A little more than a year ago NVIDIA introduced the GF110 GPU, the power-optimized version of their Fermi patriarch, GF100. The first product was their flagship GTX 580, followed by the eventual GTX 570. Traditionally NVIDIA would follow this up with a 3rd product. The GTX 200 series had 285/275/260, and the GTX 400 series had GTX 480/470/465. However in the past year we have never seen the 3rd tier GF110 card… until now.

Today NVIDIA will be launching the GeForce GTX 560 Ti With 448 Cores (and yes, that’s the complete name), a limited edition product that will serve as the 3rd tier product, at least for a time. And while NVIDIA won't win any fans with the name, the performance is another matter entirely. If you've ever wanted a GTX 570 but didn't want to pay the $300+ price tag, as we'll see NVIDIA has made a very convincing argument that this is the card for you.

  GTX 580 GTX 570 GTX 560 Ti w/448 Cores GTX 560 Ti
Stream Processors 512 480 448 384
Texture Address / Filtering 64/64 60/60 56/56 64/64
ROPs 48 40 40 32
Core Clock 772MHz 732MHz 732MHz 822MHz
Shader Clock 1544MHz 1464MHz 1464MHz 1644MHz
Memory Clock 1002MHz (4008MHz data rate) GDDR5 950MHz (3800MHz data rate) GDDR5 900Mhz (3600MHz data rate) GDDR5 1002Mhz (4008MHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 320-bit 320-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 1.5GB 1.25GB 1.25GB 1GB
FP64 1/8 FP32 1/8 FP32 1/8 FP32 1/12 FP32
Transistor Count 3B 3B 3B 1.95B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point $489 $329 $289 $229

The GTX 560 Ti With 448 Cores is based on the same GF110 GPU as the GTX 580 and GTX 570. Where GTX 580 is a fully enabled GF110 product and GTX 570 is a partially binned part, the GTX 560 Ti With 448 Cores – which we’ll refer to as the GTX 560-448 for simplicity’s sake – is a further binned GF110 intended to take the position of the traditional 3rd tier product, putting it below the GTX 570.

Looking at the organization of the GF110 being used in the GTX 560-448, the difference between the GTX 570 and GTX 560-448 is that NVIDIA has disabled a further SM unit, cutting the compute/shading, texturing, and geometry performance by 7%. ROP performance remains untouched, as does the number of memory controllers. The core clock is the same as the GTX 570 at 732MHz, while the memory clock has been reduced slightly from 950MHz (3800MHz data rate) to 900MHz (3600MHz). All together compared to the GTX 570, the GTX 560-448 has 93% of the compute/shader performance, 100% of the ROP performance, and 95% of the memory bandwidth. In practice this is closer to the performance of the GTX 570 than the larger product spacing we’re used to seeing.

Power and cooling are also very similar to the GTX 570. NVIDIA has put the TDP at 210W, versus 219W for the GTX 570. As always NVIDIA does not supply an idle TDP, but it should be practically identical to the GTX 570. The end result is that the GTX 560-448 should have slightly lower performance than the GTX 570 with similar power consumption.

Now if we’re making all of these comparisons to the GTX 570, why is the GTX 560-448 a GTX 560? That’s a good question, and not one that we’ll get a completely satisfactory answer to. NVIDIA is well aware of what they’ve done, and they’ve already prepared a response:

Question: Why is the “GTX 560 Ti” designation used for this product instead of “565” or “570 LE”
The designation is meant to reflect the fact that this is not an addition to our 500 series line-up, but rather a limited edition product.

This is a completely truthful answer – and we’ll get to the limited edition aspect in a moment – but it’s not a real answer to the question. Ultimately NVIDIA has to balance OEM, consumer, and regional concerns since not every market will be getting this product, but more practically the GTX 560 Ti is a well received and well selling card whose success NVIDIA wants to extend. The result is that NVIDIA can (and will) call it whatever they want, and this time they’re calling it a GTX 560 Ti. Thus, this is why we have a GF110 product launching as a GTX 560 Ti even though it has more in common with a GTX 470 than anything else. It’s that kind of a launch.

As far as being a limited edition product, that’s not particularly complex.  NVIDIA bins GF110 GPUs for a number of products, not just GeForce but for Tesla and Quadro too. The best chips go into the most expensive products, while chips with several bad SMs go into products like low-end Quadros and NVIDIA’s 4th tier OEM only card – which is also the GTX 560 Ti. In the past year of production NVIDIA has built up a supply of mid-tier chips: chips that aren’t good enough to be in a GTX 570, but better than what the lower end markets need. Rather than taking a revenue hit by shipping these chips in those lower end products, NVIDIA has decided to mint a new GeForce product instead, and that’s the GTX 560-448.

The reason the GTX 560-448 is a limited edition product is that NVIDIA is not accumulating suitably dysfunctional chips at a rapid pace as they do chips for their other product lines.  As a result they only have a small, largely fixed number of chips to produce GTX 560-448s with. With this limited supply NVIDIA will only be chasing particularly affluent markets with a limited number of cards: The US and Canada, the UK, France, Germany, the Nordic countries, and Russia. South America and the Asia Pacific region (APAC) are notably absent. Furthermore for those markets that will be getting the GTX 560-448, it’s essentially a seasonal product specifically for Christmas: NVIDIA only expects the supply of cards to last 1-2 months, after which NVIDIA’s product lineup reverts to the 580/570/560 stack we already are accustomed to. So while a limited edition product is nothing new, we haven’t seen a coordinated launch for an LE product quite like this in recent years.

