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Palit GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic

Next goes Palit’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic. This card is shipped in a rather small box whose design is already familiar to us from our Palit GeForce GTX 460 Sonic Platinum review. The color scheme is somewhat milder here:

The box looks quite attractive but not very informative, which is typical of today's hardware components. The only information you can find here is the type and amount of onboard graphics memory.

There is a plain cardboard box inside which can hardly be much of protection. The graphics card is accompanied with the following accessories:

  • 2x4-pin PATA → 1x6-pin PCIe adapter;
  • Brief installation guide;
  • CD disk with drivers and utilities.

This is the scantiest set of accessories in this review but it is hard to find fault with that. At the current moment, each more or less modern computer has at least one 6-pin power connector while today's monitors are most often attached via DVI-D. After all, it comes down to your not having to pay for accessory items you will never need.

This graphics card is cheaper than the previous “hunter” and will easily fit into almost any system case. You only have to make sure that its cooling fans are not blocked by anything.

It is hard to say anything about the design of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic without removing its cooler, so we did just that:

The owner of the Gainward trademark, Palit Microsystems is one of the companies that can afford to develop a rather complex PCB from scratch. Indeed, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic features a unique design that has nothing in common with Nvidia's reference sample. The GPU power circuit seems to have five phases but the fifth phase is actually a memory voltage regulator.

The main four-phase voltage regulator is managed by a four-channel NCP5395 controller from ON Semiconductor whereas an RT8108 chip from Richtek Technology is responsible for memory power supply. Like the other graphics cards in this review, the Palit is powered via two 6-pin PCIe 1.0 power connectors.

Like the rest of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards that we have, this one employs GDDR5 memory from Samsung Semiconductor. The K4G10325FE-HC04 chips have a capacity of 1 gigabit each and make up a graphics memory bank with a total capacity of 1 gigabyte and with a 256-bit bus. The memory frequency in 3D mode is 1050 (4200) MHz, providing a peak memory bandwidth of 134.4 GBps.

It was even harder than with the MSI card to scrape the thermal grease off the GPU of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic and make out its markings. Well, the date of manufacture is not a crucial factor whereas the revision number is legible enough. Besides, we can run our GPU-Z tool to learn that the card’s GPU is overclocked to 900/1800 MHz. This pretty-looking round number promises a nice performance boost compared to Nvidia's reference sample. Like the GPU of any other GeForce GTX 560 Ti, this GPU has 384 ALUs, 64 TMUs and 32 RBEs.

One of the distinguishing features of the Palit GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic is its nonstandard configuration of interfaces. There is even an old-fashioned 15-pin D-Sub connector in its mounting bracket, which explains the lack of a related DVI-I adapter in the box. The full-size HDMI is better than its mini variety because it doesn’t call for an adapter. You should keep it in mind that you cannot connect more than two monitors simultaneously to a single Nvidia card. To enable multi-monitor configurations and panoramic display modes you have to buy another GeForce GTX 560 Ti and connect the two cards in SLI mode.

The cooling system is not as large as MSI’s Twin Frozr II, yet the dual-section heatsink with three heat pipes looks quite promising to us.

A pair of 80mm fans (Power Logic PLA08015S12H) is set to blow at the heatsink. The cooler seems to be capable of cooling an overclocked GF114 and the rest of the card’s components like voltage regulators and others. The only thing that may let this cooler down is the quality of contact between the heat pipes and the heatsink, but we'll check this out later on.

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