We completed the AMD Graphics’ HD 6000 series versus Nvidia’s 500 series evaluations from their top dual-GPU $750 monster cards down to their entry level video cards, months ago. Both companies have mostly completed their impressive line-up and we see their partners mostly attempt to differentiate one brand from another with features. However, today we are going to look at Nvidia’s GTX 560 Ti as a brand-new 448 core limited edition.
In January, we introduced the original 384 core Titanium GeForce GTX 560 Ti as Nvidia successfully positioned it against AMD’s HD 6950. This time, we are introducing the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core GTX as a limited-edition version of the regular 384-core GTX 560 Ti that promises to bring more firepower to Nvidia’s lineup that when overclocked, may even challenge the much more expensive HD 6970.
The new GTX 560 Ti with 448s core is a very interesting GPU and reminiscent of the GTX 260′s two major core editions. It doesn’t replace anything. Technically, the GTX 560 Ti is Nvidia’s “Hunter”, but in this case it has been partially upgraded to a Tank. It comes equipped with more armor and firepower than the regular Ti yet is slightly lighter than the GTX 570 at stock clocks. And it is priced accordingly from $289 to $310, depending on its clocks and features. There is no reference version and each of Nvidia’s partners who has this GPU is free to overclock it as they see fit. And as we shall see, overclocking may be a game changer.
These 448 core GPUs form the basis for a very limited edition of the GTX 560 Ti that is available only in a few geographic areas including Europe and North America, but not in Asia. Also, because of limited supplies of the GF100 GPU that is used to power this 448 core GTX 560 Ti, only a few of Nvidia’s partners will be selling them: Asus, EVGA, Gainward, Gigabyte, Inno3D, Palit, MSI and Zotac.
EVGA has two versions of the new 448 core GTX 560 Ti – the FTW version for $289, and the Classified Edition for $299. Both Ti’s are factory-clocked at the same 797/3900MHz – well above Nvidia’s reference clocks of 732/3800MHz. The 448 Core EVGA GTX FTW 560 Ti which we are reviewing today (above) is similar in form to the regular EVGA GTX 560 Ti, while the Classified edition (below) is built for more extreme overclocking by being equipped with dual fans and with 8-pin+6-pin PCIe connectors instead of the two 6-pin connectors that the FTW version uses.
We will attempt to determine today if the new GTX 560 Ti 448 core video cards are worth the price premium over the regular GTX 560 Ti and how close into tank territory – into that of a GTX 570 – an overclocked GTX 560 Ti-448 Hunter will encroach. And of course, we want to see it benched against its arch-enemy, the Radeon HD 6950-2GB and even see how it will perform overclocked against the HD 6970, AMD’s top single-GPU card.
Where does the new 448 Core GTX 560 Ti fit in?
We are going to use our mildly overclocked Galaxy GTX 560 Ti as the baseline for minimum performance in this evaluation as lower-end cards require lower settings and resolutions. There really are no other competing cards in the new 448 core GTX’s approximately $300 price range. The HD 6870/6850s are priced below $200 and they compete with the vanilla GTX 560 and the GTX 550 Ti, while the HD 6970 is priced well over $300 and competes currently with the GTX 570. The GTX 580 is also used in our evaluation although it is priced by itself, well above the HD 6970 pricing.
Here is current average pricing into the middle of which Nvidia is going to add an approximately $300 ($289-309) GTX 560 Ti 448 core video card:
- The GTX 560 Ti costs about $215
- The HD 6950 costs about $250
- The GTX 570 costs about $320
- The HD 6970 costs about $340
For the new 448 core GTX to be a good value at its reference clocks, it needs to be solidly faster than the HD 6950 and it should come very close to the performance of the GTX 570. We want to see if Nvidia and their partners have put together a good deal for their customers and we also want to look at the price pressure that they will bring on AMD’s bread and butter high end – the HD 6950 – as well as the HD 6970.
Here is what Nvidia told reviewers to expect regarding performance:
The 560 Ti with 448 cores sits between the GTX 560 Ti and the GTX 570. The GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores is ~10-15% faster than a 560 Ti. The GTX 570 is ~5% faster than the GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores.
