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Palit GeForce GTX 560 Sonic Platinum Video Card Review

NVIDIA launch a new 500 series card to sit between the GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 Ti. We look at the GTX 560.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, May 17 2011 7:52 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Palit

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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It's easy to be mistaken that we're looking at a card that we've already seen for a while, but the GTX 560 is just that, a GTX 560. Unlike the models either side of it, this one doesn't carry the Ti prefix that we've seen from NVIDIA lately.

I suppose in the older days we would've had the GTX 560 and today we would be looking at the GTX 560 "SE". Instead, the decision for NVIDIA to add the well-known Ti tag that we saw many years ago means they're able to greet a more basic model in a particular series without it.

The biggest problem is when we've seen these deviations from the initial launch model, they've never delivered quite like we had hoped. So the question we ask ourselves today is; will the GTX 560 go against the trend and be a stand out model?

With full freedom given to partners at launch, we're seeing some pretty cool looking models straight away that carry some nice looking cooling solutions and some impressive clocks.

Before we get into the performance side of things, though, and find out just how the new GTX 560 sits in the market, we'll first check out the package that Palit has put together. Once that's done we'll have a closer look at the card and then we'll be checking out the specifications to see exactly what we're dealing with.


Package

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Looking at the bundle that Palit has put together, it's pretty bare, with only three items included. We've got a quick installation guide, driver CD and a dual Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E power connector.

Overall, the limited package isn't a surprise; Palit are generally a bit lighter than others when it comes to the bundle and the fact it's a mid-range card means that the bundle is going to be generally lighter than the higher end models we look at.

Card and Specifications


The Card

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Looking at the card, you're not really going to be seeing anything that you haven't seen before. We've seen Palit use this cooler design on previous mid-range models and overall there's not much else to see outside of that looking front on.

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Looking around the rest of the card, we've got two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back of the card. Closer to the front we've got a single SLI connector and connectivity comes in the form of HDMI, Dual-Link DVI and VGA.


Specifications

Specifications between the GTX 560 and GTX 560 Ti are very similar; both cards offer 32 ROPs and 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit memory bus. The main difference between the two cards is the Shaders with the Ti variant offering 384 and the plain GTX 560 we're looking at today carrying 336.

In the clocks department we're going to see that most companies opt to offer a pre overclock model with their own custom cooling solution. This isn't unusual as we've seen this a lot from NVIDIA partners and recent mid-range releases.

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Comparing the clocks of the Palit GTX 560 Sonic Platinum to the GTX 560 Ti Sonic, they're actually exactly the same. The core comes in at 900MHz, which means the Shader clock comes in at 1800MHz and the 1GB of GDDR5 carries a clock of 4100MHz QDR.

As for the reference clocks, if we see any cards that carry them we should see a core clock of 810MHz, Shader clock of 1620MHz and the 1GB of GDDR5 should come in at an even 4000MHz QDR.

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.

Today we'll be checking out the Palit GTX 560 1GB against the GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 Ti from NVIDIA. Against AMD cards, we'll be looking at the HD 6790, HD 6850 and HD 6870.

Being a mid-range card, we'll be looking at our more mid-range orientated tests which mean we'll be testing at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. It will be interesting to see how the new GTX 560 sits not only between the two NVIDIA cards either side of it, but also the AMD line-up.

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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Due to the strong overclock on offer from the Palit GTX 560, you can see it actually comes out a little ahead of the GTX 560 Ti from MSI in this instance. We also see it win out against the AMD line-up of cards, although it is close between the GTX 560 and HD 6870 at the X preset.

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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Under 3DMark Vantage it comes as no surprise that the NVIDIA cards come out ahead of the AMD ones. Comparing the GTX 560 and GTX 560 Ti, though, we see that the GTX 560 does fall behind the Ti in this instance. You can see the GTX 560 leans a lot closer to the GTX 560 Ti, though, instead of the GTX 550 Ti.

