Nvidia has updated its desktop graphics card lineup with a new Fermi-derived GPU, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Sitting square in between the AMD Radeon HD 6950 and the HD 6870, the card has prompted some decisive wrangling in the $200 to $300 GPU segment, with AMD introducing two new variants to balance the competition.
GeForce GTX 580
GeForce GTX 570
Radeon HD 6970
Radeon HD 6950 2GB
Radeon HD 6950 1GB
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Radeon HD 6870 OC
Radeon HD 6870
GeForce GTX 460 1GB
Radeon HD 6850
Priced at $249, the GTX 560 Ti now sits between a cheaper 1GB VRAM variant of the HD 6950, priced at $259, and factory overclocked versions of the HD 6870, priced at approximately $230. AMD has also released its latest Catalyst drivers, upping performance incrementally across the HD 5800, 6800, and 6900 series.
The GeForce GTX 560 Ti is based on what Nvidia is calling the GF114 GPU architecture, which rather than being something new entirely, is more along the lines of a fully enabled 1.95 billion transistor GF104 (GTX 460), with no locked or non-functional cores, engines, ROPs, and memory controllers.
GTX 560 Ti
GTX 460 1GB
Texture Address / Filtering
1002MHz (4008MHz data rate) GDDR5
950MHz (3800MHz data rate) GDDR5
1002Mhz (4008MHz data rate) GDDR5
900Mhz (3.6GHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width
This gives the GTX 560 Ti 384 CUDA cores or Stream Processors, 64 texture units, 8 Polymorph Engines, 32 ROPs, 512KB L2 cache, 4 x 64bit memory controllers. The GF114-based GTX 560 Ti also features significant boosts in clock speeds across the board, with a 147MHz faster core clock, 102MHz faster memory clock, and 296MHz increase in shader clock.
Nvidia was able to achieve this staggering increase in potential from the GF104 to the GF114 in much the same way it revitalized its relatively inefficient (in terms of power/performance) GF100 cores to GF110 cores, by using three different grades of leaky transistors identified from TSMC’s mature 40nm process, better cooling systems, and a more streamlined design that concentrates more on graphics performance than GPU computing.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]All this gives the GF114-based GTX 560 Ti a remarkable 30% improvement on what is essentially the same GPU core design as the GF104-based GTX 460. Certainly remarkable, and almost completely replacing the now aging and finally defunct GTX 480 and 470. For now however, it looks like AMD’s quick thinking move of creating a 1GB variant of the HD 6950 might serve well to stave off cutthroat competition at the $240-$260 price range, as it apparently gives similar performance. To be noted of course, is the markedly better tessellation performance of the GTX 560 Ti, and which is slightly faster and quieter than the HD 6950 1GB. Ultimately, the GTX 560 Ti is now poised to take on the 1GB HD 6950 in much the same way as the GTX 570 took on the HD 6970 – from a slight advantage.