One important thing to note is that this is not a new “GTX 565″ or a “Lite” GTX 570, although either designation might work if it were a regular production card instead of a limited run. It appears that Nvidia saw a very clever way to sell a large amount of GF100 lower-binned chips with 448 cores at a premium that would otherwise be wasted or downgraded even further for lesser video cards. The new 448 core GTX 560 Ti is a one-shot deal for the holidays and there will be no more when they are sold as it makes no sense to downgrade GPUs with more than 448 cores for the GTX 560 Ti.
The older GF114 384 core Galaxy GTX 560 Ti that we are using as the baseline reference to compare the new EVGA 448 core GTX 560 TI FTW edition with, is currently $199 after $35 MiR at Amazon.com. It is very mildly factory overclocked +13MHz on the core which gives a small performance boost over the stock clocks of 822/2004MHz and we reviewed it here. Here are the specifications for the standard 384-core GTX 560 Ti as Nvidia released it this last January:
We note the amount of processing clusters has doubled in the new GTX based on GF100, the original Fermi, and we have a few less texture units overall but more ROPs and the memory and core clocks are also reduced. The memory interface is wider in the new GPU, and SLI support has been increased to triple GPU, up from double in the regular GF114 GPU used in the 384 core GTX 560 Ti.
The 448 core cards will only work together in multi-GPU SLI; no support is provided for regular 384 core version Ti’s to be paired in SLI with the 448 core version although they can be used together in a PhysX configuration.
The EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW
Let’s take a look at the specifications for the card that we tested:
EVGA clocks their FTW (and Classified) core at 797MHz, +65 MHz over the stock 732MHz clocks. The vRAM is clocked up from the stock 3800MHz (1900MHz x2 data rate) to 3900MHz. And of course, we want to see if we can clock it even higher and what performance improvements it might bring over the stock and EVGA overclocked settings.
We want to put to determine what this new 448 core GTX 560 Ti video cards brings as we continue to focus on gaming performance. We are going to test the new card against the 384 core GTX 560 Ti, the GTX 570 and even the GTX 580. And we shall not neglect the HD 6950 and HD 6970 as we test 21 modern games at the highest playable resolutions and details to show which cards make the grade.
We use our Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.80GHz to eliminate any CPU bottlenecks and we test at 2560×1600, 1920×1200 and 1680×1050 resolutions and with an emphasis on DX11 games – 1 open GL, 4 DX9, 5 DX10, and 10 DX11 games. We will also overclock our new GTX 560 Ti past EVGA’s clocks and also give you 3D Vision performance results.
Since we are using upper mid-level to high-end enthusiast GPU video cards, it makes sense to test them at their highest playable resolutions and with the most demanding playable settings that they can handle. And of course we will attempt to find playable settings bearing in mind that the new GTX is aimed approximately at 1920×1080 resolution and above. Let’s take a close look at our new EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 core FTW card. Head to the next page for the unboxing.
TheEVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW
The EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW is an interesting card but there is nothing fancy to see from the outside. It is a physically small card as its dimensions are 4.4 wide x 9 inches long, not forgetting that the PCIe connectors are on the end of the card and inserting the cables must be considered for small cases. The card arrives in a typical EVGA box that advertises the card without its specifications on its outside. It mentions PhysX, SLI, DirectX11 and 3D Vision Surround without mentioning that Surround requires SLI to power it; 3D Vision only needs one card.
Great utilities are included, including EVGA’s Precision overclocking utility which now includes an integrated GPU voltage tuner. The box doesn’t mention that if you purchase this card, you can also get a free digital download of the just-released DX11 Batman: Arkham City which we previewed here.
The end flaps show the PC requirements for this card as well as what is included in the box.
The 448 core GTX 560 Ti is set up for 2- or 3-way SLI with one or two other 448 core GTX 560 Ti’s. You can mix cards from different vendors with different clock speeds but you cannot mix cards with different amounts of cores or different framebuffers as you can with AMD’s competing multi-GPU solution, CrossFire.
Let’s look at what EVGA offers us over the reference and other partner versions with their 448 Core GTX 560-Ti FTW:
- Overclocked out of the box – This card offers a +65MHz core speed increase out of the box along with a memory boost.
