Nvidia’s Fermi architecture has been out for some time now and at this point in time is just about ending the life cycle of cards based on it to make room for Kepler sometime this year… (recent CES updates from Nvidia claim 1H 2012) but not so fast! A fairly significant gap in the market between the GTX 560 Ti and GTX 570 seemed to be begging for a card to bridge that gap. Answering the call is a new GTX 560 Ti 448 core based on the GTX 570/580 core (GF110) sporting 448 stream processors (SP’s) up from the default 384 of the GTX 560 Ti. Zotac was kind enough to send us a sample of the card to test it. Let’s see how this card does against its little brother and a couple others in its market segment.
Specifications and Features
So what is this version of the GTX 560 Ti exactly? Take a look at the table below to see the high level specifications of this limited edition card. Of course, you can see its 448 core setup, 765 MHz core clocks with 1900 MHz (3800 MHz DDR5) memory speeds, down from 822 MHz and 2000 MHz (4000 MHz DDR5) reference clocks of the original GTX 560 Ti. The reference clocks for the GTX 560 Ti 448 are 734 MHz core and 1900 MHz memory.
Taking a step back from the speeds of the card and looking at the cores, Nvidia has strapped the venerable GF110 core (570/580) to this card. The big difference is they cut off a SP bank or two to come up with the 448 SP number found in the GTX 560 Ti 448 core version. The memory bus has also expanded to 320 bit from 256 bit as well as adding another 200 MB of VRAM landing at a total of 1280 MB.
Using the GF110 core and sporting more memory and SP’s, this card is bound to use more power. The TDP between these two cards is a bit different with the 448 core coming in at 210 W, and the original GTX 560 Ti at 180 W. Because of this, Zotac does recommend to use a 600 W PSU with the new card as opposed to a 450 W PSU for the original GTX 560 Ti. The TDP isn’t that much different so I am quite surprised at the 600 W recommendation.
|GPU||GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core (GF110)||GeForce GTX 560 Ti (GF114)|
|Core Clock||765 MHz||822 MHz|
|Core Processors||448 Stream Processors||384 Stream Processors|
|Memory Size||1280 MB||1024 MB|
|Memory Clock||3800 MHz||4000 MHz|
|Dual-Link DVI Supported||Yes||Yes|
|HDMI||1 x HDMI 1.4a w/audio||1 x HDMI 1.4a w/audio|
|Max Resolution||2560 x 1600||2560 x 1600|
|Interface||PCI Express 2.0 x 16 (Compatible with 1.1)||PCI Express 2.0 x 16 (Compatible with 1.1)|
|Cooler Type||Fan (Dual Slot)||Fan (Dual Slot) – Vary by model|
|Recommended PSU Wattage||600 Watt||450 Watt|
|DirectX||DirectX 11||DirectX 11|
|RAMDAC||400 MHz||400 MHz|
|Extra Features||4-way SLI Ready||2-way SLI Ready|
|Package Contents||1 x DVI-to-VGA adapter|
2 x Dual MOLEX to 6-pin PCIe power adapter
1 x Driver Disk
1 x ZOTAC Boost Premium software bundle
1 x User manual
|N/A – Will vary by vendor|
|Dimensions||4.376 x 9 in (111.15 x 228.6 mm)||N/A – Will vary by vendor|
|Warranty||2-Year Standard Warranty; Limited Lifetime Extended Warranty||N/A – Will vary by vendor|
The first look at the small retail packaging on this card reveals Zotac’s dark yellow color theme with what looks like a chrome or mercury (iron man?!!) gracing the front of the box as well as listing the high level features of the card. Flipping it over the box continues to talk about the features of the product inside.
Inside the box are the typically few accessories such as DVI to HDMI connector, as well as 2 molex to 6 pin PCIe connectors, the driver disk containing the drivers, and other bundled applications (multimedia based, Zotac BOOST Premium Software Bundle). The card sits in an anti static padded bag and fits well inside the box. There is a little bit of play as shipped, but the card arrived fine.
Showing off the card you can see Zotac takes its dark yellow theme and tosses it on the ‘shell’ of the card in the form of what looks like an aluminum mesh material. The result is a pretty good looking card, with some color, but not close to outrageous (which I do not like). You can see the SLI plugs at the top allowing Quad-SLI with four of these units. NOTE: You will only be able to SLI this card with other GTX 560 Ti 448 core GPUs. You are NOT able to SLI this with a regular (GF114) GTX 560 Ti, GTX 570, or GTX 580.
