GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti OC Video Card Review

GIGABYTE offers a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti based video card. The Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC series will be competing with a Radeon HD 6950 and an XFX Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition. Will the price premium of GIGABYTE's custom hardware be able to deliver the extra performance needed to compete?

Introduction

GIGABYTE is a hardware manufacturer, and one of the most respected in the business today. The company was established in 1986, in Taipei, Taiwan, and is best known for their motherboards. Gigabyte has a vast product line, including motherboards, graphics cards, notebooks, LCDs, mobile devices, tablet computers, computer cases, and many other PC peripherals.

Today, we are going to be looking at one of GIGABYTE's GTX 560 Ti series cards, the Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti

On January 25th, 2011, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card. The "Ti" stands for "titanium," a strong and light metal often used in the aerospace industry. The GTX 560 Ti lands in NVIDIA's "sweet spot," which it say is the ~$250 USD video card market. The GPU features 384 CUDA cores clocked at 1644MHz divided into eight streaming multiprocessors, 64 texture units and 32 ROPs clocked at 822MHz configured as two graphics processing clusters. It has a 256-bit memory bus and comes equipped with 1024MB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 4008MHz. It boasts a maximum theoretical memory bandwidth of 128.3GB per second and a bilinear texture filter rate of 52.6 billion texels per second.

This dual-slot video card requires the use of two 6-pin power connectors. It is designed to pull a maximum of 170 Watts of power for a thermal threshold of 100 degrees Celsius. It has two dual-link DVI-I connectors and one Mini-HDMI port standard.


GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti OC

The GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti OC consists of a factory overclocked NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti GPU. It has 1GB of GDDR5 memory. The GPU’s graphics core comes clocked at 900MHz, a 78MHz increase compared to the stock NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti’s speed of 822MHz. The memory clock remains the same as NVIDIA’s reference specification, at 1002MHz (or 4.0GHz DDR). The GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti OC will run buyers $244.99 USD. You can read more about the GTX 560 Ti’s specifications here.

Gigabyte took a step farther than most of its competition, with the addition of their unique Ultra Durable VGA+ components. This includes 2oz of copper over the traditional 1oz running through the inner layer of the PCB board.

The other significant feature that sets this card apart from its competition is GIGABYTE's Windforce cooling technology. The Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC’s Windforce 2x comes with two Ultra quiet PWM fans and four pure copper heat pipes. When combined with the heat sink that effectively covers most of the card, we hope to see some impressive temperatures.

GIGABYTE also reimburses its GTX 560 Ti with a three-year parts and labor warranty.

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The front of the box has some nice art, and points out the cards best features. This includes the 3 year warranty, the 78MHz overclock from the stock GPU, the Windforce 2x cooling technology, and GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable VGA+ parts. The back of the box goes on to tell us that it supports PCI-E 2.0, DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, Open GL 4.1, and supports HDCP function. The card also requires at least a 500W power supply, and two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors.

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The card came well packaged and secure. The thicker cardboard box inside the "art" box contained foam padding that was very snug. The software bundle with this video card includes an installation guide, and a driver CD-ROM. The accessory bundle includes a DVI to VGA adapter, two 6-pin auxiliary to dual-Molex power adapters, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI gold plated adapter.

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The Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC sports GIGABYTE's blue PCB board. The cooling device on the front of the card has a sleek, polished looking, black plastic cover, with the Windforce logo on it. Though the material is very light, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break when applying some pressure. The two fans are fairly transparent, and each have a shiny GIGABYTE sticker in the middle.

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The Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC has two 6 pin PCI-E power connectors. The card also has two DVI-I ports, and a mini-HDMI port. There are four pure copper heat pipes that start at the GPU, spread evenly across the aluminum heat sink that effectively covers most of the card. The heat sink has a small incline that the fans share, to help reduce turbulence and increase airflow. The card is rather short, measuring 9 inches in length, 4.25 inches in height, and 1.38 inches wide.


The Competition

Newegg has the GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti OC for $244.99 USD plus shipping. Its primary competition near that price are other NVIDIA GeForce 560 Ti products, and AMD's Radeon HD 6950 series cards. A good GeForce GTX 560 Ti can be found for as low as $224.99 USD after mail in rebate, and a good Radeon HD 6950 goes for $214.99 USD after mail in rebate.

Another option, which we are going to explore here is that a high-end Radeon HD 6870 overclocked video card will also compete in this price range, and is not something we've completely explored before. An XFX Radeon HD 6870 Black Edition video card, which is highly overclocked out of the box, will now cost you $219.99 before rebate, and only $200 after rebate. This price is only $15 cheaper than the Radeon HD 6950 in fact. With prices this close in range between all three of these video cards, we have to compare them and see which one really provides the best value in this price range.