MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC SLI Review

We’ve got two MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC video cards today in an SLI configuration to go up against Radeon HD 6950 2GB CrossFireX and Radeon HD 6870 CrossFireX. We will see if these factory overclocked video cards have what it takes to compete. Also we add an GeForce GTX 580 comparison. What is best for the buck?

Introduction

On January 25th, 2011, NVIDIA launched the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU. This new GPU would power a new line of video cards aimed at the sweet spot of pricing for gamers. This sweet spot was previously owned by the GeForce GTX 460 1GB which NVIDIA hoped to replace and claim another victory in this price segment of $249-$279. We evaluated a factory overclocked model, the Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 Ti GC for our initial evaluation.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti uses the new and improved GPU found in the likes of the GeForce GTX 580 and GeForce GTX 570. This means it has core transistor level improvements compared to the previous generation that improves efficiency and allows higher clock speeds. The GeForce GTX 560 Ti is a 40nm GPU with 384 CUDA Cores, 64 Texture Units and 32 ROP units. The default core clock speed is 822MHz with the shaders running at 1.644GHz. The memory consists of 1GB of GDDR5 running at 4GHz on a 256-bit memory bus.

Our conclusion in our launch evaluation was rather surprising. We thought this video card might have what it takes to compete. However, recent price drops from AMD have changed the game and made comparing the GeForce GTX 560 Ti more challenging for this new GPU. With the price drops, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti is competing on a price level that is equivalent to the Radeon HD 6950 2GB video card. What’s more, some higher priced "overclocked" models were reaching into prices that were well, just not competitive. The problem with this comparison, as our evaluation revealed, is that the GTX 560 Ti is more in-line with Radeon HD 6870 performance than it is with Radeon HD 6950 performance.

The saving grace to the GeForce GTX 560 Ti was in its overclocking potential. And so, we took the Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 Ti GC and overclocked it as high as we could. We found positive results by doing this. With voltage tweaking and overclocking we were able to bring the GeForce GTX 560 Ti up to Radeon HD 6950 level of performance. Of course, it takes maxing the GTX 560 Ti in order to do this, and you still can’t make up for the RAM difference between the two video cards.

Since we know that the GeForce GTX 560 Ti only becomes competitive when you overclock it, we need to look at more overclocked video cards out-of-the-box to see how it compares. We have a couple of overclocked GTX 560 Ti’s in SLI to show you what the GTX 560 Ti can do in comparison to Radeon HD 6870 CrossFireX and Radeon HD 6950 2GB CrossFireX.


MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC

The MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC video card is brand new from MSI and represents one video card among a line of overclocked GTX 560 Ti’s. The core clock speed is set to 880MHz (vs. 822MHz stock.) The shader frequency is set to 1760MHz (vs. 1644MHz stock.) The memory is set to 4.2GHz (vs. 4GHz stock.) MSI also offers two other models, the SOC version and the Golden Edition version, both with different clock speeds as well. We look forward to hopefully getting our hands on these and see if there are any real-world differences.

The MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC uses MSI’s custom Twin Frozr thermal design. There are two 8cm fans and a superpipe technology using nickel-plated copper base for better dissipation. MSI claims 50% more airflow and 20c cooler temperatures than the reference design. Also supported is MSI Afterburner and over voltage technology with fan speed control also. MSI has is also using their Military Class II Components, meaning high-end components for added stability and a greater video card lifetime. There are SFCs in place for higher current for better overclocking ability, Hi-C CAP for more precise voltage and all solid CAPs for longer lifespan.

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MSI packages the MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC well, and on the front of the box you will find the 20c cooler aspect noted as well as OC Edition, however clock speeds are not listed. The flap opens up on the front to explain all the details about the high quality components used. There is also a window under the flap to let you see the video card before you purchase it. The Twin Frozr II cooling unit uses a large heatsink, heatpipes and large fan. This is not a shrouded system, and the airflow is not ducted toward the back.

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MSI includes two dual-link DVI ports and a mini-HDMI port. Included in the bundle is a mini-HDMI to regular sized HDMI adapter.

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The MSI N560GTX Ti OC requires two 6-pin power connectors. You will also notice the RAM chips are exposed and receive no added cooling. Included in the software bundle uniquely is a key to unlock 3DMark 11 Advanced Edition. You will also get two power adapters, a DVI to VGA adapter and the mini-HDMI to regular HDMI adapter. There is a CD with MSI Afterburner and an installation guide.

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We will be testing MSI N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr II OC SLI today.