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The GeForce GTX 560 Ti is the latest addition to the GeForce GTX 500 series from NVIDIA, coming with a very affordable USD 250 price tag, competing directly with the Radeon HD 6870. The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC is a factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti with a better cooling solution that, believe it or not, comes at the same price point as the standard GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Let’s check it out.
When a new graphics processor is released, typically “manufacturers” (called “partners” by NVIDIA) don’t actually manufacture video cards using the new chip; they buy the cards already assembled from NVIDIA and only add their own sticker, box and product manual. The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC, however, is a nice exception to this rule. Not only it comes with a different cooling solution, but its printed circuit board is actually different from the one used on the reference model.
The reviewed card comes overclocked, with the GPU running at 880 MHz instead of at 822 MHz (7% increase), the processing cores running at 1,760 MHz instead of at 1,644 MHz (7% increase) and memory running at 4.2 GHz (effective) instead of at 4 GHz (5% increase). The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC allows you to increase the GPU voltage, using MSI’s AfterBurner utility.
In the table below we compare the main specs of the video cards included in our review. They are all DirectX 11 parts.
The effective clock rate of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti is actually 4,008 MHz.
|Video Card||Core Clock||Shader Clock||Memory Clock (Real)||Memory Clock (Effective)||Memory Interface||Memory Transfer Rate||Memory||Shaders||Price|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/O||880 MHz||1,760 MHz||2.1 GHz||4.2 GHz||256-bit||134.4 GB/s||1 GB GDDR5||384||USD 250|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||822 MHz||1,644 MHz||2 GHz||4 GHz||256-bit||128.3 GB/s||1 GB GDDR5||384||USD 250|
|GeForce GTX 570||732 MHz||1,464 MHz||1.9 GHz||3.8 GHz||320-bit||152 GB/s||1.28 GB GDDR5||480||USD 350|
|Radeon HD 5870||850 MHz||850 MHz||2.4 GHz||4.8 GHz||256-bit||153.6 GB/s||1 GB GDDR5||1,600||USD 270 – 290|
|Radeon HD 6870||900 MHz||900 MHz||2.1 GHz||4.2 GHz||256-bit||134.4 GB/s||1 GB GDDR5||1,120||USD 220 – 240|
|Radeon HD 6950||800 MHz||800 MHz||2.5 GHz||5 GHz||256-bit||160 GB/s||2 GB GDDR5||1,408||USD 300|
|Radeon HD 6970||880 MHz||880 MHz||2.75 GHz||5.5 GHz||256-bit||176 GB/s||2 GB GDDR5||1,536||USD 370|
Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the NVIDIA reference model for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
[nextpage title=”The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC”]
Below we have an overall look at the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC. It requires two six-pin auxiliary power connectors.
This video card has one mini HDMI and two DVI-D connectors.
[nextpage title=”The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC (Cont’d)”]
In Figure 4, you can see the video card with its cooler removed and, in Figure 5, a close-up of the voltage regulator circuit. As explained before, the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC uses a custom-designed printed circuit board.
The voltage regulator circuit uses solid capacitors, solid ferrite-core coils (which make the regulator to have higher efficiency because they have lower energy loss than iron-core coils; these components are military-grade), and low RDS(on) MOSFET transistors (i.e., higher efficiency).
The GPU cooler can be seen in Figures 6 and 7. It has a nickel-plated copper base, four eight-mm nickel-plated heatpipes (thicker than the heatpipes used on the reference model), aluminum fins, and two 80 mm fans. According to the manufacturer, this cooling solution works 20° C (68° F) cooler than the reference model.
The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC uses eight 1 Gbit GDDR5 chips, making its 1 GB video memory (1 Gbit x 8 = 1,024 MB = 1 GB). Each chip is connected to the GPU using a 32-bit data lane, making the video card’s 256-bit memory interface (32 bits x 8 = 256).