The bottom picture shows the outputs. You have 2 DVI-d, one HDMI (1.4a w/audio), and one full sized DisplayPort output. Plenty!
Last we will take a look at the cooler and under the hood. As you can tell there is a basic triple copper heatpipe cooling solution with a ~80 mm fan blowing down on to the core. Since it’s a lower profile cooler, it’s only a dual slot solution. Please note this method does dump most of the heat in the case. This shouldn’t be a problem for most users, but it’s always something to consider. It’s never my preference to dump the heat in side a case, but I’m also the person looking for every last MHz and lower degree Celsius on all components.
Taking the heatsink and fan off, one can see the typically…what’s the right word…liberal, application of the Thermal Interface Material (TIM). I cleaned off the excess and reapplied some MX-2 after the photo shoot.
Next, you will see a close up picture of the PCB and GPU. As stated earlier, it’s sporting the GF110 core shared by its big brothers, the GTX 570 and GTX 580. With the latest MSI Afterburner beta (2.2 beta9) I was able to make use of the OnSemi NCP5382 voltage regulator and control voltages via software.
In the next photo, one can see the type of memory chips used on this card. Zotac has chosen to use GDDR5 memory chips made by Samsung (model K4G10325FG-HC04). They are specified to run at 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective GDDR5).
In the last picture you can see the finish on the copper base of the heatsink. Semi glossy is about what I would call it. We would all love a mirror like finish for that couple of extra degree Celsius or so it shaves off but, in the long run that extra effort isn’t going to yield much if any additional overclock. So I wouldn’t hold that against this heatsink.
Performance and Overclocking
- Intel i7-2600K CPU (Overclockers.com Approved!)
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper2 (Overclockers.com Approved!)
- Visiontek 2×4 GB DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ 1.65v RAM (Review)
- OCZ 240 GB Vertex 3 SSD (Overclockers.com Approved!)
- Seasonic X560 PSU
- Zotac GTX 560 Ti 448 core
- Windows 7 64 bit Operating System
- Nvidia 290.xx drivers (beta)
- All Synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings
- Alien vs. Predator was run at its default setting (textures high, no AA), and the highest it offered (4x AA, textures set to highest)
- Hawx 2 was run at a resolution of 1920×1080 with 8x AA and every setting at its highest (DX10)
- Dirt 2 was run at a resolution of 1920×1080 with 8x AA/16x AF and all settings at their highest
- Stalker:COP was run at a resolution of 1920×1080 using Ultra settings, 4x AA with tessellation enabled using the Sunshafts portion of the benchmark only
- Unigine Heaven (HWbot) was run with the “extreme” setting
Power Consumption and Temperatures
As noted earlier in the review, the GTX 560 Ti 448 core seems to be a bit more power hungry with more shaders enabled. The TDP for this card comes in at 210 W versus 170 W than the GF114 based GTX 560 Ti. I used 3DMark Vantage with the system at its overclock settings (4.5 GHz CPU and 921/2100 1.10 V) with a Kill-A-Watt meter. I was idling at 135 W (no power saving features enabled on CPU), with a peak of 391 W. Average consumption was around 360 W. Lowering everything back to stock with power savings I was around 100 W idle and 360 W peak consumption. A quick side not in power consumption… I tested with the 3930K with all cores just for kicks and ended up hitting 500 W peak (around 460 W average). A fairly significant difference there.
Temperatures on this unit were a bit disappointing with the automatic fan profile. With an ambient temperature of 18 °C, temperatures peaked at 79 °C with the fan ramping up a whopping 10% from its default of 40% to keep it there or less. Now, to be clear, 79 °C isn’t close to damaging the card and shouldn’t cause issues. However, I would have liked to have seen a slightly more aggressive fan profile to keep the temperatures down (NOTE: This is a preference of mine, not necessarily a shortcoming of the card). Kicking the fan up to its default maximum of 85%, I was able to knock the temperatures down to 53 °C throughout Vantage. At that level though, the fan becomes a little screamer and, to me, is only good for benchmarking situations or with headphones as the tone this thing puts off at that speed just hits my ears in an unpleasant way.
Now it’s time to get down to business. Looking at Vantage and 3D11, you can clearly see the power this card has over its little brother. What you will also notice is this card beating the factory overclocked 6950, and just how close this card comes to beating out the higher priced and also highly overclocked 6970 when both are fully overclocked.
