NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Limited Edition Graphics Card Review
Overclocking, Conclusions and Final Thoughts
I didn't have as much time as I would have liked with these cards to really put the overclocking portion of my review to the screws (we got the cards on Friday over a holiday weekend with an early Tuesday morning launch) but what I was able to do with about 30 minutes of time and the MSI Afterburner software was pretty impressive.
Both cards easily hit the 875 MHz core clock speed and would complete several runs of 3DMark11 and that was without any kind of voltage adjustments at all! The Graphics Score above is actually 23% higher than the stock GTX 570, 44% higher than the GTX 560 Ti 1GB card and 15% higher than our 750 MHz clocked GTX 560 Ti 448 core card we showed you throughout our previous tests.
In my testing, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti with 448 cores is about as close as you can get to being as fast as the GTX 570 without embarrassing it. In a couple of our lower resolution tests, the new card was in fact just barely faster, but usually within a margin of error we were comfortable with. Most of the time, especially in games that we know are super GPU dependent like Battlefield 3, the 448-core variant was reliably about 3-5% slower than the 480-core part.
Pitting this new entry into the market against the currently existing 384-core version of the GTX 560 Ti that only has 1GB of frame buffer on a 256-bit memory bus, the new guy wins out handily most of the time, averaging about 15-18% boosts in our testing. In a few select cases, the performance advantages are over 20% but the key is that the 15% gains are most often seen even at the 1920x1200 / 1920x1080 resolutions that most gamers are playing at. Obviously, based on the game comparisons, the GTX 560 Ti 448 is a much faster card than the GTX 560 Ti.
Maybe not surprisingly though, AMD's Radeon HD 6950 2GB card is still sticking its head in here and messing up NVIDIA's well thought out plans. The Cayman-based GPU is able to keep up with both the GTX 570 and the GTX 560 Ti 448 in a couple of cases but more often than not actually performs just between the GTX 560 Ti original and 448-core model. Considering that AMD still has the advantage of three simultaneous display outputs the Radeon HD 6950 can still be strongly argued for based on the value proposition at $20-30 less than the new GTX 560 Ti 448c.
Pricing and Availability
Usually we can just gloss over this whole availability thing - other than the GTX 590 and Radeon HD 6990, we haven't had a major GPU shortage issue in quite some time. With this review though, it needs to be considered more heavily. With my previous guess of 10,000 units across North America and Europe, and the 6-8 week availability span, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, make sure you check prices at several locations before buying. While you might see the 448-core variant somewhere for sale and want to immediately jump on it for its "limited edition" status, shortages (even ones planned for) can cause price jacking at retailers. Don't get screwed!
Secondly, if you want to run these in SLI of any form, buy two or three of them NOW - you won't be able to find them for very long and you will not be able to pair them with currently available GTX 560 Ti cards. You MIGHT be able to team them with the GTX 570, but even wasting those 32 CUDA cores seems like an awful use of money to me.
Let's look at that pricing scheme again:
- GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB - $339
- GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448c 1.25GB - $289
- Radeon HD 6950 2GB - $269
- GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB - $239
UPDATE: These are now showing up online at Newegg though currently only the EVGA models are being sold at the MSRP prices!
At a $50 premium, the GTX 570 doesn't make a whole lot of sense as you get very minimal performance gains and there isn't a larger frame buffer to help out with higher resolutions or textures compared to the GTX 560 Ti 448c. At a $50 premium over the GTX 560 Ti 384-core card with 1GB of frame buffer, that same GTX 560 Ti 448-core makes a compelling case for itself with average performance advantages around 15% while offering more memory to boot.
While they last, the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 core graphics cards could be the hottest sell on the market offering up a new data point in the performance graphics field. While some gamers might have looked at the GTX 570 as being "close to $350" and out of their range, I think more will now see the GTX 560 Ti 448c as "close to $250" and be willing to make that jump up from the GTX 560 Ti or Radeon HD 6950 1GB options. NVIDIA and AMD both are always trying to get gamers to move up to that next rung on the product ladder and NVIDIA's timing, positioning and pricing on the new GTX 560 Ti 448c could be a perfect storm.
NVIDIA is obviously hoping that once these sell out, the halo-effect will touch the GTX 570 and those will sell more than they have in recent months because the popularity of the 384-core GTX 560 Ti.
We still have a little bit of lingering doubt about the reasons for this "limited edition" run of cards but even if you think NVIDIA might be twisting some numbers here, the results are easy to see from our testing and pricing comparison. The new card simply makes a lot of sense when compared to the GTX 560 Ti based on the GF114 chip and certainly is a better performance per dollar value than the GTX 570 as things stand now. AMD has been enjoying sole possession of that price point for quite some time but NVIDIA has burst its bubble for sure here. Does AMD need to lower the prices to make the Radeon HD 6950 or HD 6970 more compelling? I don't necessarily think so as both cards' performance is still relevant and they offer features NVIDIA still does not.
Politics, positioning and personal preferences aside, if I were building a new gaming computer today, a GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 core graphics card from MSI or EVGA would be on the top of my list for sure.
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Power Edition - Cooling and Software
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified - Overclocked Speeds