NVIDIA has finally unleashed the full potential of the GF114 GPU with all eight Streaming Multiprocessors enabled – in the form of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Clocked signifcantly faster than its predecessor, is this new kid on the block ready to take over?
Last year, the launch of the GeForce GTX 460 to address the needs of most gamers sparked a NVIDIA comeback. Prior to the GeForce GTX 460, the GF100 chipset – NVIDIA’s only DirectX 11 part then, had poor performance-to-watt ratio. The modified GF104 chipset, which the GeForce GTX 460 was based on, had much better performance-to-watt ratio and offered excellent overclocking headroom. That prompted many of NVIDIA’s partners to introduce a plethora of factory-overclocked graphics cards within the next quarter that were significantly faster.
NVIDIA then went on to launch the GeForce GTX 580 in November and the GeForce GTX 570 in December, both of which are based on GF110, a re-worked GF100. While AMD was unable to provide an answer to NVIDIA’s new twin terrors, the US$299 Radeon HD 6950 stole the show as NVIDIA had no equivalent in that price point. With the curtains being drawn on the GF100, it was only a matter of time before the GF104’s turn.
Today, NVIDIA is launching the GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU, which is based on the new GF114 chipset. You could consider the GF114 to be essentially a tweaked GF104. Apart from transistor level optimizations similar to the GF110 to improve power efficiency, no further architectural enhancements were made. However, the transistor level re-work alone allowed the design team to enable all eight Streaming Multiprocessors (SM) on the GF114 and increase clocks by a large margin while reducing leakage current. By comparison, the original GF104 had one SM disabled. The memory subsystem remains unchanged with four 64-bit memory controllers and 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
|AMD Radeon HD 6950||AMD Radeon HD 6870||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460|
|CUDA Cores / Stream Processors||1408||1120||384||336|
|Memory Configuration||2048MB GDDR5, 256-bit||1024MB GDDR5, 256-bit||1024MB GDDR5, 256-bit||1024MB GDDR5, 256-bit|
|Transistor Count||2.64 billion||1.7 billion||1.95 billion||1.95 billion|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 40nm||TSMC 40nm||TSMC 40nm||TSMC 40nm|
The GeForce GTX 560 Ti offers approximately 33% more performance than its predecessor, the GeForce GTX 460, and is set to go against the AMD Radeon HD 6870. NVIDIA has, however boldly claimed that its new GPU contains sufficient firepower to even surpass the higher-end Radeon HD 6950 in some games.
All these promises are moot if the product does not perform up to mark. We will evaluate the performance of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti over the next few pages, but not before taking a look at MSI’s implementation of the GF114.