Despite being a limited product and only available in certain countries, including the UK, the 448 Core version of the nVidia GTX560Ti has divided opinion between those who like the cheeky bit of extra power available when compared to the standard GTX560Ti, and those who think it's expensive enough to be pointless, considering the GTX570 is only about a tenner more.
So with the ASUS GTX560Ti 448 DirectCU II in our sweaty palms, let's see if this can help clarify things a bit. Although the main point from that immense title is that nVidia should have called it the GTX565 if only to save us all needing widescreen monitors to read the product name.
Apart from the DirectCU II cooler, the ASUS version is identical to the stock option, with the standard 732MHz core. Hopefully the excellent cooler will allow us to romp towards 1GHz.
|Graphics Engine||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 cores|
|Bus Standard||PCI Express 2.0|
|Video Memory||GDDR5 1280MB|
|Engine Clock||732 MHz|
|Shader Clock||1464 MHz|
|Memory Clock||3800 MHz ( GDDR5 )|
|Resolution||D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048x1536|
DVI Max Resolution : 2560x1600
|Interface||D-Sub Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1)|
DVI Output : Yes x 2 (DVI-I)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1
Display Port : Yes x 1 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
|Accessories||1 x Extended SLI cable|
1 x Power cable
1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
|Software||ASUS Utilities & Driver|
|ASUS Features||DirectCU Series|
Super Alloy Power
|Dimensions||11.1 " x 4.9 " x 2.3 " Inch|
We keep hoping that ASUS drop the Fantasy Knight from their box art and stop appealing to teenage boys, but no luck yet. Perhaps the GTX6xx series will bring joy. The card itself is very attractive in the de rigueur red and black. We loved the look of the DirectCU II when we last saw it and time has not diminished its charms.
This is one sturdy card with a big back plate to make sure that all the heat is evenly distributed. It looks classy. The NEC 0E907 Capacitor helps with its rightful place as the centerpiece of the reverse of the card.
There is no denying this is a big beast. Triple slot solutions are rare and we're not amazingly convinced that the GTX560Ti 448 is a card worthy of such attention, but in pure "metal for your money" terms you can't deny it's imposing. It's not often that two 6pin PCIe power sockets seem dwarfed.
Those with small cases need not apply. HDMI, Display Port and twin DVI ports seem relegated to an afterthought behind the colossal size of the ASUS affair.
Our test setup for the ASUS remains identical to that on which we tested the MSI and Gigabyte versions, so this is truly a head-to-head.
ASUS GTX560Ti 448 DirectCU II
Intel Core-i7 950 @ 4GHz
Gigabyte G1 Assassin
6GB Mushkin Redline
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Although the card is, as you'll see below, not troubled by any thermal limitations, nonetheless the overclocking performance wasn't great. It's definitely better than the Gigabyte model, but nowhere near the MSI.
The DirectCU II cooler can easily keep the card cool. Indeed it's cooler than the already mighty MSI Twin Frozr III. Impressive stuff.
3D Mark 11
Performance nicely follows clock speed in 3D Mark 11. At stock the cards are pretty inseparable, and when overclocked the results bear out the various overclocks.
3D Mark Vantage
Vantage follows the trend set by 11 with the cards all nice and linear when compared to their clock speed. So at least we know they're all working well. Onwards.
Not a very auspicious start. The ASUS is left quite comfortably behind it's 448 rivals.
With zero anti-aliasing and Gamer settings the ASUS just heads the pack. Once the detail is ramped up to Enthusiast and liberal levels of anti-aliasing are applied things end up pretty much inseparable.
Demonstrating how much the architecture limits the potential of the 448 Core GTX560Ti, the difference in the various overclocks have almost zero impact in the average frame-rate, regardless of the detail settings.
Alien vs Predator
When the results are generally this close a difference of 3FPS average from the overclocked DirectCU II is worth noting. Impressive considering it's 100MHz behind the MSI.
Batman Arkham City
If an extra three frames was worth mentioning in AvP, then the performance in Arkham City, which is average at best and not really helped by the overclock, sits on the other side of the fence.
