ASUS has passed us yet another card from their DirectCU II lineup with the GTX 560 Ti 2GB TOP edition. This is a bit of an older model but it is a refresh of the 560 with the addition of double the frambuffer and a higher clockspeed. Lets take a look at what it had to offer and what you can expect from this value oriented addition to the ASUS family.[review_ad]
Introduction – ASUS GeForce GTX560 Ti DirectCU II TOP
The ASUS GTX 500 series seems like a distant memory, but we were surprised when a short time back they shipped us this 560 Ti model refresh to check out. The GTX 560 Ti was originally released with a 1GB framebuffer. This card has the framebuffer doubled with a full 2048MB for what can only be some high res mainstream gaming action.
This card comes in around the same time as the Nvidia 680, and honestly a 2GB framebuffer can be quite a potential performer. The price as of writing was $269.99 which is about middle of the road and a bit cheaper than the EVGA variant which also offers 2GB framebuffer. One major advantage here is that this card offers the DirectCU II cooler whereas the EVGA card which is $10 more uses a reference cooler.
SAP (Super Allow Power)
ASUS has great pride in the components they infuse into their graphics offerings very much like the motherboards we have covered previously. ASUS has what’s called SAP or Super Alloy Power which covers the components in the very VRM we are discussing. The components are hand picked for quality and performance based around not only power delivery but efficiency as well. The components in the SAP solution are super durable for a rated lifespan of up to 2.5X what reference cards would offer and also with the DIGI+ controller you’re talking ultimate precision which means better voltage stability, better overclcoking potential and overall better power efficiency clock for clock.
Here we see the VRM Chokes, Mosfet/driver Assemblies and the solid state caps which make up the SAP components or to simplify the super strong and efficient VRM.
DCII (Direct CU II)
ASUS DirectCU II coolers are the ASUS way of saying maximum cooling and plenty of quiet with one naming scheme. DirectCU II coolers are direct touch heatpipes to the GPU surface ensuring the heat is wicked away from the GPU and up into the cooling fin array as quickly as possible. From there the custom shrouded dual fans push air through the fins effectively but most important quietly to keep the GPU as cool as possible so hopefully it will never hit a temp to need a higher or noisier fan speed. The air pushing through the fin array also helps cool board components and the VRM cooler as well which is a nice little added bonus to this style cooler since we all know cooler components tend to run stronger, longer and with better efficiency.
ASUS offers its own software utility and its functionality has grown with generations just like the cards it supports. Of course the card can be overclocked but also voltages can be tweaked and within the GPU Tweak app we can even launch the GPU info utility which is a full custom version of GPUz. This is a really cool feature and a benefit especially to benchmarkers who we can definitely see using this card with some of the awesome tweaks we will discuss in the card overview.
There are many tools within the GPU Tweak menus some a little more hidden than others. First off directly form the GPU Tweak utility itself you can check for BIOS updates and even update from within the program. For anyone whos ever updated a vBIOS before knows that having a tool that can do this in a mere few clicks is really handy.
The charts besides offering real time monitoring can also be setup to log thermals, voltages and clocks so that after benchmark or gaming runs you can see if there was any thermal issues or throttling that may have affected performance.
And another neat feature that many never delve into but its worth visiting is the custom fan profiling. This allos a specialized ramping of the fan according to a graph you set custom for your thermal/acoustic needs. Honestly after using this card awhile I would say the fan profile is damn near perfect as it keeps the card cool when under load and also super quiet when just messing around on the web.
The utility does come on the disk but its always advised to get the latest version HERE and search GPU Tweak in the ASUS page linked.
Overview of the ASUS GeForce GTX680 DC II TOP
The packaging is the standard powerful looking figure mounted on horseback which we have seen on many GPU boxes to date. It also lists a few key feature titles but most of the box front is simply the figure with a large 900MHz ensuring you know this card is pumped.
Here is a list of all items included in the accessory pack:
Dual molex to 6pin PCIe power Adapter
Mini HDMI to HDMI Adapter
- DVI to VGA Adapter
The accessory package is adequate to get you running and even includes a nice quality mHDMI to HDMI adapter.
Click Images to Enlarge
Here we get some nice peek at the card and you can see the detail on the metal fan shroud which makes the card feel much more beefy than some we have used from the 560 Ti lineup utilizing the stock plastic shrouding.
Looking under the edge, you can see the large ALU base of the heatsink where all the heatpipes meet the GPU. For a low thermal output card like a 560 Ti, ASUS sure took cooling seriously.
Click Images to Enlarge
The rear of the card is rather standard with no backplate used to cover components as those seem to be reserved for the more enthusiasts marketed models. Across the top of the PCB we see a stiffener which makes sure there is little to no flex with the PCB, and it truly does help as we took the stiffener off to test and the PCB feels more pliable without it.
The card supports up to 2 Way SLI which is standard for the 560 Ti models.
Click Images to Enlarge
The outputs are standard with:
- 2x DVI
This is plenty of connectivity as Fermi cards only support up to 2 displays from a single card so you can hook up dual DVI or even adapt them to whatever output deemed necessary.