3DMark 06 needs a lot more CPU horsepower behind it in order to show the differences between all the powerhouse cards on the graph. Regardless of that, the Zotac GTX 560 Ti 448c makes a solid showing falling between the 6950 and 6970. In 3dMark03, at stock, it started out trailing the pack, but when overclocked the card managed to rocket past the 6970 in this case.
Ahh, finally some gaming numbers… Starting off with AvP (which uses DX11 and tessellation) you can see the GTX 560 Ti can’t quite keep up with the lower priced (but highly overclocked at ‘stock’) 6950. The frame rates are still quite playable though no matter what setting is used at 1920×1080.
Stepping on over to Hawx2, the GTX 560 Ti 448c beats out both the 6950 and 6970 in this game. The frame rates are so high though, that even a much lesser card will be able to run this game at the benchmark settings. If you can tell the difference between 210 FPS and 160 FPS, color me impressed!
Stalker Call of Pripyat results (DX11, tessellation on the X-Ray engine 1.6) again showing the strength of this card and its tessellation capabilities wiping the floor with the AMD 6970 and 6950 in this benchmark. Again heavy tessellation here is helping separate the Green from the Red team.
Last of the testing here is Unigine Heaven Benchmark. The Zotac GTX 560 Ti 448c again beats out the 6950 and essentially matches 6970. Not a bad showing at all.
Pushing the Limits
This is the part I love so much about reviewing, pushing it for all she’s worth. I was able to get up to 840 MHz on the core with the stock voltage (1.0 V) which is a pretty decent jump. In order to change the voltage on this card, I had to scrounge up a version of MSI Afterburner that would allow me to change the voltage on the card as the latest non beta version, 2.2, wouldn’t do it. I found these functions in the 2.2 Beta 9 version. When adding the .1 (to total 1.1 V) that Afterburner gave me, I set the core at 900 MHz. The memory of course does not have any voltage adjustments and was easily sitting at 2100 MHz for the overlclocked portion of the testing. These were rock solid clocks throughout testing and a couple hours of Battlefield 3.
The most I could push this card on the core to pass all benchmarks wasn’t much higher than the ’24/7 overclock’ above and rolled in at 921/1842/2105. You can see it raised the scores quite a bit with some help from the CPU change/additional cores and threads).
For this testing I raised the fan speed to its maximum of 85%. This, while being a bit loud, the smaller fan was a higher pitched tone than I’m used to, kept the card to 53 °C in 18.5 °C ambient room. If this was left on auto, the card would reach 80 °C and 40% fan speed which is about as warm as I would want to get it. Well, enough rambling on about the clock speeds achieved, let’s look at the benchmarks…
As you can see throwing some horsepower in the form of cores really improves some of the benchmarks listed here. These scores are fully untweaked and run at the clock speeds listed.
One thing I wanted to add here are a simple results table showing a direct comparison between the GTX 560 Ti and GTX 560 Ti 448c. Please keep in mind the GTX 560 Ti was overclocked a bit out of the box (560 Ti review). I have only listed the stock testing to show the differences out of the box with the same setup. You can see outside of 3DMark05 that the GTX 560 Ti 448c beats out a factory overclocked GTX 560 Ti in all the other tests.
|Benchmarks/GPU||560 Ti||560 Ti 448c|
Before the GTX 560 Ti 448 core card was released, there was a fairly significant gap in the Nvidia lineup between a GTX 570 around $330 and a GTX 560 Ti around $210 (with rebates down to $189!). Now this card has filled in that gap with both performance and price. Having the same core (GF110) as the GTX 570/580 but with a shader processor module disabled (or two vs 580) and sharing the same reference clocks, and memory bandwidth as the GTX 570, the speeds on paper are just a hair behind the 570 and as I hope you noticed here, is besting its little brother, the GTX 560 Ti, in all tests, beating out the AMD 6950 the vast majority of tests and seemingly trading punches with the former top of the line AMD 6970.
Pricing coming in for the Zotac model stands at $299.99 at newegg.com and comes with a BF3 coupon. The cheapest price for these cards are only $10 lower, but do not come with one of the latest first person shooters in Battlefield 3. Even without the game included the pricing falls squarely in the middle of the available cards, so adding BF3 in makes this a sweet deal if you are looking for that game.
So here we have a card that aims to fill a performance and pricepoint gap. Judging from the cost and performance results above, one can draw a reasonable conclusion that it has. The Zotac GTX 560 Ti 448 Core card has an attractive theme with the cooler covering, very solid performance besting the ‘base’ 560ti easily, and with pricing around 10% less than a 570 well. For those in the market for a $300 or slightly less card, you have found it.