The chips used are K4G10325FE-HC04 parts from Samsung – the same ones used on the reference model –, which support up to 2.5 GHz (5 GHz DDR) and since on this video card memory is accessed at 2.1 GHz (4.2 GHz DDR), there is still a huge 19% margin for you to increase the memory clock rate while keeping the chips inside the maximum they support.
Of course you can always try to overclock the memory chips above their specs.
In Figure 9, you can see all accessories that come with this video card: two power adapters, one DVI-to-VGA adapter, one mini-HDMI-to-HDMI adapter, manual, and CD.
Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC video card include:
- Graphics chip: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti running at 880 MHz
- Memory: 1 GB GDDR5 memory (256-bit interface) from Samsung (K4G10325FE-HC04), running at 2.1 GHz (4.2 GHz, DDR)
- Bus type: PCI Express x16 2.0
- Video Connectors: Two DVI-D and one mini HDMI
- Video Capture (VIVO): No
- Cables and adapters that come with this board: mini HDMI-to-HDMI, DVI-to-VGA, and two power adapter cables
- Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: One
- Games included: None
- Programs included: None
- More information: https://www.msi.com
- Average Price in the US*: USD 250.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]
During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.
- CPU: Core i7 Extreme 965 (3.2 GHz, 8 MB L2 memory cache)
- Motherboard: MSI Big Bang XPower (1.3 BIOS)
- Memories: 3x 2 GB G.Skill F3-10666CL7T-6GBPK (DDR3-1333/PC3-10666, CL7-7-7-18)
- Hard disk drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS (300 GB, SATA-300, 10,000 rpm, 16 MB cache)
- Video monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 305T (30” LCD, 2560×1600)
- Power Supply: SilverStone Element ST75EF
- CPU Cooler: Intel stock
- Optical Drive: LG GSA-H54N
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
- Video resolution: 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz
- AMD/ATI video driver version: Catalyst 10.12 beta
- NVIDIA video driver version: 263.09
- NVIDIA video driver version: 266.58 (GeForce GTX 560 Ti)
- Intel Inf driver version: 188.8.131.528
- 3DMark 11 Professional 1.0.0
- Aliens vs. Predator + Benchmark Tool
- Call of Duty 4 – Patch 1.7
- Crysis Warhead – Patch 1.1 + HOC Bench Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool 1.1.1
- Far Cry 2 – Patch 1.03
- Lost Planet 2
We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.
[nextpage title=”Call of Duty 4″]
Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, exactly what will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.
To get accurate results, we had to disable the 80 FPS limit in the game. To do this, input the command, “/seta com_maxfps 1000” (minus the quotes) into the console (` key). It can be set to any number greater than 200.
We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was set to the maximum values in the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the internal game benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.”We are putting this demo here for downloading if you want to run your own benchmarks. We ran the demo five times, and the results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each video card.
|Call of Duty 4 – Maximum||1680×1050||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||177.4||15%|
|GeForce GTX 570||169.0||9%|
|Radeon HD 6950||155.6||1%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||154.8|
|Radeon HD 5870||150.3||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||148.2||-4%|
|Radeon HD 6870||142.4||-8%|
|Call of Duty 4 – Maximum||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||162.3||23%|
|GeForce GTX 570||144.6||9%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||132.2|
|Radeon HD 5870||130.8||-1%|
|Radeon HD 6950||130.4||-1%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||125.4||-5%|
|Radeon HD 6870||123.5||-7%|
|Call of Duty 4 – Maximum||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||108.4||20%|
|GeForce GTX 570||100.4||11%|
|Radeon HD 6950||92.2||2%|
|Radeon HD 5870||91.8||2%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||90.2|
|Radeon HD 6870||87.3||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||85.4||-5%|
[nextpage title=”Crysis Warhead”]
Crysis Warhead is a DirectX 10 game based on the same engine as the original Crysis, but optimized (it runs under DirectX 9.0c when installed on Windows XP).
