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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: November 28, 2011
Product Name: GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448
 
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Don't forget to read our GTX 560 Ti 448 Roundup where we take a look at cards from EVGA, MSI and Gigabyte

Can anyone remember the last time either of the two big players introduced a new graphics card? If you think back far enough, you’ll remember it was NVIDIA with their GTX 560 (non-Ti) that was first glimpsed back in May of this year. Since then we have seen our fair share of manufacturer designed cards that somewhat bridge the gap between certain price points but new Radeon and GeForce branded products have been few and far between.

To be perfectly transparent here, neither AMD nor NVIDIA will have their third generation DX11 architectures ready in time for this year’s lucrative Christmas shopping season. But with so many new game titles clustered around the last few months of 2011, this could be a bumper year for GPU purchases. So NVIDIA decided to step up to the plate by taking advantage of some unused cores they have been holding onto since production of the GF110-series architecture commenced. The result is a 448-core card aptly named the GTX 560 Ti 448 which is a bit of a mash up between the high end GTX 570 and the hugely popular yet lower performing GTX 560 Ti.


In order to get to this point, NVIDIA had to scrounge up some cores that offered more performance than your typical GTX 560 Ti while being inexpensive to produce. Unfortunately, the GTX 560 Ti’s GF114 core was fully tapped out since its latest iteration uses the architecture’s full number CUDA cores, ROPs and memory controllers. This meant looking to the GF110 architecture.

In essence, these GTX 560s are using “failed” GF110 cores that couldn’t make it into the GTX 570 or GTX 580 and through a careful binning process NVIDIA has found enough viable samples to introduce a new, yet limited run of cards. These cores have a pair of Streaming Multiprocessors disabled for a total of 448 cores while the elimination of a single 64-bit memory controller means eight ROPs and 128 KB of L2 cache go down the proverbial drain as well. It is worth noting that with these changes, the GTX 560 Ti 448 has exact same core specifications as last year’s GTX 470.


When compared against the rest of NVIDIA’s current lineup, it is quite easy to see where the new GTX 560 Ti 448 fits in. Its use of the GF110 architecture necessitated lower clock speeds than its 384 core sibling so it wouldn’t step on the GTX 570’s toes. Nonetheless, we are seeing a return of a larger 320-bit GDDR5 interface and the GTX 570’s 1.28GB memory layout.

NVIDIA is threading a bit of a needle here though. While there may be a significant difference between the GTX 570 and GTX 560 Ti on paper and in benchmarks, there isn’t all that much separating one from the other when it comes to pricing. The GTX 560 Ti 448 does bridge this gap but its specifications should put it closer to the GTX 570 than its little brother so expect it to hit the $289 mark at launch. For some this may be a bitter pill to swallow considering certain loss-leader GTX 570s hitting about $300 but as market forces take hold, expect these low priced cards to become a thing of the past. In addition AMD’s HD 6950 2GB has very recently seen its price cut to $270 in preparation for the GTX 560 Ti 448’s launch so the battle between these two middleweights should be interesting to see.


As you may expect, the use of binned GF110 cores means there is a strictly finite number of GPUs available for this card. So expect the GTX 560 Ti 448 to be a limited edition product that will be around for the time being but once the initial run is sold out, finding one will become almost impossible. To ensure retail channels are sufficiently stocked and demand is somewhat controlled, NVIDIA has also decided to release this card in some markets but not others. North America, European Nordic countries, the UK, France, Germany and Russian retailers will all get stock while the rest of the world is out of luck this time around.

With prevalence of inexpensive 1080P monitors and visually stunning games like Battlefield 3 and Batman: Arkham City, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that NVIDIA is targeting this particular performance niche. When playing at 1080P or higher resolutions, the GTX 560 Ti is more than sufficient to play new games at medium detail settings but many will want Before the GTX 560 Ti 448, that meant stepping up to a $310 (or higher) GTX 570 or hop onto the AMD train by choosing a HD 6950 2GB. This new card meanwhile provides a value minded alternative and adds in Triple SLI compatibility for those who want a bit of extra firepower.


With the who’s who of board partners offering these cards, it should come as no surprise that every one of them is vying for your attention. Since NVIDIA doesn’t have a “reference” layout for the GTX 560 Ti 448, every card we have seen uses a different design and are usually tailor made to offer increased overclocking headroom and quiet, efficient cooling. The Gigabyte card we are using for this review is no exception since it retains NVIDIA’s default specifications and recommended price of $289 but sports a unique heatsink and custom PCB. Make sure you check our GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Roundup for a look at cards from EVGA and MSI as well.
 
 
 

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