ASUS GeForce GTX 560 TOP Direct Cu II 1 GB Review 15

ASUS GeForce GTX 560 TOP Direct Cu II 1 GB Review

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It's time for another big-ticket graphics card launch by NVIDIA, presenting the GeForce GTX 560 review. Hang on, don't confuse this with GeForce GTX 560 Ti, which is a different, higher-end part, that was released way back in January. Why exactly did NVIDIA think of giving the GeForce 560 Ti a smaller sibling and this "late"? Among other things, it's because of a host of changes that took place in rival AMD's $150 to $250 lineup after the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, changes that took place over a period of time, warranting NVIDIA to respond with the new GeForce GTX 560.

First, as of January, NVIDIA may have had a healthy inventory of GTX 460 to clear, and that SKU was quite competitive at the time following some price cuts that made it a good deal against the Radeon HD 6850. AMD used a two-pronged market strategy against GTX 560 Ti by introducing a cheaper Radeon HD 6950 1 GB graphics card that ended up with high cost-performance ratio; and by slashing prices of HD 6870 and stepping up pressure on lower-end NVIDIA SKUs. Later, AMD introduced HD 6790, a sub-$200 SKU that ended up with higher performance than GTX 550 Ti.

The GTX 560 first surfaced some time last month, though it was always speculated that NVIDIA will milk the GF114 beyond just one SKU (GTX 560 Ti). Hence, the GeForce GTX 560 was born. While the name is bound to create some confusion, NVIDIA only stands to benefit from it. GTX 560 Ti earned the reputation of striking the gamer's sweet-spot, and so the GeForce GTX 560 will be perceived as a good SKU by the lesser-informed buyers.

Based on the same exact GPU as the GTX 560 Ti, the 40 nm GF114, the GTX 560 has 336 of the 384 CUDA cores enabled, the same number as on GTX 460, but leads with clock speeds without disturbing the power draw much, a characteristic of NVIDIA's second-generation Fermi GPUs. On the reference design the core is clocked at a zesty 810 MHz, CUDA cores at 1620 MHz, and memory at 1 GHz. Compare that to 675/1350/900 MHz on the GTX 460. So the GTX 560 is in essence a super overclocked GTX 460.

ASUS has taken their Direct CU II cooling solution and slapped it on a custom designed GTX 560 PCB. The resulting card features higher clock speeds out of the box which should put its performance close to the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.

GeForce GTX 560 Market Segment Analysis
HD 6790
GTX 460
GTX 460
HD 6850
HD 6870
GTX 560
560 DC II
GTX 560 Ti
HD 6950
Shader Units80033633696011203363363841408
Graphics ProcessorBartsGF104GF104BartsBartsGF114GF114GF114Cayman
Memory Size1024 MB768 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB2048 MB
Memory Bus Width256 bit192 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit256 bit
Core Clock840 MHz675 MHz675 MHz775 MHz900 MHz810 MHz925 MHz823 MHz800 MHz
Memory Clock1050 MHz900 MHz900 MHz1000 MHz1050 MHz1002 MHz1050 MHz1002 MHz1250 MHz
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