We used the HardwareOC Crysis Warhead Benchmark Tool to collect the data for this test.We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, all at very high image quality (but with no anti-aliasing and no anisotropic filtering) and using the Airfield demo. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.
|Crysis Warhead – Very High||1680×1050||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||44||10%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||40|
|Radeon HD 6970||39||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||38||-5%|
|Radeon HD 6950||36||-10%|
|Radeon HD 5870||34||-15%|
|Radeon HD 6870||32||-20%|
|Crysis Warhead – Very High||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||38||15%|
|Radeon HD 6970||34||3%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||33|
|Radeon HD 6950||31||-6%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||31||-6%|
|Radeon HD 5870||30||-9%|
|Radeon HD 6870||27||-18%|
|Crysis Warhead – Very High||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||24||14%|
|GeForce GTX 570||24||14%|
|Radeon HD 6950||21||0%|
|Radeon HD 5870||21||0%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||21|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||20||-5%|
|Radeon HD 6870||18||-14%|
[nextpage title=”Far Cry 2″]
Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows Vista with a DirectX 10 compatible video card.
We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game, setting image quality to Ultra High (with x8 anti-aliasing) and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.
|FarCry 2 – Ultra High – AAx8||1680×1050||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||99.1||13%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||87.3|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||84.6||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6970||81.9||-6%|
|Radeon HD 6950||78.4||-10%|
|Radeon HD 5870||74.4||-15%|
|Radeon HD 6870||70.6||-19%|
|FarCry 2 – Ultra High – AAx8||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||84.7||5%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||80.5|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||78.3||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6970||74.3||-8%|
|Radeon HD 6950||70.7||-12%|
|Radeon HD 6870||70.6||-12%|
|Radeon HD 5870||65.6||-19%|
|FarCry 2 – Ultra High – AAx8||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||55.4||5%|
|GeForce GTX 570||55.2||4%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||52.9|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||51.3||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6950||50.4||-5%|
|Radeon HD 5870||44.2||-16%|
|Radeon HD 6870||42.4||-20%|
[nextpage title=”Aliens vs. Predator”]
Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. This program reads
its configuration from a text file (our configuration files can be found here). We ran this program at 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600 resolutions, with very high settings, 16x anisotropic filtering and 4x anti-aliasing.
|Aliens vs. Predator – Very High – AAx4, AFx16||1680×1050||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||47.9||22%|
|GeForce GTX 570||43.3||10%|
|Radeon HD 6950||42.1||7%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||39.4|
|Radeon HD 5870||37.7||-4%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||37.1||-6%|
|Radeon HD 6870||31.4||-20%|
|Aliens vs. Predator – Very High – AAx4, AFx16||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||39.6||24%|
|GeForce GTX 570||35.2||10%|
|Radeon HD 6950||35.1||10%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||31.9|
|Radeon HD 5870||30.8||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||30.2||-5%|
|Radeon HD 6870||25.6||-20%|
|Aliens vs. Predator – Very High – AAx4, AFx16||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||24.6||25%|
|GeForce GTX 570||22.0||12%|
|Radeon HD 6950||21.7||10%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||19.7|
|Radeon HD 5870||19.0||-4%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||18.5||-6%|
|Radeon HD 6870||15.8||-20%|
[nextpage title=”Lost Planet 2″]
Lost Planet 2 is a game that uses a lot of DirectX 11 features, like tessellation (to round out the edges of polygonal models), displacement maps (added to the tessellated mesh to add fine grain details), DirectCompute soft body simulation (to introduce more realism in the “boss” monsters), and DirectCompute wave simulation (to introduce more realism in the physics calculations in water surfaces; when you move or when gunshots and explosions hit the water, it moves accordingly). We reviewed the video cards using Lost Planet 2 internal benchmarking features, choosing the “Benchmark A” (we know that “Benchmark B” is the one recommended for reviewing video cards, however, at least with us, results were inconsistent). We set graphics at “high,” anti-aliasing at “4x” and DX11 at “full.” The results below are the number of frames per second generated by each video card.
