GTX 560; nearly equaling some of the most extreme GF104-based cards on the market. Memory speeds have also seen a bump to 4Ghz.

All of this is accomplished without this new card consuming any more power than the reference GTX 460 which is a testament to the engineering changes made between the GF104 and GF114.

But we haven’t seen the last of our old friend, the GF104. The GTX 460 still offers phenomenal capabilities and will continue to cling desperately onto life. NVIDIA needs something to bridge the substantial performance gap between the GTX 560 and GTX 550 Ti and what better to fill this space than a highly respected yet affordable solution?

Even with a reference core speed of 800Mhz, NVIDIA’s board partners have come to realize there’s plenty of overhead left in the GTX 560’s tank and will be launching some very interesting products. In this particular review we’ll be looking at three cards from Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS. All have different clock speeds with the Gigabyte OC edition being the closest to reference speeds, the ASUS TOP being the furthest and the MSI Twin Frozr III OC taking the middle ground. The same can be said of their respective prices; Gigabyte’s slightly overclocked version goes for $199, MSI’s hits the $209 mark while ASUS’ little monster will be found for $219.

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