|ASUS ENGTX560 Ti DCII TOP Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Sunday, 13 February 2011|
Page 17 of 17
ASUS ENGTX560 Ti DCII TOP Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
From a performance standpoint, the GTX 560 Ti exceeds my expectations. I'm a little jaded I guess about manufacturer's claims, but NVIDIA didn't pull any punches with this update. The GTX460 is already a widely accepted success in the marketplace, and the GTX 560 Ti is just better. In many games, there's a performance increase up to 40-50% coming from the GTX 460. I'm sure the 80MHz factory OC is involved right here, but still it's a pretty good solution. I'm just sad about ASUS DCII cooling solution. I did try re-installing and checking if the heatsink was doing enough pressure against the GPU Core. I even re-applied thermal paste but results were the same. How many times you get a pretty good looking cooler that performs like the common and simple reference design? At the other hand, power requirements are very modest, as NVIDIA recommends a 500W PSU, which is actually below the minimum I would personally consider for any modern gaming rig.
The appearance of the ENGTX560 Ti DCII TOP video card is very attractive; the stylish fan shroud gives it a sports look mixed with those red stripes on it. The black matted PCB and rounded edges along with that side bar to avoid PCB warping just helps even more. There are also 3 ASUS logos in the GPU which can be visible through any windowed PC chassis. ASUS did a nice job producing a subtle design that is business-like, yet manages to show off its muscles at the same time. Too bad the heatsink doesn't really perform as well as it looks.
The build quality of the ENGTX560 Ti DCII TOP was quite good. Everything is assembled well, everything fit when I put it back together, and the overall impression of the card was very solid. The cooler along with the PCB and small heatsinks certainly adds a heft to the card and also lends a good deal of rigidity to the package. The packaging was of the highest quality and very informative. The upgraded power supply arrangement with super-alloy-power components give a good impression, and the not-so-crowded design at the back of the PCB means ASUS has been working in the PCB design lately. Even at overclocked conditions the GPU felt very solid, and it never stumbled or complained once.
The basic features of the ENGTX560 Ti DCII TOP are fully comparable with the latest offerings from both camps. It has: Microsoft DirectX 11 Support, PhysX Technology, is 3D Vision Ready, also 3D Vision Surround Ready, CUDA Technology, SLI, 32x Anti-aliasing, PureVideo HD, and HDMI 1.4a support. If PhysX and 3D Vision Surround matter to you, then you are already firmly anchored in the NVIDIA camp, and the GTX 560 Ti is just icing on the cake. Comparing that with AMD's offerings, I think Nvidia wins this match. I still however think Nvidia should design a card to fully support Surround mode in a single solution (without SLI) as AMD does with their Eyefinity GPUs.
As of late January 2011, the price for the ENGTX560 Ti is $249.99 at Newegg. There are currently no rebates available and ASUS is not giving away any popular games at the moment, so consider that in your purchasing decisions. The price-to-performance ratio of this GPU is so good, there's not a lot of downside anywhere. This particular model offers DirectCU II cooling system, which works great at idle mode but doesn't impress at load mode. Still, I think it looks better that Nvidia's reference design. AMD just issued their challenge, in the form of new 1GB versions of the HD 6950 that are priced very aggressively, and I look forward to comparing that new competitor in the near future.
Almost any GTX 560 Ti card is going to get high marks at this stage of the game. NVIDIA has brought some pretty amazing performance improvements to a graphics platform that was already very competitive. AMD has responded with some serious price cuts on the HD 6870 ($219) and released a value version of the HD 6950 ($269) that will bracket the GTX560Ti in price, but as of today I think this is the card to beat in the $250 price range. One reason for that is the continued presence of serious overclocking headroom for this upgraded GPU. I got 970 MHz on the core clock with very little effort.
+ Very quiet cooling system with performance-oriented fan profile
+ Lower temps than reference designs at Idle mode
+ Performance improvement over GTX 460 is impressive (20-50%)
+ Overclocking headroom is similar to the GTX 460
+ PhysX capability is great feature with minimal FPS impact
+ Upgraded power supply design with high quality components
+ Low price penalty for enhanced performance and features
+ Manufacturing quality is close to the very top
+ Industry leading 3D support by NVIDIA
+ Bundled software and utilities to OC and monitor your GPU
- $250+ is still a lot of money for casual gamers to spend
- Hot air from GPU cooler stays inside case
- DirectCU II cooler's performance was way below expectations
- No game included with the GPU
Final Score: 9.20 out of 10.
Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award