Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! £235

8th Feb 2011 | 14:01

Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!

The fastest mid-range Fermi around

TechRadar rating:

4.5 stars

Without doubt the finest example of GTX 560 Ti graphics cards, though our money's still on the HD 6950.

Like:

High clocks; Church-mouse quiet

Dislike:

No more OC headroom; Not a tessellation card

Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!: Overview

Nvidia's mid-range marvel has hit every branch on the way down the overclocking tree to produce Zotac's GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!

Now the origial GeForce GTX 560 Ti was a big hit when it first turned up last month. Tipping up with the same balance of price and performance as it's older sibling, the GeForce GTX 460, you could colour us impressed.

Unfortunately for Nvidia the market has changed since the GTX 460 first arrived, and that £200 pricepoint is more crowded than ever.

And the card that stands out of that crowd is AMD's Radeon HD 6950.

It's slightly more expensive than the £200 vanilla GTX 560 Ti, but it's got the DirectX 11 performance chops to make the mid-range Nvidia card even greener with envy.

One thing the HD 6950 can't do is overclock, as shown by the MSI Radeon HD 6950 Twin FrozR II. But the enhanced cooling and power design of the GTX 560 Ti means that is one area it can win on.

So how much more performance can you get out of an overclocked Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP?

Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!: Benchmarks

Zotac geforce gtx 560 ti amp!

The first two benchmarks demonstrate the DirectX 11 weaknesses of the mid-range Fermi GPUs. Despite the 'DX11 done right' moniker it's still lagging behind the twin tessellation engines of the Cayman GPU-powered Radeon cards.

That said, in legacy titles this massively overclocked Zotac GTX 560 Ti AMP! is significantly quicker than its AMD competition.

The benchmarks also show just how far ahead of the stock GTX 560 Ti this factory overclocked card is. That said when we pushed the reference board to its 935MHz limit we were hitting almost the same figures as the AMP!

DirectX 11 tessellation performance

Zotac geforce gtx 560 ti amp! - benchmarks

DirectX 11 gaming performance

Zotac geforce gtx 560 ti amp! - benchmarks

Zotac geforce gtx 560 ti amp! - benchmarks

We've tested at the highest resolution available to stress the cards to their fullest. The test bench is a Core i7 930 @ 2.8GHz, on an Asus P6X58D-E with 6GB 1,333Mhz DDR3.

Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!: Verdict

Zotac geforce gtx 560 ti amp!

The redesigned PCB and advanced cooling on Zotac's GTX 560 Ti AMP! edition means that straight out of the box it's hitting a massive 950MHz core clockspeed.

That's impressive given that with the vanilla reference GTX 560 Ti from Nvidia we could only just about hit a stable overclock at 935MHz.

Looking at Palit's overclocked GTX 560 Ti Sonic, that's only

That overclock makes it significantly faster than the reference board across the full suite of benchmark tests we run. It also means the card outperforms the reference Radeon HD 6950, and is actually snapping at the heels of the GeForce GTX 570.

That's a card that's nearly £50 more expensive.

Interestingly it's also trading blows with AMD's fastest single-GPU card, the Radeon HD 6970, in all but the tessellation-heavy DX11 benchmarks.

That's interesting in light of the unlocking you can currently do with the competing Radeon HD 6950's BIOS to transform it into a HD 6970.

The HD 6970 is still faster on the whole, and you can also overclock it further to push it past what even this GTX 560 Ti AMP! can do.

And this AMP! edition simply wont go any faster than it currently is. We tried.

At the 950Mhz core speed, and with the improved cooling, it's still hitting 90degreesC under load. With any further overclocking Zotac's GTX 560 Ti AMP! just fell at the first hurdle.

It looks like the mid-range Fermi silicon has already hit the wall in terms of performance, so the next generation will need a new design instead of reiterating on the existing hardware a third time.

The 2GB reference designed Radeon HD 6950, with its dual-BIOS safety net, is still our choice card at this pricepoint. Though it's entirely possible that newer versions of these cards will turn up sans BIOS switch, like the MSI Radeon HD 6950 Twin FrozR II.

And that will make the BIOS flash much more of a gamble.

But if you're more of an Nvidia fan, or just love PhysX, and you're looking for the finest example of its mid-range Fermi silicon, then this Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! is quite simply the fastest you'll find.

At £235 it's not bad value either.

We liked

The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! is lightening quick, trading blows with cards further up the price scale than it.

It's also remarkably quiet, despite the high heat generation of the overclocked chip.

Shallow as it is, especially for an internal component, it's also quite a looker…

We disliked

The mid-range Fermi architecture seems to have hit a bit of a performance barrier as we simply couldn't force any more speed out of this pre-overclocked GPU.

Where it counts in the high-end, tessellation-heavy DX11 benchmarks, it still loses out against the top two AMD pairing.

Final word

Without doubt the finest example of GTX 560 Ti graphics cards, though our money's still on the HD 6950.

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