MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II £160
1st Jul 2011 | 09:30
Military-grade graphics cards. It's what your granddad fought for…
With Nvidia giving carte blanche to manufacturers to produce cards based on the new GeForce GTX 560 with any core clock speed they like, it's no real surprise to see that the second version of the GTX 560 we were sent for review is another factory overclocked offering, following the lead of the other two cards on review here – the Gigabyte GV-56OC-1Gl and the Zotac GTX 560 AMP! Edition.
Okay, it's not quite any clockspeed the manufacturers want, as each GPU has to stick to the frequency limits of 810MHz and 950MHz and 2,002- 2,200MHz on the memory clock.
The MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II sits in between the Gigabyte and Zotac GTX 560 cards in terms of clockspeeds, but is considerably cheaper than the top Zotac card.
As with the other two cards, MSI's offering comes with a custom designed cooler, in this case the same Twin Frozr II heatsink and cooler that cools the GTX 560 Ti Frozr II. And to keep everything stable MSI has again used military class components in the power circuitry.
MSI hasn't gone overboard with the factory overclock in the N560GTX Twin Frozr II OC. Instead it has rather played on the safe side with the core running at 870MHz, just 60MHz above the lowest level Nvidia has set for the GPU, while the memory runs well within the specifications at 1,020MHz (4.08GHz effective).
Just one look at the cooling on the card, though, gives you the impression that it's good for a fair bit more tweaking than that and so it proved. Our review sample was able to run stably with a core speed of 925MHz, another 75MHz on top of what MSI gave it, while the memory got up to 1,069MHz (4.2GHz).
There's no doubt with a bit more tinkering with the card's voltage it could go even faster, maybe even up to the Zotac card's pace.
DX11 tessellation performance (1080p)
Heaven 2.5: Frames per second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTX 560 Ti: 26.5
Zotac GeForce GTX 560 AMP!: 24.8
MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II: 22.8
Gigabyte GV-56-OC-1GI: 21.6
Nvidia GTX 460: 17.4
DX11 gaming performance (1080p)
AvP: Frames per second: Higher is better
Nvidia GTX 560 Ti: 37.2
Zotac GeForce GTX 560 AMP!: 34.5
MSI N560GTX Twin Frozr II: 31.7
Gigabyte GV-56-OC-1GI: 27.7
Nvidia GTX 460: 24.7
Helping to keep the board cool, and stable while overclocking, is the combination of a very effective cooler and the use of high grade components in the power circuitry.
The cooler uses MSI's SuperPipe technology, which comprises four heatpipes (two 8mm and two 6mm) to take the heat away from the copper contact plate. It then goes through into the multi-finned aluminium heatsink where it's cooled by a couple of 80mm low profile PWM fans.
Even some of the power regulation components have their own aluminium heatsink and talking of all things power, MSI has used SFC (Super Ferrite Choke), Hi-C and solid capacitors to make the power side of things as bullet proof as it can.
MSI has played quite a blinder with the N560GTX Twin Frozr II. It has plenty of overclocking potential, helped in no small part by the well-designed Twin Frozr II cooling system, and the use of very high quality components in the power design means that you should be able to push voltages up too.
Perhaps the most impressive thing, though, is that it all comes with a very reasonable price tag. With some judicious tweaking you may hit the heady heights that the more expensive Zotac card manages.
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