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GTX 560 - Choice Card for µATX and HTPC Owners

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Too many reviews are placed on test machines with unbelievable airflow or on open air test benches. µATX and HTPC owners immediately flip to the last page of any card review to focus on core temperature and power usage before even considering the cards' overall performance. After all, we're more limited in some cases (pun). Migrating away from the GTX 470 (which happens to be for sale in my sig), I needed a powerful card that offered low[er] temperatures and power usage for a fully closed LianLi v350b, and you might need one as well. Before reading further this thread is aimed at those who:

a) Have a µATX case that is small/closed with little airflow

b) Have an HTPC that is naturally confined

The card of choice was the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II [900/1800/4200 Stock]

::Size::
Let's take a look at the card and it's relative size to my motherboard/tray.

asus-gtx560.jpg
sam0761.jpg
sam0766.jpg
sam0763.jpg

The size is just right for your case. It's roughly ~235mm in length, so fitting it in your case should not be an issue. The top placement of the power connectors in inconvenient. I had to drop the wires from my 5.25" bay. The MSI Twin Frozr 2 does not have this issue, but I bought mine new for $220, so I can't complain.

::Temperature/Power::

Power - Let's get power out of the way real quick. I'm pulling about 338w from the wall with my system (in signature). This includes a couple of HD's, an OC'd i7 Xeon, and an H50. No LED's or other case enhancements. Remember, a PC this small is not meant to glow in the dark. Don't add power usage with lights on these builds. This result isn't that far off from Hardware Heaven.

Temperature - This is where this card shines. I'll show you a couple of benchmark scores below, but for now, let's look at the temperatures after both tests (Vantage/ 3D11) were run to show you max temps at an OC of 950/1900/4800.
560ti.png

I'll take 67c any day of the week. This is in a tiny case! Not to mention, this is the most quiet card I've ever owned. It puts my ancient ATi 9600xt to shame in terms of noise. Like the Twin Frozr, the fans are slightly whiny, but the airflow noise is quiet.

So, now that these two issues are out of the way, let's take a look at two 3dMark runs and an example of a 1000/2000/4800 OC.

::Benchmarks::

This card shines at 950mhz, but not at 1000mhz. Not joking. For some reason, the law of diminishing returns on this card did not play out after about a core clock of 955mhz. It was dwindling returns; negative. No matter the voltage, this card performed significantly lower with a 1ghz OC than a 950. This is not saying your card won't act this way, but it's very possible. Here's the temps for the 1ghz OC in case your interested. Ignore the previous build of AB.
560ti100percent.png

Now, back to the 950/1900/4800 OC, lets take a look at those benches. PhysX is off. Nobody's using it in games, so let's even the score with ATi:

560vantage.png

3d11560.png

That's, once again, with PhysX off. These scores a pretty dang good for a mid-range card that operates whisper quiet with low power usage. For the record, on the 1Ghz OC, my Vantage score was 20514 and 3d11 score was 4132.

::Conclusion::
Don't be a fanboy when it comes to your µATX or your HTPC. Get the best card that provides the lowest noise, best power consumption, and lowest temperatures. I feel as though the 560 Ti is the card of choice, but that doesn't cancel out the 6850/70 if the price is right. However, this is just my advice. I hope this helps you with a decision to add this card to your rig.
post #2 of 10
mmm eyecandy.. Thanks for the pics and post!

I'm also running a μATX. My case is a bit over sized though.. :]
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post #3 of 10
At those clocks it should reach GTX 570 performance which is very impressive.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wulfgar;12373232 
At those clocks it should reach GTX 570 performance which is very impressive.

The 950 clocks, yes. The 1ghz, no. I'd actually encourage anyone with a Gigabyte 1ghz card to drop the clocks and check for improvement.
post #5 of 10
That is good info.

I am curious. I understood ATI cards are better for HTPC's due to better audio streaming. I understand the 6870 can fully handle any video decoding loads. With it's external exhaust why wouldn't it be a better choice? You can see I am not an ATI fan boy but I would like your thoughts. Thanks
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post #6 of 10
thanks for this, and thats a pretty system smile.gif
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe63;12374105 
I am curious. I understood ATI cards are better for HTPC's due to better audio streaming. I understand the 6870 can fully handle any video decoding loads. With it's external exhaust why wouldn't it be a better choice? You can see I am not an ATI fan boy but I would like your thoughts. Thanks

The audio quality typically does not carry a difference between the two companies. The 6870 and 560 would likely also run equal in video decoding, but that's not a proven statement, and a lot of that relies on your CPU. As far as internal vs. external exhaust, since the card blows cooler air than what your case sometimes carries, it's not that big of a deal. Now a GF100 would melt your components - hence why I'm selling my 470 for a 560 (to add back the case doors.).
Edited by greydor - 2/13/11 at 2:30pm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -iceblade^;12374152 
thanks for this, and thats a pretty system smile.gif

Gracias!
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by skitzogreg;12374006 
The 950 clocks, yes. The 1ghz, no. I'd actually encourage anyone with a Gigabyte 1ghz card to drop the clocks and check for improvement.

They already have reviews with benchmarks at 1Ghz versus 950 with performance gains. If you're losing performance on an overclock it's unstable and there is throttling.

As good as your card is, the Gigabyte is the better version. They obviously tested before releasing it.
     
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsemama1956;12374389 
They already have reviews with benchmarks at 1Ghz versus 950 with performance gains. If you're losing performance on an overclock it's unstable and there is throttling.

As good as your card is, the Gigabyte is the better version. They obviously tested before releasing it.

I agree that the Gigabyte is a better version out of the box. As for throttling, there isn't usually various degrees of it. For example, if the card was throttled, it would likely throw it down close to 2d clock speeds, not 3-4 fps. It's truly a performance difference on this card.
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