GeForce GTX 560 Review Roundup

Hardware, Reviews

May 17th, 2011

By Andrew Burnes

The GeForce GTX 560 hit the shops, providing prospective buyers with another excellent mid-range option for DirectX 11 gaming. Unlike most NVIDIA launches, the GTX 560 isn’t available to purchase with a stock design and layout, so every single card on sale is custom-designed and modified by our partners. The result is a wide variety of price points and specifications, so hopefully the following reviews will help act as a guideline when deciding how to balance cost against performance if you’re in the market for a brand new GPU.

Pure OC: "In terms of performance, we saw the MSI GTX 560 Twin Frozr II easily beat the Radeon 6870 in just about every facet. Perhaps more significant is the fact that it's only 6% behind the GTX 560 Ti on average, but costs almost 20% less. That is an outstanding value, as Nvidia is now providing what may be a better graphics card for the mid-range market and gamers on a more modest budget. The $200 market is the sweet spot for manufacturers, and the GTX 560 now owns it.

This MSI Frozr II card is only $10 more than Nvidia's reference MSRP, but you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. The cooler is thin and sleek, providing some good temperatures. The Military Class II components are a big improvement over the reference card, and the overvoltage capability is enticing to overclocking enthusiasts.

The Pure Point: The GTX 560 owns the $200 segment, and the MSI Twin Frozr II model is a great deal.”

Pure OC: "In terms of performance, we saw the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP easily beat the Radeon 6870 in just about every facet. Perhaps more significant is the fact that the factory overclock here essentially makes it perform the same as the GTX 560 Ti on average, while costing about $35 less. Further, the GTX 560 laid the smackdown on the Radeon competition. As for overclocking, the DirectCU II TOP really flies. That is an outstanding combination, as Nvidia is now offering what appears be a better graphics card for the mid-range market and gamers on a more modest budget.

This ASUS DirectCU II card is only $20 more than Nvidia's reference MSRP, but you get a whole lot of bang for your buck. The custom heatsink design is a distinct improvement over its predecessor in terms of aesthetics and functionality, lowering load temperatures considerably. The Super Alloy Power design is clearly a big bonus, and this card is built like a tank. And the Voltage Tweaking feature is a boon to overclocking enthusiasts. So, are there any downsides here? None that we can find.

We loved the GTX 560 Ti, and we love the new GTX 560 even more. With a strong factory overclock, this ASUS TOP version performs essentially the same as its sibling while costing considerably less. Toss in the beefy heatsink, lower temperatures, distinctive aesthetics, and great overclocking headroom, and this card simply owns the mid-range gaming card segment.”

The Pure Point: For gamers looking for fantastic value and horsepower, the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP is the new king of the mid-range market.”

Hardware Canucks: "NVIDIA seems to have hit all the high points by improving upon the GTX 460 in every way possible. Anyone doubting the GPU market’s price / performance ratio isn’t moving forward fast enough need not look any further than the GTX 560. In barely 10 months we have seen the GTX 460 1GB -which launched at $230- surpassed by the $199 GTX 560. The difference isn’t insignificant either; the new GF114-based card offers a nearly 20% improvement in framerates over the previous generation without a noticeable increase in power consumption.

The ASUS DirectCu II TOP meanwhile is the real king of the litter. At lower resolutions its performance can occasionally outstrip that of a GTX 560 Ti or even an HD 6950 1GB while featuring some headroom left for overclocking. These capabilities do come at a price though: 10% price premium over many other cards and a significant power consumption increase. Nonetheless, like its competitors the TOP is an impressive card for its price and there will surely be many like it from other board partners."

Hardware Heaven: "It would be fair to say that the GTX 560 isn't the most newsworthy product NVIDIA have ever released in terms of design; in fact it's not even their first product to use the GTX 560 title, or the GF114 core. That said, there is no doubting that the GTX 560 is a product which has its place in the market.”

Since the launch of the GTX 560 Ti and GTX 550 Ti there has been a gap in the 500 series in terms of pricing and this is the product that fills it and does so quite successfully thanks to NVIDIAs use of a cut down GF114 rather than an overclocked GF116.

