Final Thoughts

If you’ve read our GPU reviews for any length of time then you’re probably familiar with our editorial stance on multi-GPU configurations: multi-GPU is nice to have, but only after you’ve exhausted single-GPU performance. Normally this is an easily defensible position, as dual-GPU cards are priced well above single-GPU cards and multi-GPU otherwise involves the hassle of dealing with multiple video cards.

EVGA’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win makes that a much harder position to defend. Technically speaking it’s pricier than a GTX 580, but not significantly so; it’s a GTX 580 competitor instead of something that comes after the GTX 580. Furthermore as we already know from the regular GTX 560 Ti SLI, a pair of GTX 560 Tis can beat a single GTX 580 by 30% if not more under the right circumstances. On a pure performance per dollar basis the 2Win is considerably faster than the GTX 580, and that’s a fact that’s very hard to argue with.

Ultimately the existence of the 2Win is a major vote of confidence in SLI by EVGA. If you believe as they do – that NVIDIA will continue to quickly add SLI support to games, that SLI scaling will always be strong, and that multi-GPU timing issues are easily overcome – then the 2Win makes the GeForce GTX 580 redundant at current pricing. It’s that simple.

On the other hand if you don’t share EVGA’s confidence in SLI, then very little has changed. If you believe that new games will have teething issues with SLI, that microstutter will continue to exist, and that not every game will scale well with SLI, then the 2Win is a poor choice in light of the more consistent performance of the GTX 580. Certainly the performance of the 2Win is phenomenal when SLI is working, but if SLI falters that means the performance of the 2Win is reduced to that of a $220 GTX 560 Ti. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s a real concern that must be evaluated when buying any dual-GPU card, including the 2Win. We’re going to continue to be conservative and recommend the consistency of a single-GPU card over the performance of a dual-GPU card, but for the individual buyer the 2Win’s performance makes a very good argument to throw caution into the wind.

Moving beyond the scope of SLI it’s clear that the 2Win is a solid product. EVGA’s use of an open air cooler is definitely an interesting choice. It’s not the only card using this style of a cooler – a number of overclocking focused vendor custom cards do so – but it’s more surprising to see it on a multi-GPU card. The end result is that given a suitable case this cooler allows the 2Win to dissipate as much heat as it does for relatively little noise. It’s subjectively noisier than a GTX 580, but just barely.

Wrapping things up, the only aspect I feel that EVGA has left underdeveloped on an otherwise very strong card is VRAM. As a result of SLI 2Win is a $520 card with 1GB of effective VRAM. We’ve already seen 1GB of VRAM pose limitations in a couple of our tests, and going forward it’s only going to get worse.  Case in point: Battlefield 3, which we’re currently looking at. In a technical presentation DICE has stated that the combined memory consumption at 1920x1080 for the gbuffer, Z-buffer, and MSAA resolve data is 158MB; and this is before other buffers let alone textures. As a $200 card meant for 1920 and lower resolution, 1GB of VRAM makes sense for the GTX 560 Ti. But as a $500 dual-GPU card meant for higher performance, higher quality, and higher resolutions, 1GB of effective VRAM is the biggest bottleneck going forward for the 2Win. Realistically EVGA is in a hard place since using higher density GDDR5 would drive up the price of the card and make it even more expensive than the GTX 580, but at the end of the day I think the 2Win needs 2GB of effective VRAM to spread its wings through 2012.

DIRT 2, Mass Effect 2, Wolfenstein, & Compute Performance


View All Comments

  • luv2liv - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    they cant make it physically bigger than this?
    im disappointed.

  • phantom505 - Friday, November 04, 2011 - link

    That was so lazy.... it looks like they took 3 case fans and tie strapped them to the top. I think I could have made that look better and I have no design experience whatsoever. Reply
  • irishScott - Sunday, November 06, 2011 - link

    Well, it apparently works. That's good enough for me, but then again I don't have a side window. Reply
  • Strunf - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Side window and mirrors to see the the fans...I don't understand why people even comment on aesthetics it's not like they'll spend their time looking at the card. Reply
  • phantom505 - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    If they were lazy here, where else were they lazy? Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    What is obviously lazy here is your lack of thinking and reading before you made your post. Reply
  • Velotop - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    I still have a GTX580 in shrink wrap for my new system build. Looks like it's a keeper. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    Seems like they missed the mark on pricing. Shouldn't they have been able to price it at exactly 2x a GTX 560 Ti card, or $460. Theoretically they should be saving money on the PCB material, connectors, and packaging.

    Of course we all know that they don't set these price brackets on how much more card costs over the next model down. They set prices based on the maximum they think they could get someone to pay. Oh well. Probably would have sold like hot cakes otherwise.
  • Kepe - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    In addition to just raw materials and manufacturing costs, you must also take in to account the amount of money poured in to the development of the card. This is a custom PCB and as such, takes quite a bit of resources to develop. Also, this is a low volume product that will not sell as many units as a regular 560Ti does, so all those extra R&D costs must be distributed over a small amount of products.
    R&D costs on reference designs such as the 560Ti are pretty close to 0 compared to something like the 560Ti 2Win.
  • Samus - Saturday, November 05, 2011 - link

    i've been running a pair of EVGA GTX460 768MB's in SLI with the superclock BIOS for almost 2 years. Still faster than just about any single card you can buy, even now, at a cost of $300 total when I bought them.

    I'm the only one of my friends that didn't need to upgrade their videocard for Battlefield 3. I've been completely sold on SLI since buying these cards, and believe me, I'd been avoiding SLI for years for the same reason most people do: compatibility.

    But keep in mind, nVidia has been pushing SLI hard for TEN YEARS with excellent drivers, frequent updates, and compatibility with a wide range of motherboards and GPU models.

    Micro-stutter is an ATI issue. It's not noticeable (and barely measurable) on nVidia cards.

    In reference to Ryan's conclusion, I'd say consider SLI for nVidia cards without hesitation. If you're in the ATI camp, get one of their beasts or run three-way cross-fire to eliminate micro-stutter.

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