ZOTAC's strategy has been clear for quite a while now – get the reference graphics card out quickly, and then follow it up with a factory overclocked AMP Edition – and the GTX 560 Ti is no exception, especially with its great overclocking overhead. ZOTAC were kind enough to provide a piece for review, so let’s find out if the card is worth it.
This won’t be a full-fledged review though, because we’ve already reviewed the ZOTAC GTX 560 Ti and the ASUS GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP in a shootout a while ago. In case you missed it, you can check it out here.
Design and Packaging
The packaging for the Zotac GTX 560 Ti AMP Edition is nearly identical to its reference card, with the trademark black and orange making a return. The fact that it’s an overclocked SKU is not displayed prominently enough, which might make it difficult for some to quickly point it out. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is featured rather prominently on the cover, which lead to a friend of mine asking me if it was the card that was bundled with the game. It’s the other way around though, with a redeemable coupon inside. Bundled game aside, the GTX 560 Ti AMP Edition ships with the standard cables and accessories – Driver CD, Manual, 2x Molex to 6-pin PCI-E power converter, along with DVI-to-VGA and mini HDMI-to-HDMI adapters.
Nearly identical to the reference GTX 560 Ti
The card’s design is remarkably similar to the reference card too. Black and Orange colour scheme, meshed vents, GTX 460 cooler – the works. There are a couple of changes though – and both are for the worse. Firstly, the connectivity options have been reduced from 2xDVI, mini-HDMI and DisplayPort to just the 2xDVI and mini-HDMI ports. The other, more disturbing, change is that the power connectors have been placed at the side of the card – facing the drive bays. This just Switched me Off completely to be honest, mainly because it’s an absolutely unnecessary change that causes more grief than joy for the user.
The AMP! Edition’s specs are similar to the reference card too, surprise surprise. The factory overclock is an extremely good one though, topping off at 950MHz, which is nearly a 130MHz improvement over the reference card’s 823MHz. It’s also a full 50MHz over the ASUS GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP, and the trend continues with the shader and the memory clocks. Check out the specs and the GPU-Z screenie below.
The card performed as I expected it to, showing a decent improvement over the reference card and ASUS’ offering. What I did find strange though, was that the DirectCU II TOP beat out the AMP! Edition in the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark, and it did so repeatedly. All the other benchmarks ended up in favour of the ZOTAC AMP!, so I ran the test time and time again, but ended up with the same result. I’m not sure if it’s just an anamoly or the ominous foreshadowing for something sinister, but I guess we’ll find out about that eventually.
Anyway, thanks to the massive overclock, the AMP! Edition inches even closer to the GTX 570’s performance than the reference and ASUS cards.
Heat, Noise and Power Consumption
None of the GTX 560s have impressed me in these aspects, and the AMP! Edition is no different. Considering how high the overclock is, and the added fact that it’s still a single fan cooling solution, the temperature goes up quite a bit. It gets even hotter than the GTX570 did, which is a bit of a no-go when you compare the two cards’ performance.
Because of the amount of heat generated, the sole fan has to work its socks off to keep the card cool enough. It revved up to high speeds constantly during the benchmarks and was rather noisy. It wasn’t loud enough to drown out a ceiling fan at full speed, but it was still the loudest thing in the cabinet by a sizeable distance.
Power consumption wise, the AMP! Edition again draws in slightly more power than the GTX 570. There’s a reason for this, because ZOTAC have increased the core voltage on the card in order to facilitate the huge overclock. The reference card runs on a default voltage of 1.05V, but the AMP! Edition is on 1.17V. These chipsets follow NVIDIA’s recent trend of drawing less power when running cool and vice-versa, so the single-fan design really does end up increasing the card’s power consumption.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the GTX 560s are pretty good cards but just not as good as I expected them to be. The AMP! Edition goes the extra mile in the performance department, but loses out in terms of noise levels, heat and power hungriness. Would you do the same? I’m sure it’s a pretty hard question to answer.
Let me make it easier for you, though. The ZOTAC GTX 560 Ti AMP! Edition is priced at Rs. 17,500 (this is the MOP, by the way), which is in the AMD Radeon HD6950’s price bracket (HIS 6950s are available for Rs. 14,500 for 1GB and Rs. 16,200 for the 2GB), and very close to the GTX570s (the MSI GTX 570 is available for around Rs. 20,000).
Granted, the AMP! Edition takes the GTX 560 Ti even closer to the GTX 570’s level of performance, but it does it at a cost. The GTX 570 is more power and heat efficient, and runs extremely silent. If you have the money, there’s no reason to not get the 570 over an overclocked 560.
Over on the red side of things, I don’t know how AMD are planning on making a profit out of the 6950 with its great pricing - for us consumers that is, but they sure as hell are succeeding in providing a roadblock for the GTX 560 Ti. The reference cards are up against the 1GB 6950, and the overclocked versions go up against the 2GB counterpart. The 6950 beats out the 560 Ti on nearly all counts – performance, power efficiency and price – so NVIDIA will have to do something quickly, because the GTX 560 Ti is headed for doomsville and fast. It occupies a good spot in the NVIDIA ecosystem, but the GTX 560 Ti's defeat to the red camp is as comprehensive as the 570 and 580's victories were.
|Name||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti|
|Core Speed||950 MHz|
|CUDA cores / Stream processors||336|
|Fab Process||No Information|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||No Information|
Published Date: Mar 01, 2011 03:26 pm | Updated Date: Mar 01, 2011 03:26 pm