The result, certainly in terms of our Palit Sonic Platinum edition, is a card which can play pretty much any recent game at 1920x1080 with maximum detail and all DirectX 11 features enabled. In most cases we can go a little further and add anti-aliasing to that too, for enhanced image quality.

The GTX 560 also offers some great features, just as the other cards in the GTX 500 range do, such as the ability to assist with CPU tasks (e.g. video encoding) and the option to use stereoscopic 3D for gaming and Blu-Ray 3D playback."

Hexus: "Buying advice is relatively straightforward for this card. Anyone with a year-old, mid-range GPU - GeForce GTX 460 1GB or Radeon HD 5850, for example - doesn't need to bother looking here; it's more of a sideways step than a genuine upgrade. However, readers eyeing up a new PC build or upgrading from a three-year-old setup should put it on their shortlist; it's a quality card that starts at £150: purchase it or a Radeon HD 6870 and you can't go too far wrong.”

But NVIDIA has given its partners license to construct retail cards with custom coolers and a range of frequencies. ASUS has grabbed this opportunity to slap the excellent DirectCu II heatsink on top of a GTX 560. This £175 card is clocked in at 925MHz core and 4,200MHz memory, meaning performance is very similar to stock GTX 560 Ti and Radeon HD 6950 2GB's.

All told, the GeForce GTX 560 is a sensible and much-needed introduction that solidifies NVIDIA's mid-range graphics-card stack. A fundamentally better card than the anaemic GTX 550 Ti, do consider it if gaming at 1080p with high-quality settings is your cup of tea - especially if you're partial to NVIDIA-only features such as PhysX, 3D Vision and SLI."

Hot Hardware: "The new GeForce GTX 560 performs right about where its model number suggests. The Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP and MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II performed a fair bit better than the GeForce GTX 460 1GB and just a step behind the more powerful GeForce GTX 560 Ti. In general, the Asus and MSI GeForce GTX 560 cards also performed better than their direct competition from Team AMD, the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870. There were a couple of instances where the 6870 came out on top (F1 2010, Metro 2033), but the GeForce came out ahead in the rest of our benchmarks.

As our benchmark results have shown, the GeForce GTX 560 cards we tested outpace both of those [AMD] cards overall, and they do so while remaining nice and quiet, and with very manageable power consumption. Seems like a solid offering from NVIDIA in this price range. Of course, there’s always more performance to be had with a relatively small additional investment, but if you’ve got about $210 to spend on a graphics card, the new GeForce GTX 560 is an attractive option."

Legit Reviews: "With an 850 Mhz core speed and 4104 Mhz memory clocks, the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 SC Video Card really seems to have made a name for itself in this review. Not only is it in the same price bracket as the AMD Radeon HD 6850 and Radeon HD 6870 that we compared it to, in most tests it achieved higher scores than the Radeon HD 6850 and came very close to the results of the Radeon HD 6870 which is no easy task. Even though it has put up the highest load temperature to date in the reviews I have personally done, it also got lowest idle temperature to date as well. Remember, this is on the reference design cooler and that many of the GeForce GTX 560 designs will feature custom designed coolers! .

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 is an evolutionary improvement of the GeForce GTX 460 with all the enhancements and power saving features found on other GeForce 500 series video cards. It's not one of the most significant video card launches that we have seen in recent months, but we expect this card to do well in the market due to the price point. Right now we think it's priced too close to the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, but in the weeks and months to come the price on the card should decrease or rebates will be offered. It makes the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 SC not only good for a killer gaming rig but also for a great media PC for your home or office."

Overclockers Club: "The Gigabyte GTX 560 OC provided a solid gaming experience while being affordable. The whole time it was in use, the card was quiet. The 100mm fans were inaudible compared to the case fans even when run at full speed of ~2000 RPM. Overclocking results weren't ground breaking but the card did do well. Core speed was already overclocked 20 MHz from factory to 830 MHz and it was able to operate stable at 910 MHz. The memory was able to overclock from 1002 MHz to 1125 MHz stable as well.