Click Images to Enlarge
The cooler is beefy and very well built. It has a very dense fin array with a large ALU heatsink at the base which the heatpipes are flattened into. These pipes rest against the GPU.
Click Images to Enlarge
Here we just see a few detail shots of the card/cooler and getting an idea of the fan blade shaping which helps for the quiet yet powerful fans on the DirectCU II cooler.
Click Images to Enlarge
The power for the card is also standard with dual 6 pin input which as we have seen with 560 Ti as a whole is more than enough in most situations for some really good clocks.
Testing & Methodology
We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.
The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear Prefetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
|Case||Thermaltake Level 10 GT|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K/Intel Core i7-2600K|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus V Gene
|Ram||16GbpsB Patriot Viper Xtreme 2400MHz +|
|CPU Cooler||Swiftech H20-220 Edge|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB|
|SSD||Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB|
|GPU||ASUS GTX 560 Ti DCII 2GB|
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Black gaming mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard|
We will use the following applications to test the performance of the graphics card.
Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
|Aliens vs. Predator|
|Batman: Arkham City|
The GTX 560 Ti is rather hit and miss in our experience, and this one comes out of the box pre overclocked at 900MHz but upon overclocking I was able to pull a bit more out of it for a top GPU clock of 965MHz. This is not the absolute max as I got over 955MHz but it is not what I would consider completely stable. This is definitely not the worst 560 Ti GPU I have had to date but its not the best either.
Memory was not too bad at just under 1200 at 1195MHz but that was really pushing it to the edge. Nonetheless, it remained completely stable at that speed. Not really too bad when you consider that this is twice the framebuffer as a standard 560 Ti card.
In order to ensure no system bottleneck we clocked the CPU to 4.6GHz to ensure there is no reason the system will slow down the cards performance at all.
Some may ask why we chose the mainstream Z77 system and we can explain. Up until recent the X79 enthusiasts platform does not really support PCIe Gen 3 on the Nvidia 600 series GPU’s and come to find out it is due to the inherent instability many have seen with the X79 platform with Gen 3 products. This is why Nvidia has been hesitant to enable it, and now there is a workaround via registry to get it working but in order to ensure best possible testing scenarios we have stuck to the natively supported Z77 platform.
Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.
The temperatures were recorded with full loaded Heaven benchmark looping for over 30 minutes or longer depending how long it took for the card to level out in temps and sat at a plateau for more than 10 minutes.
|GPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS GTX560 Ti DCII TOP OC||32C/64C|
|ASUS GTX560 Ti DCII TOP||32C/62C|
The cooling efficiency of the cooler can be seen as it keeps the card nice and cool, one thing to note is that if setting the fan speed to highest setting it will definitely be heard. Also under load the card is kept warm but fan speed does ramp up pretty quick which can definitely be heard but not enough that I could see it being an issue in a chassis.
Real world/Gaming Benchmarks
3DMark 11 is the newest in Futuremark’s suite of benchmarking utilities. Its a fully capable DirectX11 benchmark which also stresses and analyzes the system performance as a whole to simulate a heavy rendering environment such as a high end game or other app the end user may run. This benchmark was run with Performance settings 5 times and all runs were averaged for the result below.
Here we see the 560 Ti takes a step ahead of the reference 560 and it is likely from both the overclock and the larger frambuffer.
Aliens Vs Predator
Aliens Vs Predator is a quite demanding game and overall just a cool title so we had some fun running this one through its paces.
Here we see a small jump ahead of the reference 560 Ti but playable nonetheless at HD resolution.
Metro 2033 is the new Crysis for now, as most single cards even from the enthusiasts side simply cannot handle it with everything enabled. The 2GB 560 Ti is no exception here as it simply is not framebuffer holding this game back it is pure need or thirst for GPU power.
Batman: Arkham City
Batman is a fun game, entertaining and with some cool PhysX effects. In this game the 2GB model pulls a little over 2 FPS higher at HD resolutions.
Dirt 3 is not so much demanding as you see here the 560 Ti easily knocks out numbers well over 100 FPS, and the 2GB card gets a nice bump here turning ion over 5FPS higher.
When receiving the ASUS GTX 560 Ti 2GB we knew it was already about to be replaced but we still feel it needs its day in the sun as the card simply works, and offers something that the original design had omitted, which is the large framebuffer to play games really well in HD resolutions.
Obviously with Kepler now released everyone is forgetting about the “value card that was” but we do think that many will continue to use the 560 cards like this because they worked well at a decent value.
The issue we saw with this card was possibly just the fan profile as on our open testbench for initial testing it did seem like the fan ramped up pretty fast. This kept the GPU nice and cool but did cause it to be a little louder than e found necessary. Some custom fan profiling and within minutes GPU tweak had the card running just the way we wanted with our own custom fan profile.
|OUR VERDICT: ASUS GTX 560 Ti 2GB DirectCU II TOP|
|Summary: The 560 Ti may be old hat by now but that does not stop it from being an impressive value. For this it earns the Bjorn3D Silver Bear Award.|