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GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB SOC Video Card

NVIDIA release a new model and we want to know one thing - Can the GTX 560 Ti impress us like the GTX 460? It has big shoes to fill.

Manufacturer: GIGABYTE
18 minute read time


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You throw the x60 name on a new video card these days and you're going to expect big things from it. Let's be honest, I was going to say that the GTX 460 kicked ass, but we shouldn't be using past tense. Instead, the GTX 460 kicks ass.

It offered great performance from the second we saw the model. Sure, lots of cards offer great performance; look at the GTX 580, but that model carries with it quite a large price tag, like most high end cards do. The GTX 460 broke the mold, especially for NVIDIA, a company we tend to expect to pay more for when compared to its AMD competition who seems to focus strongly on value.

We saw it all from day one as well with the model; strong out of the box overclocks, awesome custom cooling designs and heaps of potential when it came to overclocking even further. When we got word that the GTX 560 Ti was coming, the first thing I thought was; is the card going to be as much of a game changer as the GTX 460 was?

Before I even tested it, though, I knew it wouldn't be. It couldn't be. While the GTX 460 was being looked at against the GTX 470 and GTX 480 which were plagued with problems in the sense of heat and noise, the GTX 570 and GTX 580 don't have that problem. They're significantly cooler running and quieter than their predecessors.

The GTX 560 Ti ultimately has two jobs to do; one is to help make sure that NVIDIA offer a broad range of pricing options for people wanting to get into the GTX 500 series, while the other is to lay the smack down on AMD. Priced under $250, the model clearly sits well with the GTX 570 costing $100 more, and the GTX 580 costing another $150 more on top of the GTX 570 for a price tag that's pretty much double of the GTX 560.

So there's only one more question; can it lay the smack down on AMD? Well, before we tell you that, let's check out the card itself that GIGABYTE is offering us. Once that's done we'll get into the fun stuff that we call benchmarking.

Because we got the card nice and early from GIGABYTE, we didn't get a package, so instead we'll be just getting stuck straight into the card itself on the next page. Quickly, though, we do know what's inside the package. We've got a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, DVI to VGA adapter and two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors. We would assume the normal line-up of paperwork and the standard driver CD is there as well.

Card and Specifications

The Card

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Looking at the card, you're not going to see anything that you haven't really seen before. Since the card falls in as part of the SOC series, it uses custom cooling and in this case it's the Windforce cooler which I can honestly say has impressed us. It's a great cooler that's performed very well on every model we've seen GIGABYTE use it on. Hopefully it'll impress us on the new mid-range offering; the GTX 560 Ti.

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Looking around the card, you'll find two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back. Moving closer to the front, we have a single SLI connector. That means only a maximum of two GTX 560 Ti SOCs can be used together.

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Connectivity is the same as other GTX 500 series cards we've looked at; this means we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a mini HDMI port. The top half of the bracket has vents which of course let the hot air escape.


Being part of the SOC series, or Super Overclock series, the GIGABYTE GTX 560 Ti is of course overclocked quite heavily out of the box. Before we get into those clocks, let's just quickly cover some of the main specifications that surround a reference GTX 560 Ti.

The clocks on a reference GTX 560 Ti are 822MHz on the core; this brings the Shader clock in at 1644MHz. The card carries with it 1GB of GDDR5 memory that will come with a clock of 4000MHz QDR.

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GIGABYTE has bumped the core up to a nice round sounding and massive 1000MHz. This means that the Shader clock comes in at 2000MHz. As for the 1GB of GDDR5, they've bumped that up to 4580MHz QDR. These are some serious clock speeds and we should see some fantastic performance from the model when we start to test it.

Being part of the SOC series means that the PCB itself has a few extra features including voltage check points for all the important areas. You've also got access to the OC Guru software that lets you adjust the voltage of the core and memory, while also showing you a whole lot of other little extras.

Before we get into the performance, let's just cover some of the main specifications that will cover all GTX 560 Ti cards. The card carries with it 384 Stream Processors; this compares to the GTX 460 1GB which had 336 and the GTX 570 1280MB which has 480. Like the GTX 460, the GTX 560 Ti carries the same 256-bit memory bus which is lower than the GTX 570s 320-bit bus.

