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Palit GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic Video Card in SLI Review

It's time to see what happens when we put two of these new mid-range beasts together. Let's check out the GTX 560 Ti in SLI.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Feb 2 2011 8:30 AM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Palit

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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Already impressed with what a single GTX 560 Ti is able to offer, it seemed like it was time to see what two of them did for us. For a long time we've known SLI scaling has been excellent and the GTX 460 in SLI was just an absolute beast of a combination, as you had two cards that offered more performance than a single GTX 480, while at the same time offering it at a cheaper price.

The particular cards we're dealing with are some 900MHz clocked ones in the form of the Palit GTX 560 Ti Sonic. Since we haven't looked at the card from Palit, we'll be of course looking at what's going on in the package department first up.

Once that's done, we'll take a closer look at the card itself, cover the out of the box clocks that Palit are offering and also double check that SLI is up and running. Once that's done it's time to get into the fun stuff and see what kind of performance we've got on offer from the setup.

We'll be comparing the setup today to a number of AMD Crossfire setups, so it'll be indeed interesting to see what kind of performance NVIDIA is able to offer us. First, though, we have to get stuck into the package.


Package

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No surprises with a fairly bare package; you can see everything is fairly self-explanatory.

Card and Specifications


The Card

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Looking at the card, we've got that dual fan setup that we've seen from Palit before and also from Gainward in their Golden Sample version of the card. Of course, Palit opt for those orange fans and like most people, I have to say that we're not really loving the color. Fortunately, once they're in your system you probably won't really see them.

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Doing the quick once over on the card, we've got two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors towards the back of the card, while closer to the front we've got a single SLI one. Connectivity is offered in the form of two Dual-Link DVI ports along with a single HDMI and VGA one.


Specifications

Being a Sonic card means that out of the box we've got an overclock. As you can see, we've got a 900MHz core which translates into a 1800MHz Shader clock. On the memory front we see a slight bump which sees the 1GB of GDDR5 come in at 4200MHz QDR.

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Across the bottom you can see our little SLI section and as you can see, we've got it enabled and it's working with two GPUs.

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.

Compared to how we've tested the other GTX 560 Ti cards to date, we'll be mixing it up here slightly. We'll continue to have the single card setups which include the GTX 570, GTX 580, HD 6950 and HD 6970. We'll also be including both HD 6900 series cards in Crossfire to see how the setup compares to our SLI setup.

Let's get started!


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




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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Under 3DMark 11 we can see that the gains over the single card are very strong. Compared to the AMD offerings, though, we see that it lags a little behind. No surprise, though, since we've seen AMD cards perform a little better under 3DMark 11.

3DMark Vantage




Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




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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Getting into Vantage, we see some excellent performance. We're way ahead of the AMD offerings here as well due to the PhysX advantage under Vantage.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



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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Getting into some tessellation heavy benchmarks, we continue to see those very strong gains. In SLI we're seeing similar performance to the HD 6950 CF setup. Well above the GTX 580, though, priced at a similar level.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5


Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




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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RE5 we see strong gains again, especially at the higher resolution. Compared to the AMD offerings you can see we're ahead at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 by a good margin; we only fall a little behind at 2560 x 1600.

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: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/




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 performances is strong for NVIDIA cards and we see both a good gain over the single card setups and the Crossfire AMD setups.

Benchmarks - Mafia II


Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




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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Across the board Mafia II sees some excellent gains. More importantly, though, our performance is well above that 60 FPS average we aim for. Against the AMD offerings we can see that the SLI GTX 560 setup pulls off the win against both at all resolutions.

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: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




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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Lost Planet 2 continues the trend with good performance gains. More importantly, though, we've got playable FPS at all resolutions and not only numbers that represent just playable, but ones that represent the game should run extremely smooth.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




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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Aliens vs. Predator doesn't paint any different a picture to what we've already seen. The most important information, though, is that we're hitting 60 FPS or more at all resolutions which is great.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV


Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




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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We continue to see those big numbers under SF IV, but it's always surprising to see such strong gains under a game that is already giving such high FPS.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




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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Big numbers and silky smooth performance no matter what resolution you're playing. Compared to the AMD offering, we can see it's a little back and forth, the most important note is that our performance is silky smooth, though.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum


Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





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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Across the board we've got great numbers that translate into smooth performance on any monitor.

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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We continue to see those big gains when cranking up the detail, but the most important piece of information to take out of these numbers is that we've got playable numbers in every test here, which is great considering how intensive both Mafia II and Aliens vs. Predator is.

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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Getting into PhysX tests, we see some good gains, but not those 100% ones that have shown their face as we've gone along. Our Mafia II numbers are good, though, and really are absolute borderline playable at 1920 x 1200. Not quite the same issue for Batman AA, though, which performs strong.

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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In SLI the cards of course run a bit warmer, but the heat's not too bad. We can actually see the HD 6900s run a bit warmer, which is something worth noting.

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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At load the noise levels sit towards the top of the pack. This seems to be the cost of those cooler numbers.

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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Power draw is high, but it's not at a worrying level - A good quality around the 750 Watt to 800 Watt would be recommended. Of course, if you can get more there's nothing wrong with that.

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 performance is very strong and we can see under our TPR graph it's almost identical to the HD 6850 CF setup. The main reason the GTX 560 Ti SLI setup falls back a little is because of the 3DMark 11 score. In games it's a bit more back and forth.

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 Newegg.com. 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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Value for the setup is strong; cheaper than the HD 6900 CF setups and similar performance. Bang for buck, these are a great option.

Final Thoughts




Talking about the Palit GTX 560 Ti Sonic on its own, we're dealing with another good version of the series. Palit like everyone has come out hard and fast and it's great to see that they've opted for the 900MHz core. It's just nice to get away from the 800MHz mark.

The cooler seems to do a good job and considering we tested in SLI the numbers the cooler gives us are still very impressive; more impressive than what we're seeing out of the HD 6900 series which are indeed a warmer card than people had hoped. They're not as bad as the GTX 400 series, but not quite the AMD we've grown used to in the last few generations.

On the topic of performance, by itself we can expect the same kind of performance as the Gainward card which carries with it the same clocks, and in a nutshell that's good performance. On the topic of SLI, the performance is strong, very strong in some cases. The most important piece of information to take out of the performance, though, is the fact we've got playable numbers across the board. When it all comes down to it, that's the most important thing when it comes to deciding what you should buy.

So do you go down the path of SLI GTX 560 Ti cards or the AMD offerings? Well, for performance the HD 6970 is the better option. It's not a lot better, but across the board it's faster and that can't be denied. The problem is that's a more expensive setup, and it's like people comparing the GTX 580 to the HD 6970.

So it comes down to the HD 6950 2GB in CF and these cards. Again, you'd have to lean towards these because the price is cheaper and performance between both setups is very similar.

You really feel the tables have turned. In the past you would have this stronger performance from NVIDIA setups, but AMD would hold the value card. NVIDIA now hold the value card it seems, and performance between the setups? Well, the GTX 560 Ti is priced at the HD 6870 level, but competing at HD 6950 levels, what's not to love?

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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