|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Review: Gigabyte Geforce GTX 560 OC (1Gb GDDR5)|
|Posted by Ed Smith|
|Thursday, 02 June 2011 17:00|
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Gigabyte is a world leader in computer hardware manufacturing, they not only make video cards, but also motherboards, cell phones, notebooks, book-sized desktop PCs, desktops, servers, and other high end electronics. They're best known for their motherboards and video cards however, and were the first company to switch to double-thick 2oz (per sq-ft) copper PCB layers on motherboards, among other innovations.
Today we're looking at one of their newest video cards, it's based around the Nvidia GeForce GTX560 core, has 1gb of GDDR5 ram on a 256bit bus, and a unique to gigabyte dual fan cooling solution.
The design of the card is interesting in that Nvidia did not make a "reference design" for this card. For most mid range and high end cards Nvidia builds a "reference" card, Foxconn makes hundreds of thousands of them, and then the various manufacturers (gigabyte, zotac, MSI, etc.) slap a sticker on it and call it good. Then later in the GPU core's life cycle the manufacturers will come out with their own modified or brand new designs, such as Gigabyte's Super Over Clock series.
For the GTX560 however there was no reference design, so all GTX560s have been designed in-house. In the case of this gigabyte card it looks to have been built largely for compact size, this is not a large card!
The other interesting thing about non-reference cards is that reference GPU clocks are rarely used. In essence, all GTX560s are overclocked from the factory to some extent or another, more on this later. The card and the cooler are very well matched size wise, making it look quite nice. We'll see if it performs as nicely as it looks in a bit.
First, some basic stats. Currently the GTX560 sits between the GTX560Ti (Nvidia likes to play games with card names, it annoys me) and the GTX460 in Nvidia's lineup. The GTX560 is essentially a GTX560Ti with some shaders removed. Generally speaking the removed shaders had some defects in them that prevented that slice of silicon being sold as a GTX560Ti, so they cut them off with a laser and sell the working portion of the chip. This saves the manufacturer some money, as chips that would otherwise be junk are instead sold, and it means that end users get good prices as well, as the "defective" chips were essentially free to the manufacturer, but perform just fine with the damaged cores cut out. Those of you who do a lot of reading may have run into people "unlocking" extra cores on AMD's 6950 GPUs to turn them back into 6970s, unfortunately that doesn't work on the GTX560s!
As you can see in the pictures, the GTX560OC has a custom cooler, four nicely sized heatpipes spread the heat out across the generously sized heatsink, and a pair of very quiet 100mm PWM controlled fans cool things off nicely.
Here we run into the first issue however: The shroud on the heatsink feels pretty flimsy, I handled the card very carefully because of this and had no problems, but it feels like it wouldn't be hard to press on the wrong part and crack the shroud or damage a fan. That said, being careful with computer parts is a good idea anyway!
Next up, the official word direct from Gigabyte and Nvidia!