Oh dear. The 448 Core version was primarily released to coincide with the demands of Batman Arkham City and Battlefield 3. Whilst Batman was average, in Battlefield 3 the ASUS DirectCU II is nothing short of poor. Even when overclocked the ASUS can't keep up with the stock Gigabyte, which wasn't impressive to begin with.
Dirt3 just piles on the misery. It would be easy to think that just at stock the ASUS is performing poorly, but even overclocking doesn't help it overcome the whopping 40FPS+ differential between it and the competing models. Heck even the plain GTX560Ti beats it pretty handily. This hasn't been a good page for the ASUS DirectCU II.
Far Cry 2
Thankfully for ASUS Far Cry 2 resumes the different models of the GTX560Ti 448 line-up being nearly inseparable.
At stock things are where we'd expect them to be, but with the overclock the DirectCU II really works hard on Mafia II, giving a very good result indeed when compared to the other two models.
Single GPU, Metro 2033, nothing much changes. We are gagging for 'Metro : Last Light' in the hope that it will stop seemingly capping out at 30FPS on anything but a GTX580 or dual-card system.
The Witcher 2
Despite the Witcher 2 being a hardcore eye-candy experience, easily the most technically impressive game available, the ASUS GTX560Ti 448 Direct CU II redeems itself and puts on a very impressive showing, managing to average a hair over 30 FPS when overclocked.
Resident Evil 5
With DirectX 9 shaders the results are fairly close, although again the overclocked ASUS manages to surprise with its ability to top out ever-so-slightly higher than the equivalent cards. Once Resident Evil 5 is set to DirectX 10 this gap widens and it starts to knock on the door of the GTX570 overclock.
So let's get the obvious stuff out of the way early.
At stock, the ASUS is pretty much on a par with the other 448 Core cards we've tested, although because it doesn't come overclocked out of the box the MSI generally edges ahead. Although it's certainly not by any large margins. Generally at least. Overclocking capabilities are better than the Gigabyte which only made it to 800MHz, but not on a par with the excellent MSI offering which ended up hitting the 1000MHz mark. However, the results from the overclock actually made great use of the performance available, and in certain situations the 860MHz overclock we obtained gave us results as good as the MSI. The Witcher 2 was a particular highlight, getting just past 30FPS.
The abilities of the DirectCU II cooler were equally impressive. The card is quiet and maintains a degree or two below the excellent MSI offering. Unfortunately this, like so many elements of the card, requires a large asterisk and some qualification. Yes it's a bit cooler than the MSI, but this is a triple slot card. Triple. Whereas the MSI Twin Frozr III is only a dual-slot solution. However it looks amazing in situ and if you're someone who likes to show off then the ASUS is definitely ticking that box. It's massive and dominates the internals of your case.
The other big issues come with some of the results. In neither Battlefield 3, nor Batman Arkham City did the ASUS particularly impress. Given that these two games are the main marketing thrust then you'd expect that, even if it was rubbish in everything else, the GTX560Ti 448 would rock here. But the ASUS at least certainly doesn't.
That's not remotely as bad as the results we see from Dirt3 and Unigine. In both of these the ASUS DirectCU II was, even if we're being really kind, poor. Terrible would be nearer to the mark, especially in Dirt3 which is optimised so well it will run past 100 FPS on almost anything.
It's very difficult to recommend any of the GTX560Ti 448 Core cards in all honesty. The Asus is cool and quiet, but not significantly cooler or quieter than the MSI which is only dual-slot. The performance is very variable wavering between excellent and "meh". Even the overclocking is mediocre, only getting up to 860MHz but it is worth noting this is a full 60MHz above whats now increasingly looking like the substandard Gigabyte card.
Considering it's £240 that's a lot of money for a big card that performs averagely, even compared to other versions of the same thing. However, if you're someone who enjoys the reliability and excellent warranty that comes from an ASUS card, and you are more concerned about looks than performance, then this would be the one to go for. It looks way more expensive than it is. It just doesn't quite back those looks up. Its on par in some aspects but better in many others than the Gigabyte offering so we are going to award it our Silver award.
Thanks to ASUS for providing the GTX560Ti 448 Core DirectCU II for review. Discuss in our forums.