|Lost Planet 2 – High – AAx4||1680×1050||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||61.30||18%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||51.90|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||48.10||-7%|
|Radeon HD 6970||45.20||-13%|
|Radeon HD 6950||40.20||-23%|
|Radeon HD 6870||35.70||-31%|
|Radeon HD 5870||31.10||-40%|
|Lost Planet 2 – High – AAx4||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||54.20||25%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||43.40|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||42.00||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6970||41.70||-4%|
|Radeon HD 6950||33.60||-23%|
|Radeon HD 6870||30.60||-29%|
|Radeon HD 5870||27.80||-36%|
|Lost Planet 2 – High – AAx4||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||37.85||34%|
|GeForce GTX 570||35.50||26%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||28.20|
|Radeon HD 6950||27.40||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||26.20||-7%|
|Radeon HD 6870||23.90||-15%|
|Radeon HD 5870||23.80||-16%|
[nextpage title=”3DMark 11 Professional”]
3DMark 11 Professional measures Shader 5.0 (i.e., DirectX 11) performance. We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680×1050, 1920×1200, and 2560×1600, selecting the four graphics tests available and deselecting the other tests available. We used two image quality settings for each resolution, “Performance” and “Extreme,” both at their default settings. The results being compared are the “GPU Score” achieved by each video card.
|3DMark Vantage – Performance||1680×1050||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||3424||19%|
|GeForce GTX 570||3285||14%|
|Radeon HD 6950||3023||5%|
N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC
|Radeon HD 5870||2814||-2%|
|Radeon HD 6870||2745||-5%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||2690||-6%|
|3DMark Vantage – Performance||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||2641||21%|
|GeForce GTX 570||2466||13%|
|Radeon HD 6950||2334||7%|
|Radeon HD 5870||2208||2%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||2175|
|Radeon HD 6870||2148||-1%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||2034||-6%|
|3DMark Vantage – Performance||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1573||25%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1414||12%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1383||10%|
|Radeon HD 5870||1352||8%|
|Radeon HD 6870||1287||2%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||1257|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1176||-6%|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||1680×1050||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||2071||20%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1932||12%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1765||3%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||1721|
|Radeon HD 5870||1702||-1%|
|Radeon HD 6870||1668||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1624||-6%|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1611||19%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1507||11%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1415||5%|
|Radeon HD 5870||1380||2%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||1354|
|Radeon HD 6870||1314||-3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1263||-7%|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1005||24%|
|GeForce GTX 570||910||12%|
|Radeon HD 6950||882||9%|
|Radeon HD 5870||875||8%|
|Radeon HD 6870||824||2%|
|MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC||810|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||759||-6%|
If you are thinking on buying the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti, the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC is a no-brainer: it costs the same as the reference model, but it is faster, provides a better cooling solution, and allows you to increase the GPU voltage, giving you an extra tool for overclocking.
The MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC was between 3% and 8% faster than the standard GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Compared to its main competitor, the Radeon HD 6870, the reviewed video cards was way faster: between 18% and 45% faster on Lost Planet 2, 25% faster on Aliens vs. Predator, between 14% and 21% faster on Far Cry 2, between 17% and 25% faster on Crysis Warhead, and between 3% and 9% faster on Call of Duty 4. On 3DMark 11 the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC was 5% faster at 1680×1050 using the “Performance” profile, but both achieved the same performance level at higher resolutions. The reviewed card was 3% faster at 1680×1050 and 1920×1200 using the “Extreme” profile, but at 2560×1600 both achieved the same performance level.
It seems that AMD released a Radeon 6950 with 1 GB at an aggressive price to compete with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, however AMD didn’t tell us that they were going to release this video card nor provided us a sample.