Temperatures were some of the best recorded with help from the WindForce heat sink! Power consumption numbers were some of the lowest out of the cards tested thanks to NVIDIA's design and Gigabyte's Ultra Durable VGA components. I couldn't discern any choke squeal so the Ultra Durable ferrite chokes definitely did their job well. With some voltage modification, this card should easily have a bit more headroom. The Gigabyte Easy Boost software is handy with overclocking and fan speed control and BIOS tools. Users can backup and flash their BIOS with the program with the push of a button!"

Performance was great and everything worked perfectly so if the price is right this card makes a great choice!"

TechPowerUp: "NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 560 non-Ti sets out to fill the void in NVIDIA's lineup at $200. While GTX 560 Ti performs great around $230, its price does turn away some potential customers who will find a good alternative with AMD's $200 HD 6870. NVIDIA's new card provides a good solution, yet can not shatter existing offers in this segment. It offers decent performance for up to, including, 1680x1050 gaming, comes with improved performance and overclocking potential when compared to GeForce GTX 460 and features improved performance per Watt.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 560 TOP Direct Cu II is pretty much the perfect implementation of a GTX 560. It comes with substantially increased clocks out of the box which catapults it right at GTX 560 Ti performance levels. Thanks to the Direct Cu II thermal solution the card is whisper quiet in both idle and load, yet keeps the card at comfortable 70°C heat levels when fully loaded. Additional overclocking is also possible, we could reach up 975 MHz on our sample which is a nice step up from the 950-960 MHz we saw on other GTX 560 cards tested today. Coming at $220 it is also priced reasonably, both considering raw performance and cooling power. However, the full GeForce GTX 560 Ti is only $10 more, which offers better performance when maximum overclocking is taken into account. Overall I'm really impressed with the GTX 560 TOP Direct Cu II."

Tweaktown: "The GTX 560 Sonic Platinum from Palit is a strong performing card; I would go as far as to say it performs better than I thought it would. Of course, I knew the card would indeed sit between the GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 Ti, but I didn't think the model would lean so close to the GTX 560 Ti.

Compared to the HD 6870 the model also continues to pull out the win. Sure, the Palit GTX 560 comes with a strong overclock versus the HD 6870, but it's important to know that NVIDIA partners seem to have a lot more freedom when it comes to launching new mid-range models.

When it comes to price, the GTX 560 will come in at $199 US. Of course, these overclocked ones will come in slightly higher, but even at $209 to $219 US the price to performance ratio is extremely strong on the card. Considering the HD 6870 is around the $199 US mark, the GTX 560 is a very strong performing alternative. The large appeal to the GTX 560, though, is the range of coolers and overclocks you're going to get today which is going to help the model stand out against the competition.

Priced at $30 - $50 cheaper than the GTX 560 Ti with only slightly less performance, this is a really attractive option for people who want to spend around the $200 mark. Not only by going from a 9800 GT to the GTX 560 will you get some really nice extra performance, but you're going to get all those yummy features that have been introduced over the last few generations too."

Guru Of 3D: "A thumbs up from us to Palit, it is a nice, fast and silent product worthy of a recommendation from, you surely can play any game to date very nicely at a very reasonable price.

Overall we feel that this regular GeForce GTX 560 series is a decent product that can be welcomed in the mid-range graphics card market. These products however remain more of the same gear we've been seeing for a long time now. But when you focus at performance versus money, yeah sure then the Palit GTX560 Sonic Platinum will be a good deal with excellent tweaking possibilities. It will offer you a lot of gaming pleasure."

Guru Of 3D also examined the GTX 560 in SLI: "Yeah it is no surprise to see the GeForce GTX 560 perform the way it does. Ever since the release of the 400/500 series SLI performance with two cards has been great. Where you'll quickly run into some CPU limitations on cards like the GeForce GTX 580 and 590, this 560 Ti seems makes a lot of sense combined with a decent modern processor.

Performance wise, little negative can be said about the GeForce GTX 560 setup in SLI. Heat and noise will hardly go up depending on your configuration and remain very acceptable. If you can, please place the cards as far away from each other as possible, a special flexible SLI bridge is required for that though, like the one shown on in this article.

