Rise Of The Superclocked GTX 560 Ti Graphics Cards

February 7, 2011

By Andrew Burnes

As you may already be aware, NVIDIA’s newly-launched GTX 560 Ti graphics card is rather powerful, and more importantly, affordable. With such excellent performance you might expect the bolted-on fan to sound like a jet engine, but no, the GTX 560 is quieter than our last-generation GPUs and also emits less heat. Because of this, the GTX 560 is an excellent candidate for overclocking.

Once upon a time overclocking was an arcane art that only the brave and the bold dared to attempt, but now it’s an expected feature and all graphics cards ship with software that allows users to push the performance of their purchases. There’s a limit as to how far a graphics card can be overclocked, primarily determined by its components, but also by the design of its cooling fan and heatsink. Knowing this, and understanding that some users are apprehensive about breaking their kit, thereby invalidating the warranty, several manufacturers offer pre-overclocked cards tested extensively at their newly-enhanced speed, which are also supplied with guarantees that allow the free exchange of hardware should something go pop.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti was designed with overclocking in mind and the OC versions coming from our AIC partners are quite impressive indeed. Retooled from the ground up, these special cards feature GPU speeds up to 1000MHz, and memory speeds up to 1145MHz, representing overclocks of up to 178MHz on the GPU core, and 572MHz on the GDDR5 memory, allowing them to go toe-to-toe with the GTX 570.

Proclaimed by Gigabyte to be “the world’s fastest GeForce GTX 560 Ti,” their Super OverClock GPU, with its blistering 1000MHz GPU Clock speed, achieves its outstanding benchmark results by replacing NVIDIA’s standard components with deluxe substitutes hand-picked from around the world. From the bottom up, there’s a printed circuit board containing two ounces of heat and Current-efficient copper; 1GB of super high performance GDDR5 memory from Samsung, running at an incredible 1145MHz; Japanese-made, all-solid NEC Proadlizer capacitors with low Equivalent Series Resistance and Equivalent Series Inductance to increase stability and hardware lifespan when overclocked, to reduce electronic buzzing, and to increase power efficiency; super ferrite chokes to further increase power efficiency and to increase maximum Current output; a seven-phase Pulse Width Modulation device for increased stability and better overclocking; and a card-enveloping pure-copper heatsink with four heatpipes and anti-turbulence inclined fins, resting on a lapped copper base. Topping the card off are two custom-designed, dual 90mm fans utilising Gigabytes’ Windforce technology that results in temperatures 16% cooler than the stock heatsink and fan.

The result of all that tech geekery is a 21% boost in raw gaming performance compared to the standard $250 GTX 560 Ti, for $25 more. The GTX 570, which currently sells for $350, is only a few frames per second behind Gigabytes’ GTX 560 Ti SOC powerhouse in most benchmarks, but the 570 does handle high levels of Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering better at resolutions above 1900x1200 thanks to its extra memory, Stream Processors and ROPs.

Of course, the Gigabyte card isn’t the only custom-modified GTX 560 Ti GPU on the marketplace, so here’s a comprehensive look at the contenders, along with their vital statistics:

ASUS ENGTX 560 Ti Direct CU II TOP

GPU Clock Speed: 900MHz
Memory Speed: 1050MHz
List Price: $269.99
Reviewed By: Bjorn 3D

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Superclocked

GPU Clock Speed: 900MHz
Memory Speed: 1053MHz
Best Price: $269.99


Reviewed By: NinjaLane

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 560 Ti SOC

GPU Clock Speed: 1000MHz
Memory Speed: 1145MHz
Best Price: $274.99
Reviewed By: Guru Of 3D, Hexus, Legion Hardware, and Tweaktown

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/SOC

GPU Clock Speed: 950MHz
Memory Speed: 1050MHz
List Price: $274.99

Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 White Edition (Known In Europe As KFA2 GeForce GTX 560 LTD OC White Edition)

GPU Clock Speed: 950MHz
Memory Speed: 1100MHz
List Price: $284.99
Reviewed By: Guru Of 3D and Hexus
Special Note: The Galaxy utilises a white circuit board, something you rarely see due to the expense of creating white PCBs, and as such the card carries a price premium and will likely be made in limited numbers.

With varying levels of speed, radically different designs, and special cooling solutions, the choice of ‘best’ superclocked graphics card is subjective. Some may prefer the funky white PCB of the Galaxy, or may take comfort in ASUS’ double-fuse technology to prevent blowouts, while others may just want the raw performance of Gigabyte’s high-tech multicultural monster. Regardless of which card is chosen, each of the above will happily run the latest games at high resolutions, with the most expensive only costing $35 more than the stock GTX 560 Ti, making enhanced superclocked GPUs excellent value for money, especially as they rival the $350 GTX 570 in benchmarks.

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