MSI GTX560 Ti 448 'Power Edition' Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅03-12-11
I won't lie to you in that when I first heard about this card I thought 'Oh no not another re-hash'. With NVIDIA notoriously re-hashing their product line, I was surprised this card didn't receive a different name, something along the line of GTX565 which would set it apart from the 384 CUDA core versions. Perhaps more so after evaluating the performance. Adding a card that is quite clearly not identical under the same GTX560 umbrella may not have been the best marketing strategy by NVIDIA but MSI cannot be held responsible for this. What MSI should really consider though is changing the packaging of the 448 version. While there is nothing wrong with the GTX560 packaging there is again, very little to differentiate between the two cards because at a glance, both the packaging and the indeed cards themselves look identical.

The graphics cards are however different beasts. The 384 core version of the GTX560 we tested today seemed to have the upper hand as it wielded 2GB of GDDR5 and this extra memory proved invaluable at high resolutions with filters added as the 448 core and the GTX570 it is based upon ran into VRAM limitations. Most people will not however have the same problem as the VRAM limitation only reared its ugly head at the highest settings available and only then in Battlefield 3 and Metro 2033. At more popular resolutions and settings, the 448 core GTX560 cut through our suite of benchmarks like a hot knife through butter. I say hot but the card was anything but hot in terms of temperatures. The MSI Twin Frozr III design coupled with NVIDIAs GF110 core simply meant that temps were never a problem and were kept at comfortable levels throughout the testing. As a bonus this meant the fans on the cooler were rarely required to spin up to audible levels, even when overclocked. Overclocking is where the card really showed its worth though.

At stock speeds the card performed adequately but not exactly what I would describe as groundbreaking or even so much as raising an eyebrow. It's good, predictable but in all honesty I wouldn't be happy paying the price for the card for what is in effect, a crippled GTX570 at its default 'overclocked' speeds. If however you like to dip your toes into overclocking then my opinion of this card is turned completely on its head. because a 33% overclock is an amazing feat. Sure the memory overclocking was disappointing but who cares when you can get a rock solid stable 1000MHz from an NVIDIA GPU? I was wary that this card may have just been a cherry picked sample so I raised the question with the MSI rep who assured me there are other reports of the cards reaching the same clockspeeds. Obviously not every card will clock the same, some will clock higher, some will clock lower but unless you are extremely unlucky, what you will get with the MSI GTX560-448 Power Edition are some very tasty overclocks indeed.

The argument has to be posed as to whether the GTX560-448 is a better card than the GTX570 or indeed the GTX560 with 2GB of GDDR5. It is a tough one to answer because on the one hand you would do well to future proof with 2GB of GDDR5 for future games, ruling out both the GTX570 and GTX560-448. On the other hand, in the games we have tested today both the GTX560-448 and GTX570 outperform the card and do so with the less memory. Were you to run the GTX570 and GTX560-448 cards at stock speeds, I would perhaps be tempted to pay that little bit extra and get the GTX570, not least as it performs better and will perhaps hold a higher re-sale value come the NVIDIA refresh of cards due next year. If however you like to dabble in the dark arts of overclocking then the GTX560-448 could well be described as a GTX570 killer, at least with it running at its stock speeds because running the MSI card at its maximum clockspeed, it simply stomped all over the GTX570. Obviously, should the GTX570 be overclocked too, the performance of the GTX560Ti-448 could well be matched but the GTX560Ti-448 still weighs in cheaper so would make more financial sense.

Whichever your preference, there can be no denying that the MSI GTX560Ti-448, at least when overclocked, makes for a formidable, mid-range graphics card if a somewhat expensive proposition. Were the GTX560Ti-448 priced closer to the standard GTX560Ti rather than knocking on the GTX570's door, I would be telling every man and his dog to buy one. However, because of its high price in comparison to the GTX570 it is hard to recommend it to everyone unless you are an avid overclocker. If however you do like to tweak, this card has some excellent performance just waiting to be unleashed.

+ Excellent packaging
+ Astounding GPU core overclocking
+ Good voltage adjustment option
+ Excellent cooling
+ Great performance (overclocked)
+ Quiet fan

- Brown PCB
- Poor memory overclocking
- Too close to GTX570 prices

Click here for an explanation of our awards at Thanks to MSI for providing today’s review sample.

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