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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Looking at Heaven performance, we see NVIDIA tessellation performance is very strong and the GTX 560 has no problem taking on the HD 6870. We also continue to see that the performance of the GTX 560 indeed leans a lot closer to the GTX 560 Ti than it does the GTX 550 Ti.

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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Getting into some games, we see some strong performance from the GTX 560. We see it manages to outperform the HD 6870 at both resolutions and fall only behind the GTX 560 Ti.

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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HAWX 2 performance is strong for the NVIDIA offerings, but you can see that while the GTX 560 Sonic Platinum does sit between the Ti variants again, it's a lot closer to the GTX 550 Ti in this case.

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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Under Mafia II we're seeing some great performance; we've got playable FPS at both resolutions and we see again that the model is able to outperform the HD 6870 at both 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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We see some strong performance from the GTX 560 Sonic Platinum under Lost Planet 2, but we're a little shy of that 60 FPS average we want to achieve. You can see that the only card that's able to break that 60 FPS mark is the GTX 560 Ti at 1680 x 1050 and even then it's only by a single FPS.

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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The results here are almost identical to Lost Planet 2; we've got some good performance from the GTX 560 Sonic Platinum, but we do just fall shy of that 60 FPS average we want to see, especially at 1680 x 1050.

Like Lost Planet 2, we again see only one card is breaking that 60 FPS average and that's the GTX 560 Ti. In this case, though, it manages to be 2 FPS over it.

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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No surprise under SF IV that the performance is very strong. We continue to see that the GTX 560 Sonic Platinum performance is a lot closer to the GTX 560 Ti than it is the GTX 550 Ti.

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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Far Cry 2 performance is very strong and you can see we've got no problem with performance at both resolutions which is great.

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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We can see under Batman AA that performance is very strong at both resolutions and you're not going to have any problem playing Batman AA at any resolution with this card.

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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For a while we've seen this trend with Palit cards where they do run a bit warmer than others due to the fact that the company has opted for a quieter solution instead. We do see that the GTX 560 does run a little warmer at 73c, but it's not a worrying figure.

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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Noise levels are good coming in at below 60 dB, making it a very silent solution under load.

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 isn't anything out of the ordinary, hovering just above the mid 300 mark. You're not going to have problems running a card like this with a nice quality 500 Watt power supply; something like the Corsair builder series would be perfect.

Final Thoughts




The GTX 560 Sonic Platinum from Palit is a strong performing card; I would go as far as to say it performs better than I thought it would. Of course, I knew the card would indeed sit between the GTX 550 Ti and GTX 560 Ti, but I didn't think the model would lean so close to the GTX 560 Ti.

Compared to the HD 6870 the model also continues to pull out the win. Sure, the Palit GTX 560 comes with a strong overclock versus the HD 6870, but it's important to know that NVIDIA partners seem to have a lot more freedom when it comes to launching new mid-range models.

When it comes to price, the GTX 560 will come in at $199 US. Of course, these overclocked ones will come in slightly higher, but even at $209 to $219 US the price to performance ratio is extremely strong on the card. Considering the HD 6870 is around the $199 US mark, the GTX 560 is a very strong performing alternative. The large appeal to the GTX 560, though, is the range of coolers and overclocks you're going to get today which is going to help the model stand out against the competition.

Priced at $30 - $50 cheaper than the GTX 560 Ti with only slightly less performance, this is a really attractive option for people who want to spend around the $200 mark. NVIDIA hope this is the card that users of the 9800 GT will upgrade to, which has been an extremely strong model for NVIDIA.

Not only by going from a 9800 GT to the GTX 560 will you get some really nice extra performance, but you're going to get all those yummy features that have been introduced over the last few generations too.

Getting specific on the Palit version of the card, design wise it's not too unusual to cards other mid-range offerings we've seen from them lately. Connectivity is a little lacking to some of their other cards where they've chosen to implement DisplayPort and multiple DVI ports, but at the right price the connectivity is fine and considering NVIDIA are launching at the $199 US mark, it's a strong offering from both Palit and NVIDIA.

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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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