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Asus GTX 560 Ti 448 Core DirectCU II review

An early graphical Christmas pressie from Nvidia and Asus

GTX 560 ti 448

In older titles the extra graphical hardware in the GF 110 GPU doesn't really add up to a huge boost in performance between the vanilla and 448 core versions of the GTX 560 Ti. When you look at the DirectX 10 Just Cause 2 we saw between 10-13% boost over the older card.

For the extra cash that's no great shakes, but when you look at more recent or more taxing titles, like Crysis 2 or Metro 2033, then things start to look more impressive.

In Crysis, in its full high-res texture and DirectX 11 glory, we saw improvements of 20%. That's in both the more standard 1080P resolution and at the eye-popping res of 2560x1600.

In Metro, while it still couldn't get above a single frame per second at 2560x1600, we managed to get almost a 50% boost in frame rates at 1920x1080 with 4x anti-aliasing – a notorious resource hog.

Part of the reason for this improvement at the higher resolutions is the extra graphics memory and the wider 320-bit bus.

The only issue, hardware-wise, is the knowledge that this is very much a stop-gap part.

It's a limited edition part because Nvidia is trying to ship out as much of its outstanding high-end chips as possible. If that means making them cheaper without impacting on the sales of the full high-end cards then that's alright.

The shelf-life then is limited as once this batch of GPUs has gone there wont be any more manufactured.

Nvidia is currently working on its range of next-gen Kepler graphics cards, which ought to come to light sometime Spring 2012. So that's its main focus right now.

AMD will also have its next generation of cards out early 2012 too, probably before Nvidia.

While it's always the case that the new range of faster cards is practically just around the corner, it still makes it tough to drop £250 on a card when that same money will probably get you much more in a very short space of time.

But still, you are getting a bit of kit that's only just shy of the excellent GTX 570.

And this Asus version is one hell of a proposition too.

It's redesigned PCB and power layout means that the Asus GTX 560 Ti 448 Core DirectCU II (phew) is an overclocking powerhouse too.

We pushed the GPU clockspeed up to the levels of the GTX 560 Ti (immediately surpassing the stock speed of the GTX 570 in the process) without the card breaking a sweat. The Asus GTX 560 Ti 448 Core actually topped out just over the 900MHz mark, a cool 170MHz over the stock clocks.

That overclocking prowess means it's also capable of taking on the vanilla Nvidia GTX 570 in a straight pixel-pushing fight.

The only down-side of the this Asus design is that, thanks to the chunky cooling solution allowing that insane overclocking, it's a triple-slot card. And that means you're going to need a likewise chunky case to house it.

The big issue though for this, effectively, slightly cut-down GeForce GTX 570 is that you can actually pick up a full GTX 570 for only a little more than the price of this hobbled version.

The enhanced cooling gives it a bit of an edge, but the triple slot GTX 570 DirectCU II is available for only £259. And that's the card we'd recommend over this one.

We liked

The fact you are getting a slightly cut-down GTX 570 for a little more than a standard GTX 560 Ti has to be a positive thing.

Coupled with the fact that Asus sure can design a graphics card's cooler, making for overclocking nirvana, makes that doubly so.

We disliked

As we've said, the only real issue with the hardware is the sheer size of that triple slot cooler. You will need a big chassis to give you space for everything else in your rig.

The major problem though is that it's too expensive considering you can pick up an actual GTX 570 for only a little bit more

Final word

A cooling masterclass by Asus, but the real GTX 570 can be picked up for around £260-odd.