ECS GeForce GTX 560 Black Review

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The Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 has been around for a long time and you can find all sorts of variants on shelves by various manufacturers. You can buy one for anywhere between Rs.10,000 to Rs.13,000 and some of the differentiators are memory size (1GB and 2GB variants), video output, custom design and factory-overclocked GPU and memory.

Features
Although quite late, ECS has recently added a factory overclocked variant of the GTX 560 to their mid-range graphics card line up. Just like their premium motherboards and graphics cards, they call this model the ‘Black Edition’. Sounds good, but the card doesn’t come across as something that would make jaws drop. In fact, it doesn’t boast of any bells and whistles. We expected a mean-looking card with a black PCB and a great custom design. But on unpacking, we found that the GTX 560 Black uses Nvidia’s reference design for the PCB and the cooler. The packaging looks really nice, but those who like good aesthetics would be disappointed with the plain vanilla design of the card.

This card can easily fit into budget gaming PC cases

This card can easily fit into budget gaming PC cases

 

The GTX 560 Black is 9.5-inch in length and would fit snugly in a budget gaming case of mid-tower form factor. If at all there’s hindrance, it would only be the two 6-pin PCIe power connectors sticking out from the rear of the card. They can get quite close to the 3.5-inch hard drive case, if the case is less deep.

The stock cooler of the GTX 560 does its job well. It uses three copper heat pipes that carry the heat dissipated by the GPU to the aluminium fins arranged in a radial pattern. The enclosed plastic shroud helps channelize the air and also prevents dust from entering the cooler. Should the cooler require cleaning, you can lift open the shroud by unfastening the screws that hold it in place. Opening becomes easier with clamps, but that’s not a feature of the reference design.

The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors

The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors

 

The rear panel of the card features a pair of DVI ports and a mini HDMI port. You can use two of these simultaneously for a dual-monitor setup. ECS has included a mini HDMI-to HDMI adapter in the package, which makes it convenient to use a regular HDMI cable with monitors and LCD TVs. Also included are two adapters that convert a pair of 4-pin Molex power connectors to a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. You may need to use one, if your power supply has only one 6-pin PCIe power connector.

Performance
Our test rig comprises of Intel Core i7-3960X processor, Intel DX79SI motherboard, 8 GB G.Skill RipJaws X DDR3-2133 RAM and Plextor PX-256MS SSD. We used synthetic tests such as 3DMark 11 and Unigine Heaven and built-in benchmarks in games to assess the performance of the ECS GTX 560 Black.

The cooler features three copper heat pipes for efficient heat dissipation

The cooler features three copper heat pipes for efficient heat dissipation

 

The GTX 560 Black is a tad faster than cards running at stock speed – core and memory clocked at 810 MHz and 1001 MHz, respectively. This card runs the core and memory slightly faster at 870 MHz and 1025 MHz respectively. The overall performance was similar to the ZOTAC GTX 560 Amp!, which is even faster at a core speed of 950 MHz. This card scored 16934 points in 3DMark Vantage and 4326 points in 3DMark 11.

At 1920x1080 with Very High settings and antialiasing enabled, Crysis Warhead was smooth at 35 fps and Mafia II ran at 49 fps. With tessellation enabled, Unigine Heaven benchmark ran at 34 fps. The GTX 560 Ti which is a step above the GTX 560 performs marginally better. It logged a mere 3 to 5 fps higher than the GTX 560 in the real world tests. The Radeon HD 6870 packs similar kind of power as the GTX 560. However, it struggles when it comes to tessellation and PhysX.

DVI and mini HDMI outputs and SLI connector

DVI and mini HDMI outputs and SLI connector

 

Verdict
The price of the ECS GTX 560 Black is yet to be disclosed, but we expect it to be in the Rs.12,000 range. The Radeon HD 6870 also falls in the same price bracket. But going by the overall performance, the GTX 560 is certainly a better pick. Our favorite GTX 560 graphics card is the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Amp! It’s faster, and more importantly, ZOTAC offers a more robust warranty of 5 years (3 years extended).


Published Date: Feb 07, 2012 09:35 am | Updated Date: Feb 07, 2012 09:35 am