- EVGA Precision – This utility allows overclocking, monitoring and fanspeed adjustments as well as voltage adjustments with the latest version. It is located on the DVD that ships with the card. For more information, please visit www.evga.com/precision/
- EVGA OC Scanner – EVGA OC Scanner is fully supported by the 448 Core EVGA GTX 560 Ti FTW. This utility allows you to benchmark, monitor and stress test your EVGA card. For more information, please visit www.evga.com/ocscanner/
- EVGA Customer Support – EVGA’s acclaimed customer support can be contacted by support ticket, email, and phone. For more information, please visit http://www.evga.com/support/
- EVGA Community – Active game servers, thriving forums, integrated chat and social networks allow users to ask questions or get help wherever they feel the most comfortable. For more information, please visit www.evga.com/community/
- EVGA Warranty – EVGA offers a variety of warranties to fit their customer’s needs. This card comes with a basic 3 year warranty which may be extended. For more information, please visit www.evga.com/warranty/
- EVGA Advanced RMA Program – EVGA offers this service to help reduce the downtime of a customer’s system by shipping a replacement product first and lets our valued customer deal with the EVGA directly for quick and efficient service. For more information, please visit www.evga.com/ear/
The EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW is factory overclocked. EVGA has included their Precision overclocking software on the driver DVD or as a download on their site and you can even raise the voltage. This is a tool that we use with great results including overclocking our new GTX beyond the factory overclock. With a great warranty and advanced RMA’s optional, EVGA offers great service!
We can’t wait to test out our new card, but before we begin the testing, head over to our testing configuration.
Test Configuration – Intel Hardware
- Intel Core i7 920 reference 2.66 GHz, overclocked to 3.8 GHz; Turbo and HyperThreading are on.
- Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD4P (latest BIOS, PCIe 2.0 specification; CrossFire/SLI 16x+16x).
- 6 GB OCZ DDR3 PC 1800 Kingston RAM (3×2 GB, tri-channel at PC 1600 speeds; 2×2 GB supplied by Kingston)
- EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW, 1.2 GB overclocked design (897/1950MHz and also at stock clocks, 832/1900MHz, and overclocked to 855/2000MHz), supplied by EVGA
- Galaxy GTX 560 Ti (384 core), 1 GB custom cooler and clocks, Galaxy clocks (835/2004 MHz), supplied by Galaxy.
- GeForce GTX 580, 1.5 GB reference design and clocks (772/2004 MHz), supplied by Nvidia
- GeForce GTX 570, 1.2 GB reference design and clocks (732/1900 MHz), supplied by Nvidia
- AMD Radeon HD 6970, 2 GB reference design and stock clocks, supplied by AMD
- AMD Radeon HD 6950, 2 GB reference design and stock clocks, supplied by AMD
- Onboard Realtek Audio
- 2 x 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard drives; one for AMD and one for Nvidia
- OCZ 850W power supply unit
- Thermaltake Element G Case supplied by Thermaltake
- Noctua NH-U12P SE2 CPU cooler, supplied by Noctua
- Philips DVD SATA writer
- HP LP3065 2560×1600 thirty inch LCD. Three ASUS 23-inch 1920×1080 120Hz LCDs supplied by ASUS/Nvidia.
- Asus 236 120Hz 1080p display and 3D Vision Glasses supplied by Nvidia/Asus.
Test Configuration – Software
- NVIDIA GeForce 285.88 beta drivers for GTX 560 Ti’s and GTX 570 and 285.62 WHQL drivers for the GTX 580; High Quality
- AMD 11.11 WHQL Catalyst drivers; High Quality – optimizations off; use application settings
- Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
- DirectX November 2010
- All games are patched to their latest versions.
- vsync is forced off in the control panel.
- AA enabled as noted in games; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
- All results show average, minimum and maximum frame rates except as noted.
- Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
- Windows 7 64, all DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths; DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.
- 3DMark 11
- Heaven 2.5
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Serious Sam, Second Encounter HD (2010)
- Mafia II
- Far Cry 2
- Just Cause 2
- Resident Evil 5
- Alien vs. Predator
- STALKER, Call of Pripyat
- Metro 2033
- F1 2010
- H.A.W.X. 2
- Lost Planet 2
- Civilization V
- Total War: Shogun II
- Dirt 3
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Before we get to the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW’s performance in gaming, let’s look at overclocking and temperatures.
Overclocking & Temperatures
Overclocking the EVGA GTX 560 Ti beyond the stock overclock was easy. As usual, we are not looking for the ultimate overvolted overclock with our VGA fan screaming along at 100%. We always test with our card at stock voltage and the stock fan profile so that our reader may have a good idea of midrange overclocking.