The GTX 560 Ti will seem to only have a 1GB model. We know that the cheaper 768MB version that NVIDIA offered the GTX 460 in didn't do very well, although it carried with it very good performance still and at a cheaper price tag.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

We've got an absolute heap of cards in our graphs today including its big brothers; the GTX 570 and GTX 580 both from MSI. We've also got the ole' faithful GTX 460; in this case the Black Edition from ECS.

AMD has also got representation with the HD 6970 and HD 6950. Normally what we would do, though, is leave it at that, but because GIGABYTE has overclocked the card so heavily, we've also included our HD 6900 overclocked results.

These results were achieved with MSI Afterburner and involved a voltage bump. Because of the big overclock, though, we thought it to be fair to add these cards into the mix to give people an idea of what an overclocked HD 6900 series card is capable of when compared to the SOC GTX 560 Ti.

Let's get started!

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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In our first test we can see just how close this GTX 560 Ti performs against the GTX 570. At the higher X preset you can see there's only a few points between the two cards. Compared to the AMD offerings, it sits closer to the HD 6950 in this case.

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
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3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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With PhysX we see the GTX 560 Ti get some great performance. We again see how close it is to the reference GTX 570 with it actually coming out ahead at the X preset.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Tessellation performance is of course strong for the model, performing around the same as the HD 6970. At the higher resolution we can again see that the GTX 560 Ti and reference GTX 570 perform quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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Getting into some games, we continue to see that great performance from the model. The card continues to be right next to the GTX 570 and battles it out against the HD 6970, falling only just a little behind at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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H.A.W.X. 2 demands good tessellation performance and does favor NVIDIA cards which sees it really dominate the AMD offerings. Compared to the GTX 570, there's very little difference between the two cards.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Here we can see that the GTX 570 performs slightly behind the GTX 560 Ti. To be honest, it's not a surprise as in the GIGABYTE press kit they did say it was capable of beating the GTX 570. This is some great performance, though; it's just a pity we're 2 FPS away from that magical 60 FPS number we like to see at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Under Lost Planet 2 we see the GTX 560 Ti fall probably the furthest behind the GTX 570. Fortunately we've got that 60 FPS average at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200; an average that the HD 6900s can't achieve at any resolution.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Under Aliens vs Predator we again continue to see some strong performance. Again it's a little further behind the GTX 570, but not by a huge amount. Unfortunately we're falling under that 60 FPS average again here at 1920 x 1200. A minor detail change would bring that number up also, though,

Aliens vs. Predator time demo is considered more intensive than most of the games, so for the most part you shouldn't have any issue.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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Under Street Fighter IV we see good performance which puts it ahead of all the AMD offerings including when they're overclocked. Not that it really matters; such big numbers across the board as it is.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
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Product Homepage:
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The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Under Far Cry 2 we again see that the GTX 560 Ti manages to outperform the GTX 570. We see it also manages to outperform all the AMD offerings including when they're overclocked.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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Big numbers for Batman AA like Far Cry 2, again. We see the GTX 560 Ti SOC is out performing the GTX 570 again in this instance.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

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Across the board you can see both the GTX 570 and GTX 560 Ti are really battling it out. We've got some good numbers in Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2. Aliens vs. Predator is low as usual, as it's super intensive, and Mafia II is right on the edge of that 60 FPS mark. We could probably drop the AF down slightly and get that number lifted.

Benchmarks - PhysX Tests

PhysX Tests

Here we're able to find out when PhysX is turned on in games that support it what kind of frame rates we're able to get. We always set PhysX to the highest possible in game settings while also keeping detail at its highest.

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GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB SOC Video Card 36

Mafia II struggles to get 60 FPS at any resolution. Batman AA on the other hand gets 30 FPS or better in the minimum department, which actually puts it ahead of the GTX 570.

