MSI N560GTX-448 Twin Frozr III Power Edition ReviewRHKCommander959 - November 29, 2011
Category: Video Cards
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NVIDIA is releasing a new GTX 560 Ti variant much like they did last generation with the GTX 260s. The new GTX 560 Ti has a GF110 core rather than the GF114 used before. Two stream multiprocessor clusters have been disabled out of 16 available meaning the card has 448 CUDA cores (14 clusters with 32 processors in each). This core is also used on the GTX 570 which has one cluster disabled and the GTX 580 with all 16 enabled. Consumers may find it frustrating figuring out which card is which since NVIDIA seems to enjoy mixing things up but this lineup is supposedly a limited run for enthusiasts. Some will appreciate that this card supports 3-way SLI versus the original GTX 560 Ti which could only do 2-way. This GTX 560 Ti 448 should be better than the GTX 560 Ti 384 and both are better than the GTX 560 performance-wise. Since the core is now a GF110 performance should be very close to the level of a GTX 570. Memory and memory bus size has been increased to 1280MB and 320bit just like the GTX 570 while the prior GTX 560 Ti had 1024MB memory and a 256bit memory bus.
MSI has taken this new revision and overclocked it on a custom PCB with 2 extra PWM phases for the core. As well as a total of 6+1 phase PWM and military grade components. Reference clocks are 732 MHz core and 950 MHz memory while the MSI is at 750 MHz core and 975 MHz memory clock speeds. This design is named the Power Edition for the upgraded power delivery methods. The Military Class II components include Super Ferrite Chokes, Solid Capacitors, and High-Conductivity Capacitors. The card is cooled by the MSI Twin Frozr III high density heat sink which has five heat pipes and two 80mm fans equipped. The copper base of the heat sink is nickel coated to improve conductivity and prevent corrosion. With all of these features I can't wait to start overclocking it!
The box is black, blue, and gray primarily. The MSI logo is at the top left and a profile view of the card with frost on it are on every side of the box except the back. The front of the box highlights many of the primary features — 3-year warranty in USA, Canada, and Mexico, triple overvoltage design for use with MSI Afterburner, 6+1 phase PWM design, OC Power Edition, 448 CUDA cores, 1280MB of GDDR5, Military Class II components, and 3D Vision ready. Flipping over to the back side shows the features, product specifications, and minimum system requirements. There are four primary specifications translated into 29 languages on the right half of the box. The features include DirectX 11 support, NVIDIA CUDA technology with CUDA C/C++, DirectCompute 5.0 and OpenCL support, NVIDIA Tri-SLI and 3D Vision ready, and NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology. The card has two dual-link DVI-I connectors and one mini-HDMI with an adapter to full-sized HDMI. The minimum requirements are an open x16 PCI Express slot, two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors, minimum 550W or greater power supply with a minimum 12V current rating of 38A, an Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon XP processor or higher, 200MB of free drive space, 2GB system memory (4GB recommended), Windows XP/Vista/7, and a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive.
The front of the box is a flap, opening this up gives a glimpse of the card and gives more in-depth information on some of its features. The top flap talks about performance and cooling features while the bottom focuses on the heat sink itself. The card should be capable of strong overclocking due to the triple overvoltage capabilities — the GPU core, memory, and PLL voltage can all be increased for higher overclock speeds using MSI Afterburner. The 6+1 Phase PWM design can provide up to 40% more power over the reference GTX 560 Ti phase design. The Military Class II components provide increased efficiency and stability, lifespan, and lower temperatures. Located on the PCB is a switch that users can toggle to change fan operation from cooling performance- or quietness-focused. The bottom area under the flap shows that the custom propeller blade fans move up to 22.55 CFM and generate up to 20% more airflow in comparison to the traditional fan impeller design. At full load the fans generate only 30 dB and idle around 18.68 dB which is pretty quiet. The heat sink uses five heat pipes connected to a nickel-plated copper base for optimal thermal transfer. In the center of this area is a window showing a glimpse of the fans and heat sink.
The side flap continues the same decorations as the rest of the box. This side is where most manufacturers put a barcode label that identifies the card by serial, UPC, and EAN codes. Opening the flap up shows the card protected by form-fitted foam, blue plastic caps over the connections, and a standard antistatic bag. A compartment nearby holds a DVI to VGA adapter, one mini HDMI to regular HDMI adapter, and the two 6-pin PCI Express to double male Molex power adapters for those whose power supply doesn't have enough 6-pin connectors stock. Underneath the foam is a quick start guide, user guide, and driver disk. The blue plastic caps help keep the contacts from being accidentally marred and to help against corrosion — certain metals will tarnish even from grease on a finger so these help keep dust and dirt from disturbing their conductivity!
With the card out of the box it is time to move on and get a better look at it.