We reached 855MHz on the core and upped the memory +50Hz to 2000MHz. That 855Mhz is +58MHz over EVGA’s own 65Hz overclock and +123MHz over the stock Nvidia reference clocks. On the other hand, the +100MHz total memory boost is quite conservative. We could have gone much higher on the core and on the memory if we were willing to turn up the fan speeds. As it was, high core temps were the sole limiting factor on our overclock as far as we could see.
We always use EVGA’s Precision overclocking tool which recently added integrated GPU voltage adjustments. Here are its features from EVGA’s website:
- NEW! Now with integrated GPU Voltage Tuner (BETA)!
- Independent or Synchronous control for fan and clock settings in a multi-GPU system
- Allows up to 10 profiles, and ability to assign hotkeys to these profiles to allow in-game
- Ability to view temperatures in the system tray
- Fan profiling system
- Core/Shader Clock Link/Unlink capability
- Fan Speed manual or auto adjustment
- Real-Time on-screen display support for ingame temp, framerate, and clock monitoring
- Logitech Keyboard LCD Display support
- In-app temp/clockspeed monitoring of GPU’s
- Information button shows device, driver, memory size, BIOS Revision and SLI mode
- Ability to choose different skins, and make your own!
- Now you can save screenshots from your favorite games!
Our ambient (room temperatures) were quite warm – 80F – so as to approximate a warm Summer day. Be aware that we used our Thermaltake Element G case which has excellent airflow for an oversized midtower. The GTX 560 Ti runs quite cool at the EVGA factory overclock, in the low to mid-40s C even under load. However, once the core speed increased, so did the temperatures until we were idling in the low 60s when we hit 850MHz on the core and would easily rise into the 80sC; 100C shut down the GPU – even if it just peaked there for an instant. 860MHz was not attainable without increasing the VGA fan speed, so we settled on a stable 855MHz and kept an eye on our temperatures.
Read on as we see what effect increasing core speed has on the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 core FTW – from the reference speed, to EVGA’s overclock to our own. The performance summary charts are up next.
Performance summary charts
Here are the summary charts of 21 games and 3 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen and it is DX11 when there is a choice; DX10 is picked above DX9, and the settings are ultra or maxed (except for Shogun II on ” very high”). Exact settings are listed in last week’s Catalyst 11.10 versus GeForce 285.62 driver comparison.
In the first three columns, the GTX 560 Ti is tested in its three flavors, first the Galaxy 384 Core GTX 560 Ti, secondly the EVGA underclocked-to-stock 448 core GTX 560 Ti; and third, the EVGA factory overclocked 448 core GTX 560 Ti FTW (in bold). Next we see the GTX 560 Ti’s bigger brother, the GTX 570 sandwiched in-between the competition, the 2GB HD 6950 and HD 6970. And in the 7th column, we see the GTX 580 as the fastest single-GPU video card sitting along in price/performance.
All results, except for Vantage and 3DMark11, show average framerates and higher is always better. In-game settings are fully maxed out and they are identically high or ultra across all platforms except for Shogun II where it is tested at the benchmark’s “very high” DX11 settings with 2xMSAA and 16xAF. We see some very impressive results with the EVGA-clocked 448 core generally beating or trading blows with the GTX 570 and HD 6950. Some game benchmarks show it even faster than the HD 6970, although not generally so.
Let’s overclock our GTX 560 Ti 448 Core even further to 855/2000MHz and rerun the benches, but this time we will emphasize performance over the EVGA factory-overclocked GTX 560 Ti FTW speeds and match it more closely to GTX 570 and HD 6970 results.. The same settings are used in both charts. The user-overclocked card’s figures are in bold.
Impressive. A moderate overclock over the EVGA factory overclock now generally has the 448 Core GTX 560 Ti at $290 beating the $50 more expensive stock HD 6970! And of course, it now soundly beats the stock GTX 570. We need to realize however, that each of the competing cards can also be overclocked but that does not take away from the overclocking and performance scaling abilities of the new 448 core GTX 560 Ti.
3DMark11 is Futuremark’s latest DX11-only benchmark and here are the default benchmarks detailed results.
Before we head to our conclusion, let’s do some 3D Vision testing.
