|MSI N560GTX-Ti GeForce Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 30 January 2011|
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MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC Detailed Features
The memory choice for the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II/OC is consistent with the NVIDIA reference designs. The basic GTX 560 specs only require 1,000 MHz chips for the memory, but many cards have been using these Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04 GDDR5 parts, which are designed for up to 1250 MHz. The GTX 460 cards have shown some gains in gaming performance with increases in memory speed, much more so that the ATI HD 5xxx series has. These 1250 MHz versions of this chip have also been mediocre overclockers on the Radeon platform; we'll have to see if they are a little more willing to run wide open with a GeForce GPU in the saddle.
The layout on the front and back of the printed circuit board is very typical for a high-end video card. The major power supply components are mounted towards the back end of the board, close to the PCI Express power connectors, and they get excellent cooling directly from the rear fan. The lack of any heatsinks on the 12 power MOSFETs in the VRM section is a question mark, but the fact that there are so many of them, means there is more surface area to dissipate heat.
The main power supply controller chip used on the MSI N560GTX-Ti is a uP6213A chip from UPI Semiconductor. It is a 3/4 Phase PWM control IC that does not support I2C software voltage control, however the BIOS provides its own software control that interfaces with the controller at the hardware level. The VRM section uses 3 of the phases from this controller, and then splits each phase in two, to get a total of six phases for powering the GPU alone. Most of the boards on the market are getting by with the four phases provided by the reference design, and they seem to work well, even with some fairly serious overclocking. All else being equal, doubling up on the phases does give cleaner power to the GPU, and MSI was intent on getting all the performance they could from this little GF114 powerhouse.
The N560GTX-Ti uses standard discrete packaging for the N-Channel MOSFET power transistors in the VRM section. This discrete implementation gives up the opportunity to save a little space, but it does give the designer a broader choice in component selection, compared to a DrMOS design. MSI put the driver ICs on the back side of the board to free up some additional space here. The 4935N devices driving the GPU can each source a whopping 93A at an ambient temp of 25C, and are downgraded to 59A at 85C. We all know how hot video cards get, so it's a good idea to have plenty of reserve current capacity for these power devices.
This non-reference card from MSI is more complex than the basic NVIDIA design; but it's still a very straight forward design, without any off-the-wall elements. As such, it has the benefit of all the prior work done on the GTX 460 versions to draw from, including reliability data. Based on the evolutionary nature of the design, the quality of the components, the performance of the Twin Frozr II cooler, and my experience with several recent MSI cards, I expect this card to be very reliable. Every added dollar that went into the redesign went towards making the card faster and more conducive to further overclocking by the customer. It's hard for me to argue with that approach; it's the one I'd be most inclined to take, given a choice.
Before we move into the testing phase of the review, let's take a detailed look at the features and specifications for the new GF114 GPU. NVIDIA has supplied us with a ton of information, so let's go....