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ASUS GeForce GTX 560 1GB DirectCU II TOP Video Card Review

ASUS slap the DirectCU II cooler on the new GTX 560 and give it a strong overclock. Let's find out just how strong it is.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, May 19 2011 4:31 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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I've become quite a fan of the new GTX 560 thanks to the aggressive price tag NVIDIA have chosen to go with. At $199 US it's a fantastic valued card and combined with the fact NVIDIA have let its partners go a little crazy straight away with the model helps make the launch more interesting than others.

Today we'll be looking at the ASUS version of the card which carries the DirectCU II label, which we know means we're going to be looking at an awesome cooler while the TOP label that's also present lets us know we're going to have quite the overclock out of the box.

Before we look at the kind of overclock ASUS are offering us today, let's first look at the package and then take a closer look at the card itself. Then we'll check out the specifications and get into the performance side of things to see just what the ASUS GTX 560 is bringing to the table.


Package

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Inside the box we've got a quick start guide and a CD which has our drivers and a bigger copy of the manual. In the cable department we've got two Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors, DVI to VGA and mini HDMI to HDMI convertor.

Card and Specifications


The Card

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Looking at the card, you can see that big dual fan DirectCU II cooler that looks great. This isn't the first time we've seen this DirectCU cooler, we saw a basic version of the cooler on the GTX 550 Ti and we've seen the monster DirectCU II version on the HD 6950 which is a triple slot version.

Fortunately, this one while carrying the dual fan setup is only a dual slot card and not a triple slot one. This is good news as it seems a little ridiculous to have a triple slot cooler on a mid-range card.

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Looking around the card, we can see we've got two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors at the back of the card, while closer to the front we've got a single SLI connector which means we can of course have two of these cards running together.

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On the connectivity side of things we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors and a single mini-HDMI port.


Specifications

On the core front the ASUS TOP version is the fastest GTX 560 we've dealt with so far coming in at 925MHz.

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As for the memory, that matches the Palit coming in at 4200MHz QDR. That card came with only a 900MHz core. ASUS have gone hard with this card and offered a strong overclock out of the box; it should hopefully yield some strong performance.

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 looking at the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP against the MSI Twin Frozr II OC which carried an 870MHz core and 4080MHz QDR memory clock. Along with that we've also got the MSI GTX 560 Ti, Sapphire HD 6790 and HD 6850 along with the AMD reference HD 6870.

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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Straight away we can see the very strong performance on offer from the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP. Hopefully it continues when we get into some games.

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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Looking at 3DMark Vantage, we again see some very strong performance from the GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP.

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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The ASUS GTX 560 offers us some great performance and you can see under this Tessellation heavy situation the card has no problem outperforming the HD 6870 which sits in a similar price bracket.

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 great performance from the ASUS GTX 560. You can see the strong overclock on offer actually brings performance quite close to the GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II card from MSI.

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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Looking at HAWX 2, performance is strong against the AMD competition which comes as no surprise thanks to the game enjoying NVIDIA cards a lot more than AMD ones.

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've got some great performance and you're not going to run into any problems with the GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP under Mafia II with these high in-game settings 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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The GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP is a really strong performing card, but you can see here under Lost Planet 2 the model, like most others, struggles to bring in what we would say is playable 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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Aliens vs. Predator, just like LP2 is extremely intensive and we can see only the GTX 560 Ti is able to break that 60 FPS barrier we aim for.

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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Under Street Fighter IV we've got some great performance with some massive FPS here. We again see that very strong performance when compared to the competition as well.

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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Like our other GTX 560 cards we've looked at, we continue to see some great performance under Far Cry 2.

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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As you would expect, we've got some fantastic performance under Batman AA with the card performing very similar to the GTX 560 Ti.

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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At 70c the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP runs warmer than the MSI offering, but cooler than the Palit one. It's no surprise that it runs a fair bit warmer than the MSI, though, because of the big clocks the card comes with when compared to it.

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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Coming in at below 65dB, noise levels are good from the DirectCU II which is exactly what we would expect from the ASUS cooler.

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 good at below 350 watt and it's actually a bit lower than the other GTX 560 cards we've looked at.

Final Thoughts




The ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP while being a bit of a tongue twister to say, is a fantastic version of the GTX 560. The decision to go with a 925MHz core and 4200MHz QDR memory clock means that the card is one of the fastest at launch and people wanting to enjoy the big overclock without the need to overclock yourself means the DirectCU II TOP version is indeed going to be an attractive option.

Of course, if you do want to overclock yourself this model is also a great option with Voltage Tweak ability available through ASUS' own overclocking software. With such a strong cooler also present on the card, you can feel confident in overclocking without the fear that you're going to damage the card.

The ASUS version we've looked at today offers something different to the other ones we've already looked at. MSI while having a slower clocked card have got something that runs nice and cool. Palit offer us something a bit faster than the MSI option that's also very quiet, but does come at the cost of a bit more heat.

The ASUS option we're looking at today runs a little louder than the other two cards, but offers more performance while being able to run slightly cooler than the Palit offering. You also get that Voltage Tweak ability thanks to Smart Doctor which means even more potential performance can be seen from the card.

Priced at $219.99 US, the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP sits 10% higher than the MSRP that NVIDIA have set for the model. That of course doesnt come as any kind of surprise, though, as weve got an awesome cooler and a very strong out of the box overclock.

The good news is, though, if you're more than happy to overclock yourself, the 850MHz core model from ASUS carries the same DirectCU II cooler, but only a $199.99 US price tag. The fact that ASUS has offered such a strong overclock on the TOP model means the extra $20 is more than justifiable, but there's always the option to save some money and overclock yourself while being able to make use of the fantastic DirectCU II cooler.

In the end, though, we've just got another fantastic GTX 560 that brings something a little different to the table which is exactly what you want to see when you look at multiple versions of the same model at launch.

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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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