Squeaky Wheel: NVIDIA Driver Fixes GTX 560 Ti 2Win and X79 Issue

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 20, 2011 - 10:39 AM |
Tagged: evga, GTX 560 Ti, 2win, x79, nvidia

Sometimes we are surprised when big companies listen to the community when they have a legitimate complaint about a product.  Late last night NVIDIA passed over a driver that finally fixes the issue we discussed last Friday with the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win dual-GPU graphics card and the new X79 chipset.  The issue arose from the inability to actually enable SLI on the card thus leaving one of your GTX 560 Ti's on the board sitting there limp.  And for gamers that pay $500+ for a graphics card, that is just unacceptable.

In a driver package that NVIDIA told me will be released tomorrow, 290.53, you can now enable SLI when this card is installed on an X79 motherboard.

560ti2win1.png

We needed to verify the performance to make sure SLI was actually functioning as we expect so we ran a handful of tests, starting with 3DMark11 on the Extreme preset:

560ti2win2.png

Compared to two separate GTX 560 Ti cards running in SLI, the 3DMark11 score was 2949 - performance was right on target.

For a bit more of a sanity check, just a couple of game tests too:

  • Metro 2033 (1920x1080)
    • EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win - 64.2 FPS
    • NV GTX 560 Ti SLI - 65.1 FPS
  • Batman: Arkham City (1920x1080)
    • EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win - 87.4 FPS
    • NV GTX 560 Ti SLI - 87.5 FPS

If you have an EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win card and already own or were planning to upgrade to Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E platform then you should be looking for this driver to drop on Wednesday the 21st.  Just in time for the holiday's NVIDIA is answering our requests for a commitment to gamers. 

Sometimes it just takes the squeaky wheel...

NVIDIA SLI Breaks EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and X79 Combinations

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, sli, evga, GTX 560 Ti, 2win

Sometimes, the best intentions fumble out of the gates.  When we reviewed the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win graphics card in November, I gave it a glowing review as a product that offered better performance than the GTX 580 while selling at a very similar price (currently just $20 more).  My test configuration at the time included an X58 motherboard based on the Nehalem architecture that has been tried and tested over the years.

For the forthcoming review of the Radeon HD 7970 graphics card, we decided to move our GPU test bed to the new X79-based Sandy Bridge-E platform since it was the new hotness and because it continued to be the best option for multi-GPU configurations going forward.  Or so we thought.

While preparing for our review, I was configuring our NVIDIA cards due for re-testing on this platform and brought the GTX 560 Ti 2Win out from the back room.  However, no matter which driver I used, I was unable to enable SLI on it and running a quick performance test confirmed we were running in a single GPU configuration.  We used driver versions from the 285.xx stack as well as the 290.xx stack - all with the same results.

x79sli2.jpg

Both GPUs were enabled and would show up in the Windows Device Manager AND inside the NVIDIA control panel.  However, the standard SLI configuration switch was nowhere to be found.  We only had the ability to select enabling PhysX on different the GPUs...

After a quick talk with both NVIDIA and EVGA we confirmed this to be a bug with the EVGA GTX 560 Ti 2Win and the X79 platform as a whole.  Why?  Apparanetly a driver fix is in the works - it is all simply a software issue.  A new version is "coming soon" though no specific dates were given.  If you have one of these cards and upgraded to an X79 motherboard, we apologize for you only being able to utilize half of your investment.

Which brings me back to my consistent stance - NVIDIA's SLI Technology would be better served as an openly available multi-GPU solution without the restrictions of licensing and software hacks.  Why?  The money that NVIDIA makes on the licensing is pretty minimal and the only goal is to uphold the "value" of the SLI brand.  Instead, everytime a hiccup like this occurs, more gamers decide that the benefits aren't worth the potential hassle owning multiple graphics cards may cause.  

CrossFireX doesn't have nearly the marketing push behind it that SLI does yet it continues to have legs without the rather outdated partner licensing restrictions.  Every multiple PCIe slot motherboard (essentially) will support CrossFireX - users that might want SLI configurations need to look for that damn logo on the box...

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A Temporary Card with a Permanent Place in Our Heart

Today NVIDIA and its partners are announcing availability of a new graphics card that bridges the gap between the $230 GTX 560 Ti and the $330 GTX 570 currently on the market.  The new card promises to offer performance right between those two units with a price to match but with a catch: it is a limited edition part with expected availability only through the next couple of months.

When we first heard rumors about this product back in October I posited that the company would be crazy to simply call this the GeForce GTX 560 Ti Special Edition.  Well...I guess this makes me the jackass.  This new ~$290 GPU will be officially called the "GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 Cores". 

Seriously.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Edition

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores is actually not a GTX 560 Ti at all and in fact is not even built on a GF114 GPU - instead we are looking at a GF110 GPU (the same used on the GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570 graphics cards) with another SM disabled.  

block_580.jpg

GeForce GTX 580 Diagram

The above diagram shows a full GF110 GPU sporting 512 CUDA cores and the full 16 SMs (simultaneous multiprocessors) along with all the bells and whistles that go along with that $450 card.  This includes a 384-bit memory bus and a 1.5 GB frame buffer that all adds up to still being the top performing single graphics card on the market today.  

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Graphics Card!!

Mid-range cards take on snow and fire in Skyrim

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2011 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: sky, elder scrolls V, gtx 460, hd6850, GTX 560, hd6870, GTX 560 Ti, hd6950

The Tech Report, who hasn't been having a problem with Skyrim on their i5-750 system, tried out six mid-range cards to determine the best settings to provide decent performance.  Following their new practice they do not measure frame rate but rather frame time, to find a level of performance where the frames are drawn in a consistent manner instead of varying from 100ms for one frame to 5ms for the next.  Take a look and see how well these mid-range cards can manage the latest Elder Scrolls game.

TR_cards.jpg

"We've followed up our look at Battlefield 3 performance with a similar comparison of mid-range graphics cards in The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim."

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