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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. Which one is the best? Check it out.
We are reviewing the reference model for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti provided by NVIDIA. 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. Therefore, the video card you will see in this review is exactly the same one you will find on the market under several different brands. In order to differentiate themselves, partners may also release models with a different cooling solution and/or overclocked.
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|
|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 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti”]
Below we have an overall look at the NVIDIA reference model for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. It requires two six-pin auxiliary power connectors.
This video card has one mini HDMI and two DVI-D connectors.
[nextpage title=”The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (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.
The voltage regulator circuit uses solid capacitors, ferrite-core coils (which make the regulator to have higher efficiency because they have lower energy loss than iron-core coils), and low RDS(on) MOSFET transistors (i.e., higher efficiency).
The GPU heatsink can be seen in Figures 6 and 7. It has a copper base, three six-mm heatpipes, aluminum fins, and an 80 mm fan.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 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, which support up to 2.5 GHz (5 GHz DDR) and since on this video card memory is accessed at 2 GHz (4 GHz DDR), there is still a huge 25% 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.
[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: 22.214.171.1248
- 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||20%|
|GeForce GTX 570||169.0||14%|
|Radeon HD 6950||155.6||5%|
|Radeon HD 5870||150.3||1%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||148.2|
|Radeon HD 6870||142.4||-4%|
|Call of Duty 4 – Maximum||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||162.3||29%|
|GeForce GTX 570||144.6||15%|
|Radeon HD 5870||130.8||4%|
|Radeon HD 6950||130.4||4%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||125.4|
|Radeon HD 6870||123.5||-2%|
|Call of Duty 4 – Maximum||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||108.4||27%|
|GeForce GTX 570||100.4||18%|
|Radeon HD 6950||92.2||8%|
|Radeon HD 5870||91.8||7%|
|Radeon HD 6870||87.3||2%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||85.4|
[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||16%|
|Radeon HD 6970||39||3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||38|
|Radeon HD 6950||36||-5%|
|Radeon HD 5870||34||-11%|
|Radeon HD 6870||32||-16%|
|Crysis Warhead – Very High||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||38||12%|
|Radeon HD 6970||34||0%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||31|
|Radeon HD 6950||31||0%|
|Radeon HD 5870||30 td>||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6870||27||-13%|
|Crysis Warhead – Very High||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||24||20%|
|GeForce GTX 570||24||20%|
|Radeon HD 6950||21||5%|
|Radeon HD 5870||21||5%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||20|
|Radeon HD 6870||18||-10%|
[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||17%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||84.6|
|Radeon HD 6970||81.9||-3%|
|Radeon HD 6950||78.4||-7%|
|Radeon HD 5870||74.4||-12%|
|Radeon HD 6870||70.6||-17%|
|FarCry 2 – Ultra High – AAx8||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||84.7||8%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||78.3|
|Radeon HD 6970||74.3||-5%|
|Radeon HD 6950||70.7||-10%|
|Radeon HD 6870||70.6||-10%|
|Radeon HD 5870||65.6||-16%|
|FarCry 2 – Ultra High – AAx8||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||55.4||8%|
|GeForce GTX 570||55.2||8%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||51.3|
|Radeon HD 6950||50.4||-2%|
|Radeon HD 5870||44.2||-14%|
|Radeon HD 6870||42.4||-17%|
[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||29%|
|GeForce GTX 570||43.3||17%|
|Radeon HD 6950||42.1||13%|
|Radeon HD 5870||37.7||2%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||37.1|
|Radeon HD 6870||31.4||-15%|
|Aliens vs. Predator – Very High – AAx4, AFx16||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||39.6||31%|
|GeForce GTX 570||35.2||17%|
|Radeon HD 6950||35.1||16%|
|Radeon HD 5870||30.8||2%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||30.2|
|Radeon HD 6870||25.6||-15%|
|Aliens vs. Predator – Very High – AAx4, AFx16||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||24.6||33%|
|GeForce GTX 570||22.0||19%|
|Radeon HD 6950||21.7||17%|
|Radeon HD 5870||19.0||3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||18.5|
|Radeon HD 6870||15.8||-15%|
[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||27%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||48.10|
|Radeon HD 6970||45.20||-6%|
|Radeon HD 6950||40.20||-16%|
|Radeon HD 6870||35.70||-26%|
|Radeon HD 5870||31.10||-35%|
|Lost Planet 2 – High – AAx4||1920×1200||Difference|
|GeForce GTX 570||54.20||29%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||42.00|
|Radeon HD 6970||41.70||-1%|
|Radeon HD 6950||33.60||-20%|
|Radeon HD 6870||30.60||-27%|
|Radeon HD 5870||27.80||-34%|
|Lost Planet 2 – High – AAx4||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||37.85||44%|
|GeForce GTX 570||35.50||35%|
|Radeon HD 6950||27.40||5%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||26.20|
|Radeon HD 6870||23.90||-9%|
|Radeon HD 5870||23.80||-9%|
[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||27%|
|GeForce GTX 570||3285||22%|
|Radeon HD 6950||3023||12%|
|Radeon HD 5870||2814||5%|
|Radeon HD 6870||2745||2%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||2690|
|3DMark Vantage – Performance||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||2641||30%|
|GeForce GTX 570||2466||21%|
|Radeon HD 6950||2334||15%|
|Radeon HD 5870||2208||9%|
|Radeon HD 6870||2148||6%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||2034|
|3DMark Vantage – Performance||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1573||34%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1414||20%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1383||18%|
|Radeon HD 5870||1352||15%|
|Radeon HD 6870||1287||9%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1176|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||1680×1050||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||2071||28%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1932||19%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1765||9%|
|Radeon HD 5870||1702||5%|
|Radeon HD 6870||1668||3%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1624|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||1920×1200||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1611||28%|
|GeForce GTX 570||1507||19%|
|Radeon HD 6950||1415||12%|
|Radeon HD 5870||1380||9%|
|Radeon HD 6870||1314||4%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||1263|
|3DMark Vantage – Extreme||2560×1600||Difference|
|Radeon HD 6970||1005||32%|
|GeForce GTX 570||910||20%|
|Radeon HD 6950||882||16%|
|Radeon HD 5870||875||15%|
|Radeon HD 6870||824||9%|
|GeForce GTX 560 Ti||759|
In most scenarios the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti crushed its main competitor, the Radeon HD 6870: it was between 10% and 37% faster on Lost Planet 2, between 17% and 18% faster on Aliens vs. Predator, between 19% and 21% faster on Far Cry 2, and between 11% and 19% faster on Crysis Warhead. On Call of Duty 4 we saw a technical tie, with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti being 4% faster at 1680×1050 but both cards achieving the same performance at 1920×1200 and 2560×1600. On 3DMark 11 at 1680×1050 (both Performance and Extreme profiles) both cards achieved the same performance level, but at higher resolutions the Radeon HD 6870 was up to 9% faster.
It is true that you can find the Radeon HD 6870 for between USD 10 and USD 30 less than the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but based on our results we believe that paying a little bit more for the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti is well worth it.