Two GTX 560 cards setup in SLI will still cost you say 350 EUR and when prices settle maybe 300 EUR, for that money you'll gain a truckload of performance kicking your configuration into the highest gear performance wise while spending less money compared to say a GeForce GTX 580. With SLI you might run into some sort of small driver issue at one point in time, also compared to the GTX 580 you will consume a bit more power. The flipside of the coin however is that the performance beats even the fastest single GPU based graphics card tested to date.

Whatever you preference might be, either way we doubt you'll regret the choice you will make as this certainly has been a satisfying experience from A to Z. SLI with the GeForce GTX 560? Sure, definitely recommended."

Maximum PC: "The Palit GTX 560 card is a clear improvement over the 1GB GTX 460. It’s likely the 2GB frame buffer only had a minor impact; most of the improvements are due to the GTX 560’s higher clock speeds and streamlining of the internal circuitry since the FTX 460. Palit’s suggesting a $199 retail price for the card. Most GTX 560 cards will likely ship with 1GB of GDDR5, but will be factory overclocked. With the Palit 2GB card, you’re trading off core clock speeds for additional frame buffer. Even without overclocking, though, Palit’s GTX 560 2GB card acquits itself quite well indeed."

Hi Tech Legion: "Overall however, the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP video is a solid piece of hardware, not just because of the metal shroud but also figuratively speaking as it stands tall even and can go toe-to-toe with the more expensive GTX560 Ti and HD6870. In terms of value, the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP video card carries a $20 premium over the reference GTX 560 although considering you are getting the performance equivalent of a GTX 560 Ti which currently costs $240 while also getting a better and quieter cooling solution, you can look at it as $20 saved."

Neoseeker: "When Nvidia launched the GTX 560 Ti it was evident that they would eventually release a non-Ti version based on the same GF-114 GPU, which itself was an improved version of the GF-104. This gives Nvidia a few graphics cards on the market that have similar specifications, as both the GTX 460 and GTX 560 have 336 enabled CUDA cores, 56 TMUs and run on a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface. The difference, however, is that the GF-114 GPU has been improved down to the transistor level to increase the overall efficiency and facilitate higher overclocking. This allowed Nvidia to increase the reference clocks on the GTX 560 to 810MHz, which will give this card a decent performance boost in comparison to the GTX 460.

With an MSRP of $200, the GTX 560 is positioned directly between the GTX 460 and GTX 560 Ti, which also sets it up to compete against the AMD HD 6870. For this price range the GTX 560 actually does quite well, as it was able to stay within a frame or two of the HD 6870 in most of our tested games. Since the GTX 560 has considerable overclocking headroom, it was also able to beat the HD 6870 outright once we increased the clock speeds to their maximum threshed. This helps to increase the overall value of the graphics card, and allows it to nearly rival the GTX 560 Ti's performance once overclocked despite the GTX 560 being $50 cheaper.

Overall the GTX 560 is a good graphics card that fills in the gaps for Nvidia, and performs right where it should considering its $200 MSRP. Additionally, this card offers all the latest high-end feature available to the Fermi architecture such as 3D Vision support, CUDA processing and PhysX."

ProClockers: "After reading these pages on the Gigabyte GTX 560. some AMD fanboys may have a change in thought. The Gigabyte GTX 560 is one if not the best performing video card in the $175-$200 price range. Easy outperforming the likes of the Radeon HD 6850 or other offerings the GTX 560 can not be denied its place in the rankings."

As you can see, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 is an excellent mid-range GPU, perfectly capable of playing your favourite games at 1920x1080p with PhysX, 3D Vision and DirectX 11 goodies enabled. For some hard proof, check out our article benchmarking Duke Nukem Forever in 3D Vision, Alice: Madness Returns with PhysX enabled, and Dungeon Siege III in triple-screen, super-wide Surround. And to further help you with your purchasing decision, here are the clock and memory speeds of all known GeForce GTX 560 graphics cards.