Temperature Test

Temperature Tests

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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The Windforce cooler continues not to disappoint with the card running at a very cool 63c when under load; a number lower than the HD 6900 offerings.

Sound Test

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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It's nice to know those cool temps aren't coming at the cost of noise with the card sitting around the middle of the pack.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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At just under 400 watt you shouldn't have any real dramas running the card on a good 600 Watt PSU. It's interesting that the power draw at load, though, is slightly higher than the GTX 570. Not really an issue, but interesting none the less.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and AMD are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark 11, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2, Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

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Overall the performance is very strong and you can see it's pretty much identical to a reference HD 6970. The overclocked HD 6970s and GTX 570 manage to pull ahead a bit because of the larger 3DMark 11 score, which is of course a few hundred points higher.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

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WOW! The super aggressive price tag on the GTX 560 Ti SOC from GIGABYTE and its strong performance means it's the best valued card we've tested since we've updated our benchmark line-up.

Final Thoughts

This is a killer card! Sure, we're dealing with the SOC version of the new GTX 560 Ti, but it puts out some unreal results and while it carries a slightly larger price tag than the reference one at $269, the performance it offers means that the card still has no problem topping the TPR charts.

The big question is, how does AMD come back against this? You've got a card that really offers HD 6970 performance, at HD 6870 prices. We know the company can't offer a HD 6930; the bottom line is it wouldn't sell as we know the "30" naming scheme doesn't work, much like the "768MB" version of the GTX 460.

The problem isn't so much what AMD does with the HD 6950 price, but what they do with the HD 6970 price. The problem is, NVIDIA have kind of done what they did with the GTX 460. When that was released, to really combat AMD and hit them hard with performance and price, they sacrificed the GTX 465. The model literally disappeared overnight.

They've done something similar with the GTX 560; not quite as severe, though, in this case. To fight AMD they've really hurt the GTX 570s overall value. The GTX 580 which looks slightly worse in value now, while not great, is irrelevant, because it's still the fastest single GPU card on the market.

The big problem for AMD is that they've got a card priced around one level, but competes against a card two levels higher. If the GTX 560 Ti and HD 6950 went at it, then a price drop on the HD 6950 to help square out the value would be an easy option while leaving the HD 6970 alone. Really, though, the HD 6970 and GTX 560 Ti are very close to each other.

Of course, you can flash that HD 6950 to a HD 6970 at the moment it seems, and there seems to be very little risk. At the same time, flashing a card is a level higher than just overclocking and it's something that people are going to be less confident in doing.

NVIDIA took us down the path of memory lane by bring back that "Ti" tag, AMD might have to go to the drawing board and bring us a HD 6950 XT and HD 6970 XT to replace the current cards, as it seems like a $50 price drop on both models would do nothing but pi** AMD buyers off.

You do have to wonder a bit how NVIDIA are going with the profit margins on these cards, as it seems like a lot of performance for the price. Is it just another sacrifice they're making for the moment, though, so the company can gain back the momentum they had in early 2009.

It doesn't matter how you look at it, though, you've got a card priced at $269 that offers us a default clock of 1000MHz, great temperatures and noise levels, but more importantly, awesome performance that really paints a strong picture when it comes to our "Total Value Rating" graph.

AMD have improved tessellation performance and Crossfire scaling is excellent; the problem is NVIDIA continue to slightly have the edge in tessellation, and SLI scaling has always been better, where now it's just even. NVIDIA haven't gotten worse; it's just that AMD have gotten better, and to be honest, neither company can improve it really with 100% gains not being all that uncommon.

The problem is when you look at the GTX 560 Ti SOC and ask yourself what this card can do to make you buy it over the competition? A very small percentage of people would say 'offer the ability to run three screens off the card'. On the other hand, if you ask yourself what can the HD 6900 series do to make me buy it over the competition? The first thing that comes to mind is 'be cheaper'.

At $100 more, the HD 6970 is in trouble. At $20 - $30 more than the GTX 560 Ti SOC, it would seem that the HD 6950 is also in trouble. It would seem the ball is clearly in AMDs court; now we have to see how they respond.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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