Given the hardware similarities to the GTX 570, it should come as no surprise that NVIDIA is forgoing a reference design while their partners will be launching cards based on their existing GTX 570 designs. At this point all of them have custom GTX 570 designs, and as such the GTX 560-448 cards will be using those custom designs. The card we’ve been sampled with, Zotac’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Limited Edition, is one such card, based on their custom GTX 570 design. Furthermore as was the case with many proper GTX 560 Ti cards, the GTX 560-448 will be launching in overclocked designs, such as Zotac’s which ships at 765MHz instead of 732MHz. So the performance of individual GTX 560-448 products can vary by upwards of several percent.

The MSRP on the GTX 560-448 will be $289, however launch partners will be free to price it higher to match any factory overclocks they do. At $289 the GTX 560-448 is priced extremely close to the cheapest GTX 570s, and depending on clockspeeds and sales a GTX 570 could end up being the same price or cheaper, so it will be prudent to check prices. Meanwhile the GTX 560-448’s closest competition from AMD will be the Radeon HD 6950, which trends around $250 after rebate while the Radeon HD 6970 is still closer to $340. Overall NVIDIA’s pricing may be a bit high compared to their other products, but compared to AMD’s products it’s consistent with the performance.

Meet The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Limited Edition
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  • ericore - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    Its fine that they need to make money; but they insult my intellegence which is why I am putting them down.
    There is no justification for buying this reviewed card; any statement in contradiction to this is a folly.
    It is true that Nvidia has superior drivers, and superior professional support, and superior architecture for professionals.
    But most people fall out of this branch, and therefore AMD is the better contender for shear gaming performance and Eye Infinity far superior
    than what Nvidia offers. AMD's control panel, can use some work; you're right about that, the total garbage aspect reveals in fact that you are
    an Nvidia fanboy; you betrayed yourself. I don't care for the microstutter argument. As for the AMD has less features argument, it is absolute garbage; I gagged at your narrow-mindedness as you seem only able to present the professional perspective rather than being objective. AMD in fact, for consumers offers all relevant features that Nvidia offers plus more, minus 3D which is still irrelivant at this point; we (the ppl) don't have 3D TVs. Cuda is superior, but AMD can still rape ( you heard me right ) Nvidia in software like Elcomsoft Wireless Auditor, conversely ditto for Nvidia regarding video rendering. Ha you Nvidia fanboy, blessing and protecting each feature Nvidia has to offer; isn't that cute. Power users lol, let's get one thing straight power users does not mean Professional; only professional means that. Power Users just means users who can and do use wide variety of software, can extend beyond this software, and has knowledge of programming; check mark to all, I have. You naughty Nvidia fanboy.
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Monday, December 05, 2011 - link

    Its funny when people complain about AMD drivers when its obvious they have not used them, or are very new to them.

    CCC isnt " Ad ridden" The AMD home page can be completely disabled (unticked) to not show any web content. Only someone who is unfamiliar with AMD software would not know that.

    CCC has built in overclocking control and manual fan control and all the settings one would need. If you cant cope with them you can set CCC to Basic mode.

    The only people that complain about AMD drivers are 99% of the time first time users and have little to no experience with it.

    Crossfire/SLI is a different matter and both companies have issues. I've been recommending against a multi-gpu setup for years. If you choose a multi-gpu setup be prepared for driver issues, stuttering, waiting for profiles, and some games that will never have multi-gpu support.

    I've used both and never had driver issues with either, but I prefer AMD image quality to Nvidia. Thats the most important thing for me. I dont use anything that can make use of Cuda, and physx is mostly a marketing ploy.
    Reply
  • HStanford1 - Wednesday, December 07, 2011 - link

    I've got two 460's and never had to bother with botched drivers or microstuttering.
    Maybe I'm just lucky, but I dread the day it happens
    Reply
  • bill4 - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    There's a lot to like about your reviews, but why the same old dated games you've been benchmarking forever? Why no BF3, Crysis 2, Witcher 2, etc benchmarks? EG, the latest and greatest most demanding games? Heck you guys even still use Hawx, I have NO idea why that game has a sequel and is 500 years old! I dont care what these video cards do on old games where they get 140 FPS, which I see in so many reviews! I look at the results in the most demanding games.

    Well the reason you mentioned in one review for using Hawx is, "it's the only flight game with a built in benchmark" or something like that. As if you just want to press a "benchmark" button and not do any actual work. Seems lazy, just use fraps or something for a bench and update your games, please!
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    We update our benchmark suite every 6-12 months as necessary. As you've noted the current suite is rather long in the tooth and we'll be updating the benchmark suite next month (December) when we switch the testbed to SNB-E. In the meantime we're using the current suite to keep the tests consistent for this generation of cards. Reply
  • Alexo - Thursday, December 01, 2011 - link

    Switching to SNB-E will be a disservice to most of your readers (which don't use that platform) as it will give skewed results. Reply
  • carage - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know how this card handles HDMI Audio Bitstreaming?
    I assume it would inherit the same half-baked feature set as the old 570.
    So HTPC users should steer away unless proven otherwise.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    As HDMI audio bitstreaming is a function of the GPU (rather than drivers or otherwise), it will be the same as GTX 570/580. Reply
  • Per Hansson - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    carage: what's wrong with it on the 570 & 580? (I own neither) Reply
  • jweller - Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - link

    How is $280 considered "budget"? Reply

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