NVIDIA HAS LAUNCHED its GTX 560 graphics card - note the absence of the 'Ti' suffix - a mid-range product that fills in the gap between the 560Ti and 550Ti.
The new GPU is based on the GF114, the same GPU chip used on the 560Ti, only counting 48 less CUDA cores. As the GTX 560 is a simple derivative of the GF104 core, actually the GF114, it brings with it some minor improvements like higher clock speeds and slightly better thermals and little else. Performance, however, seems to be more than adequate.
Nvidia's Geforce GTX 560 is very similar to a high-clocked GTX 460, the 1GB version, and for the most of it, that's what it is. You get the same feature set but AIB partners get better headroom for overclocking and tinkering with the chip.
The new GTX 560 will come with 336 CUDA cores and a reference clock of 810MHz. The CUDA cores run at twice that, 1620MHz, and the GDDR5 memory clock will start at 2002MHz. Nvidia has built-in plenty of headroom for the clock rates, so they can go all the way up to 950/1900/2200, which in this case you can find in Zotac's AMP! version. If you put it side-by-side with a GTX 460, which has a 256-bit memory bus, you can see just how these two chips are related.
The headroom will give way to some partner 'tinkering', which plays an increasingly important role for them these days allowing for product differentiation right out the door, which in the case of the GTX 560 explains why almost none of the Nvidia partners stuck to the reference design.
The overclocked cards will add some $20/€20/£20 to the bill. So while, Nvidia's card is aimed squarely and the $199/€169/£149 segment, you will probably see it with mark-ups due to some more exotic cooling and promises of higher-than-standard performance. And by 'standard', we mean something that will get your PC running just about any game in high AA, very smoothly, at 1920x1080 resolutions, which is exactly what Nvidia wants.
The announcement was two-fold. Nvidia took the opportunity to break out some new drivers, something it sometimes does to buff up a launch like this one. The new R275 drivers Nvidia is peddling will grant your graphics cards an instant performance boost in some action faves such as Crysis 2 Bulletstorm or Portal 2. The other bonus is the inclusion of SLI Profiles that will make your life a bit easier when going for the right setup for certain titles.
So far GF104 and now the GF114 haven't disappointed and have allowed Nvidia to attenuate the quasi-disastrous Fermi launch. While AMD has been readjusting its product marketing strategy, Nvidia seems to have found its way. µ