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Report: GeForce GTX 560 Ti vs Radeon HD 6950 1 GB
by Damien Triolet
Published on March 23, 2011

At the beginning of the year, NVIDIA decided to take on the €200/250 segment once again with a development of the GeForce GTX 460. With a full spec GPU, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti gives 40% more processing power. What does this translate to in terms of practical performance? AMD has responded with a cut-price Radeon HD 6950 1 GB. A tough fight is in prospect!

Is the GF114 a new GPU ?
In the same way as NVIDIA’s GF100 became the GF110 following a new revision, the GF104 used in the GeForce GTX 460 has become the GF114 for the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. The idea behind renaming that GPU was to push an impression of innovation and mark the break with the GF100, which had a doubtful reputation.

Does this second renaming truly represent a new revision or is it simply designed to confuse us? It’s hard to say. NVIDIA rather vaguely says that it has slightly reworked the chip to facilitate the increased clock and reduce energy consumption, but the name change stops us from knowing if the GF114 A1 really corresponds to a GF104 A2 or if it’s simply a renaming of the GF104 with a different chip selection. The architecture is in any case identical for these GPUs, which have 1.95 billion transistors. You can study our analysis here.

With the GeForce GTX 460s, NVIDIA chose to remain fairly conservative on clocks and also disabled 1 of the 8 blocks of processing units on all the GF104s, which is unusual. This might be because of manufacturing issues but also due to the fact that NVIDIA probably wanted to avoid competing with the GeForce GTX 480 and 470, large stocks of which still remained to be sold.

This time, whether because of different strategic choices or a new revision, NVIDIA has let its GPU off the leash: all the units are active and the GPU clock is much higher, which has increased processing power by 40%! This is enough to move it up into the next segment and match up to the Radeon HD 6870 and even the 6950.

Note however that at some point there will be several versions of the GeForce GTX 560, something confirmed by NVIDIA though without giving any details. This launch focusses on the GTX 560 Ti, a suffix already used by NVIDIA at the time of the GeForce 3/4s and which represents what should be the most powerful of the GeForce GTX 560s. NVIDIA has specified that this suffix should be printed in smaller lettering than the rest of the name, a strategy for extending the positive aura expected for this GeForce GTX 560 Ti across small models down the line. Should we expect a renamed GeForce GTX 460? Is the spec different? In any case, we hope not to find too significant a gap in terms of performance.

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