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Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 & Asus DirectCU II TOP
by Damien Triolet
Published on July 22, 2011

As we thought might be the case with the arrival of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti in January, a model without this suffix was also being prepared by NVIDIA, who nevertheless waited almost four months before ushering it in. This equivalent of an overclocked GeForce GTX 460 will have plenty of competition with numerous attractive models already available in the €150 to €220 range. To observe how it does we looked at one of the highest performance GeForce GTX 560s of the launch: the Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP.

Reference card: deliberately low profile
Some of the execs at NVIDIA have a very strange view of the technical press, to whom they seem think they can spin any yarn they wish, without any comeback. At the presentation of its GeForce GTX 560, NVIDIA refused to reveal the reference card specs, making out they didn’t understand what questions were being put to them and instead giving the clocks of a few of the overclocked cards planned by various partners.

It seems as if NVIDIA thinks that a brass neck and thick skin will be enough to get the technical press to ignore the specs of reference cards, “which won’t be widely available", by putting the accent on overclocked cards “which are likely to make up the majority of sales”. NVIDIA’s partners have a different vision of course and had no qualms about releasing the reference clocks to us as these models do make up the biggest proportion of sales after all, just as they do for any other model. As NVIDIA consequently met with a good deal of discontent, they ended up officially announcing the reference card specs…

The GF114 GPU used on the GeForce GTX 560, identical to the GF104 used on the GTX 460.

Behind all these goings on is the fact that the GeForce GTX 560 is none other than a GeForce GTX 460 based on a new minor revision of its GF104 GPU that has opportunistically been called the GF114. The reference clocks of 810 MHz for the GPU and 1002 MHz for the memory are similar to those of a highly overclocked GeForce GTX 460, which NVIDIA is trying to differentiate the new card from. What’s more, we have found that this card gives a very similar level of performance to the Radeon HD 6870. Is this a face-off NVIDIA is trying to avoid?

In comparison to the overclocked GeForce GTX 460s, the GeForce GTX 560s will of course introduce new room for overclocking: though NVIDIA has refused to provide any sort of photo of the reference card to back itself up, they have said that the power stage has been increased in size to handle the higher clocks, which should provide a solution for the overheating problem that we noticed in our tests of the GTX 460.

Note that there has also been unofficial talk of a GeForce GTX 560 OEM, the clocks on which are said to be lower or even identical to those for the GeForce GTX 460…

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