This morning the video card market got a little more crowded as NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and AMD released a variant of the Radeon HD 6950 with 1GB of memory on it. Over the past week we’ve had a chance to test both of these cards that are aimed at the gamer that has around $250 to spend.
If you have been a gamer for many years you might remember the GeForce 4 Ti video card series from yesteryear and it looks like NVIDIA has gone ahead and resurrected the Ti moniker for the GeForce GTX 560 series. Ti stands for Titanium and it better mean that the GeForce GTX 560 Ti is going to destroy AMD’s offerings as the Ti was last used when NVIDIA dominated AMD’s lineup.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 uses the GF104 core and NVIDIA took that core back to the drawing board and improved it the best they could. They were able to unlock all the cores on the chip now that they tweaked it, so the CUDA cores went up from 336 on the GTX 460 to 384 on the GTX 580. NVIDIA was also able to increase the clock speeds used on the GeForce GTX 560 Ti since the core was better designed. The graphics clock has gone from 675MHz up to 882MHz! The CUDA cores that used to run at 1350MHz now are greater in number and running at 1645MHz. Even the 1GB GDDR5 memory got bumped up to 1002MHz from 900MHz! All these extra CUDA cores and higher clock speeds did increase the board’s maximum power draw to 170W, but that is just 10W higher than the GTX 460.
NVIDIA claims that the GeForce GTX 560 Ti reference board design has essentially been overbuilt. Compared to the original GTX 460 board, they’ve added more robust 4-phase power circuitry, faster 5Gbps memory modules, and improved cooling. The new cooler features one additional copper heatpipe and a larger heatsink and cooling fan. Finally, a baseplate was added to cool the graphics memory and the GPU’s power circuitry.
To protect the graphics card and system from issues caused by excessive power draw, the GTX 560 Ti reference board features the same power monitoring hardware first introduced last year with the GeForce GTX 580.
NVIDIA says that the GTX 560 Ti should be 33% faster than the GTX 460 1GB and if that is the case we won’t be upset with the 10 Watt power draw increase!
NVIDIA is hoping that the GeForce GTX 560 Ti will help get gamers to update their systems if they haven’t done so in a number of years. The GeForce 8800 GT was a very popular card back in 2007 and NVIDIA thinks that these customers are the ones that should update their systems to this new card. They are claiming that you’ll see about a 3x performance upgrade by doing so and that both cards cost roughly $250 when launched.
AMD countered this product launch this morning by releasing a Radeon HD 6950 1GB video card at $259.99. This card is nothing more than a Radeon HD 6950 2GB that has had its memory reduced by half.
Let’s move on to taking a look at these cards and then looking at the performance!