3D Vision Testing
We evaluated 3D Vision with 80 games and determined that it will be the next big thing in gaming. Even older games not specifically made for 3D can work very well with the added dimension of depth. We received our 3D Vision 2 bundle from Nvidia on Friday – 4 days ago – the same day that we received our EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW and we have not yet had time to evaluate the second generation of 3D Vision (2) from Nvidia. All the testing that we did was with the bundle that we received this Spring from Nvidia.
All of the games were played with maximum settings with a single EVGA-clocked FTW 448 core GTX 560 Ti and GTX 580. Motion Blur is left off and settings are maximum except as noted on the chart. We compare framerates in 2D with 3D Vision and note that there are further downward adjustments for smoother play.
Here are the results of our benching with 3D Vision enabled versus 2D with the GTX 550 Ti. There is a significant performance hit because each frame is rendered twice – once for the left eye and once for the right
3D Vision is quite impressive as gamers now have an enhanced dimension of depth to immerse them even more into their game. Best of all as you can see, 3D Vision is mostly playable on a single EVGA clocked GTX 550 Ti 448 core FTW edition. In many cases, the performance is not a lot lower than with the GTX 580 – an impressive feat for an under-$300 card at very high 1080p settings!
In some cases where playability is marginal, settings can be reduced further. And Mafia 2 framerates would benefit greatly by adding a dedicated PhysX card.
We shall cover 3D Vision 2 and the new Light Boost Asus 27″ 120Hz second generation display and improved 3D Vision glasses in a shortly upcoming evaluation featuring Batman: Arkham City. In the meantime, stay tuned for regular 3D Vision driver performance testing. We shall also cover HD3D passive S3D versus 3D Vision 2 in about a month.
Let’s head for our conclusion.
This has been quite an enjoyable if far too short, 3-day exploration for us in evaluating our new EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 core FTW, ten months after the original 384 core version launched. It did very well performance-wise comparing it to the HD 6970/6950 and the GTX 570. We were totally impressed with the cool-running GF100 chip that has such outstanding overclockability for a good price. It slots right in with the GTX 570 and offer more advantages than just price.
We see good overclockability from even the regularly-cooled FTW card and we hav no doubt the EVGA Classified edition for $10 more than our FTW version might be an even better choice for an overclocker.
- Price – for sub-$300 it is a versatile card that can be used for heavy DX11 gaming
- Overclockability is excellent and it appears mostly limited by its thermals.
- It is possible to use three of these cards for Tri-SLI performance
- Factory overclocked, the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448 core FTW trades blows with the more expensive GTX 570 and overclocked further, with the HD 6970
- EVGA offers an outstanding warranty and great 24/7 support. Many other unique features including a great community.
- Batman: Arkham City or BattleField 3 is free to many purchasers of a GTX 560 Ti or higher as a special promo. Make sure to check the partner promos and the specific etailer to see if this offer is available.
- These cards are only available in limited quantities. Pricing will not vary and there will be little discounting nor rebates
- The naming is long – “EVGA GTX 560 Ti 440 Core FTW”. But catchy. Not a con; just a nitpick.
- If you are buying a $300 video card right now, the EVGA GTX 560 Ti is a limited-run great value and bang-for-buck gaming video card that will stand among the fastest cards with just a bit more overclocking. When a great value is offered like this, we feel it deserves ABT’s highest award – the “Kick Ass” award.
We do not know what the future will bring nor how soon the next generation of video cards will be arriving, but today this GTX 560 Ti 448 Core FTW brings an excellent performer to the GeForce family. With great features like PhysX and the second generation of 3D Vision, you can be assured of immersive gaming by picking this card for 1080p or even higher resolutions.
If you currently game on an older generation video card, you will do yourself a big favor by upgrading. The move to an EVGA GTX 560 TI 448 core FTW will give you better visuals on the DX11 pathway and you are no doubt thinking of SLI or even Tri-SLI if you want to get even higher performance.
The competition is hot as the prices on the newer video cards have softened and AMD offers their own set of features including Eyefinity and HD3D with the competing Radeons. Stay tuned, there is a lot coming from us at ABT. Next up is a brand new evaluation of 3D Vision 2 versus HD3D in a new installment featuring Batman: Arkham City which is due next week. Also, a Thermaltake Chaser MK II full-tower case review is due shortly which will feature keeping the highly overclocked FX-8150 and HD 6970-X3 TriFire running cool.
ABT Senior Editor
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