Gigabyte GTX 560 OC ReviewRHKCommander959 - May 17, 2011
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The Gigabyte GTX 560 OC is built with similar components that go into the company’s motherboards. The design is called Ultra Durable VGA. More copper is built into the PCB layers for better conductivity. Higher quality capacitors, MOSFETs, and chokes are used and in doing so give the card a longer life expectancy while reducing temperatures and power consumption. The chokes should not emit any squeal as can be heard from cheap chokes used on many vanilla cards (the bane of most gamers). With 336 cores built on TSMC's 40nm node, the GTX 560 will have similar performance to the GTX 460 before it while having a very similar design to the GTX 560 Ti. The core is most likely the same with some functionality disabled. The core speed has been increased to 810 MHz from the 675 MHz of the GTX 460. The memory layout is similar being that it is again 1GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus. Memory speeds have increased from 900 MHz to 1002 MHz. Performance will very likely be similar considering that the GTX 460 had more in common with the GTX 500 line than the GTX 400s. Considering everything, it is kind of odd for NVIDIA to say that this isn’t a replacement for the GTX 460 unless they plan to keep it around just as they have kept the GTS 450 for the lower end.
The heat sink design uses two transparent large 100mm impellers angled lightly to help blow air from back to front on the card. This directional flow helps since the fans aren't negating each other in the center as is the problem with fans placed flatly in line. Heat will still be dumped into the case but some of it will exit out the grill. This design is far more efficient on the GPU itself both thermally and audibly in comparison to OEM blower motor designs. The PWM fans are rated for a maximum of 2000 RPM and thus will likely be extremely quiet during operation. The heat sink uses four 6mm direct-contact heat pipes to wick heat from the GPU core and disperse it more rapidly into the fins. Gigabyte has claimed that by not using solder here that the heat transfer is greater since there are less materials for the heat to traverse through. The only problem is that air is a worse thermal conductor than solder and pressed on fins will have some gaps between the fins and heat pipes. The back of the card is devoid of any major electronics, most new cards all have their memory on the GPU-side nowadays. Four spring-retention screws hold the heat sink to the GPU core. Near the 6-pin connections is a small aluminum heat sink attached by push-pins to cool the MOSFETs.
The supported outputs are two DVI-I ports and one Mini HDMI port. The audio for the Mini HDMI is connected through the PCB. The early days of NVIDIA HDMI support required a sound wire to be run from one end of the card to the other to pass sound through to the port. With a D-Sub VGA adapter, virtually all of the market will be readily able to connect their displays. NVIDIA hasn't yet deemed DisplayPort worth the jump since the standard hasn't caught on very well. The rear of the card has two 6-pin power connectors, a growing trend is to have them side mounted but the Gigabyte version has them mounted facing out the back. The fan header is right next to the power connections. (editor's note: I personally prefer rear mounted power ports as the wires are easier to hide).
The WindForce logo is placed onto the side of the plastic fan shroud so that when the card is installed, people can see it through a case window or open side panel. The slight fan angle can be made out in these two photos. The design should still only take up two slots. The fan angle would help the card breathe in SLI configurations although care should be taken to make sure the adjacent card's mounting screws don't catch an impeller!
The four direct-contact heat pipes cover the GPU core area very well and are pretty flush with the rest of the base. The gaps between these heat pipes is considerable and should be packed with thermal paste by users upon re-installation. From the factory, the grooves and heat sink base were already liberally covered in paste. The size of the fans has them overhanging the heat sink and should aid in cooling motherboard components such as nearby chipset heat sinks. The PCB has plenty of extra holes for different cooling options. With six holes surrounding the GPU core, some serious pressure could be applied for extreme cooling such as DICE or LN2. Most of the Ultra Durable VGA components can be seen with the heat sink removed. All of the chokes have stickers on them saying Metal Choke. The MOSFETs are hiding underneath the small aluminum heat sink for thermal relief, with the solid Japanese capacitors nearby. The memory used is produced by Hynix. The model is H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C and they are rated for up to 5.0 GHz operation with 1.5V while only being clocked at 4008 MHz. The GF114 core is protected by an integrated heat shield. An IHS protects the core from damage due to improper heat sink installation at the cost of reduced thermal transfer capabilities. A common misconception by enthusiasts is that they think they must coat the whole IHS in thermal paste for proper heat transfer. Only the area above the core really needs thermal paste, the temperature difference is very negligible when done properly. A bare core definitely needs to be covered completely. Some enthusiasts opt to remove the IHS and either leave it off or replace the paste underneath. Removing the IHS can lead to heat sink mounting issues though.
Move on to catch a glimpse of the specifications and features!