Gigabyte 560TI – 20/10/12
The 560TI is based on the FERMI GPU architecture, the next generation after the 400 series. In July (time of build), the FERMI line up of GPU chips were still mid level; KEPLAR architectures have been released but have been over the budgets of many. The 690, 680 and 670 were released and are all over 300 dollars. That’s why I opted for the 560TI – the best cost to performance ratio based GPU. Up to 2.5 times more powerful than its predecessor the 460.
I chose the 560TI, and not the 560 non TI because of its extra boost in performance. Sure the 560 was great, but I thought it’s worth the money to future proof and up it to a TI version. For $250, I was able to play Battlefield 3 on max settings with 1440×900 resolution (this was before I got the dell ultrathin monitor). Playing with max settings at that resolution rendered 60 FPS with V-SYNC ON. When I got the 1080p monitor, FPS dipped by just a bit (40-50 FPS).
In terms of overclockability, the Gigabyte version seems to have been overclocked to the max. When attempting to reach max clocks, the core could only be increased 20 MHz, whereas the memory couldn’t be overclocked any further; it would cause the driver kernel to crash and mess up windows experience index scoring (7.9 to 6.0)
For some reason, WEI scores have defaulted to 7.8 and not 7.9… System instability is starting to be an issue after overclocking.
The general construction of the card is superb. Windforce fans are amazing, you can barely hear them compared to an old 8800 which blasts at 100% when the computer turns on and before the BIOS kicks in. Having that old machine, BIOS kick times are almost 8 seconds, which causes the 8800 to sound like an airplane for a long time. The power connector on the 560 ti is on the rear of the card,; not the side. Some cards have PCIe power on the side which I think is stupid since cable management is important. Koodos to Gigabyte for the amazing aftermarket heatsink fan.
Performance wise, the card is great for mid level gaming (as I have said many times before). Battlefield is a lot more demanding and even on the 680, it struggles to get 100+ FPS (considering its new architecture and amount of CUDA cores). The price of this card became reduced after a month. The 570 and 560 TI 448 became 200 dollars, which is 25 dollars less than what I paid for the 560TI.
I’m glad I didn’t purchase the 550ti as it is has a smaller bit count and slower performance. Many reviewers claim that the price of the 550TI is not worth it: for 20-30 dollars more could get you a 560 equivalent card from AMD – The Radeon 6850.
After the experience I had with AMD, there is no way I will ever buy an AMD based GPU. The reasons being a buggy CROSSFIREx, compared to NVIDIA’s SLI multi GPU solution. The AMD’s drivers also just suck. They are always not mature at the time of release and basically demolishes its performance.
Anyways, the 560TI is one awesome card. Although I would recommend this card, it would’ve been 2 months ago. Now I personally would get the 660 – NON ti. The difference between architectural change is intense.