When Nvidia launched the 8800GT back in 2007, they said that we would rarely get to see such a card that strikes a perfect balance between price and performance. For about half the price of their 8800GTX, you were getting around 70-80% performance, so naturally, the card was a huge hit with gamers and till today, is selling well under an alias, the 9800GT. AMD immediately followed suite with their own sweet spot graphics card, the HD 4850. This reference design ran scolding hot even on idle, but this didn't deter gamers as they found innovative ways to counter this problem. Following that, we had a couple of other great graphics cards in that price bracket like the GTX 260 (216), HD 5770, GTS 450, GTX 460, HD 6870. Yesterday, Nvidia pulled the curtains off yet another sweet-spot card which they call the GTX 560 Ti. Going by the series name, the GTX 560 Ti uses the new GF114 core which is based upon the second generation Fermi architecture much like the GTX 570 and the GTX 580. This means the GTX 560 Ti comes with the same optimizations which gave the other higher-end cards a huge advantage over the competition.
The GTX 560 Ti will not replace the GTX 460 but rather fill the gap between that and the GTX 570. This puts it in direct competition with the HD 6870 and the HD 6950. Looking at the specifications, compared to the GTX 460, the GTX 560 Ti has the same number of ROPs including the transistors, memory size and memory bandwidth. The shaders count has increased along with the clock speeds which in itself should give us a nice boost in performance. Nvidia claims the new card will have 33% better performance and 21% better performance/watt compared to the GTX 460. Let's not waste time and find out for ourselves.
As always, ZOTAC was the first to deliver the card to us on time for review. They've gone with the reference clock speeds and cooler apart from the fancy yellow and black overcoat which looks really good. The yellow vented parts act as, well vents for the heatsink. ZOTAC will also be bundling a pre-order code for Assassins Creed : Brotherhood which can be downloaded from their site.
Next, lets have a look at the card it self.