Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti/GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!
Finally, we’ve got two graphics cards from Zotac which can be called cousins but not twins. They are shipped in same-size compact boxes with different design:
The box of the ordinary model is embellished with a picture of Zotac’s traditional liquid-metal creature with blazing eyes whereas the AMP! model’s box is all about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, even though a copy of that game is included with each of these graphics cards.
There is nothing extraordinary about the packaging. There is a simple cardboard tray inside, with compartments for the graphics card and accessories. The accessories are the same for both models:
- DVI-I → D-Sub adapter;
- Mini-HDMI → HDMI adapter (comes only with the AMP! model);
- Two 2x4-pin PATA → 1x6-pin PCIe adapters;
- User manual;
- Brief installation guide;
- CD disk with drivers and utilities;
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood coupon;
- Zotac logo sticker;
- Zotac Boost Premium poster.
Well, the Zotac products turn to be superior to their opponents in terms of accessories. The ordinary version doesn't come with a mini-HDMI->HDMI adapter because it already has a native full-size HDMI port. The game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is not physically present in the box, but the serial number coupon allows you to download it for free, even though it may not be so easy to do for users with low-speed Internet.
Zotac’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti and GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! are not identical, yet similar to each other thanks to the cooler casings that both have a characteristic yellow mesh.
The AMP! model is longer and doesn't use such an exotic fan as its cousin. The component layout differs as well. The ordinary Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti carries the power drivers of the voltage regulator transistors on the reverse side of the PCB and its power connectors are near the top edge of the PCB. The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP!, on its part, has the GPU power controller on the reverse side of the PCB while the power connectors reside at the shorter edge, which means that you have to add the length of the power connectors on your PSU cables to the length of the graphics card when calculating whether it can fit into your system case.
We removed the cooling systems from both Zotac cards to have a closer look at their design:
Oddly enough, it is the ordinary model (without the AMP! suffix) that has the more advanced GPU power circuit with as many as six power phases whereas the GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! has only four phases. Moreover, the latter card is based on Nvidia’s reference design which we described in detail in our very first GeForce GTX 560 Ti review. If Zotac’s developers consider Nvidia’s design the best option for overclocking, it is unclear why they have taken the trouble of developing a unique PCB with advanced power circuit for a GeForce GTX 560 Ti that has standard specifications.
An eight-channel CHL8318 controller from CHiL Semiconductor is used on the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti to manage the GPU voltage regulator. The memory voltage regulator is based on an uP6161 chip. The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti AMP! employs an NCP5388 together with an uP6101 controller. Interestingly, the reference card from Nvidia has a Richtek RT8101 instead of the latter.
Each of these cards comes with eight memory chips (Samsung K4G10325FE-HC04) for a total of 1 gigabyte of memory accessed across a 256-bit bus. They differ in memory frequency: the ordinary Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti complies with Nvidia's specs and clocks its memory at 1002 (4008) MHz whereas the AMP! version is pre-overclocked to a memory frequency of 1100 (4400) MHz. This is the highest factory overclocking among the graphics cards included into this review and it boosts the memory bandwidth to 140.8 GBps.
The GPU markings are more readable here than those on the MSI and Palit cards. The GPUs of the Zotac cards were both manufactured on the 51st week of the last year. The GPU configuration is the same for both cards, of course: 384 shader processors, 64 texture-mapping units and 32 raster operators. The clock rates in 3D applications differ: 823/1645 MHz with the ordinary card and 950/1900 MHz with the AMP! version. Like the memory frequency, this is the highest factory overclocking among all the GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards in this review.
The two Zotac cards differ in their connectivity options. The junior model gives you somewhat more flexibility as it adds a DisplayPort to the conventional selection of two DVI-I ports and a full-size HDMI connector. The AMP! model provides two DVI-I ports and one mini-HDMI as is typical of the reference GeForce GTX 560 Ti. You can connect two monitors simultaneously to either of these cards. They support Nvidia SLI technology.
The cooling system of the AMP! version differs from the reference sample in its cooler casing but below it we can see a familiar cooling system with two circular heatsinks connected with three heat pipes.
The Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti, on its part, employs a similar cooler but its additional heatsink sections are smaller. There are only two heat pipes here and the fan's blades are shaped in an original way. Nvidia’s reference cooler seems to be more effective due to the larger heatsink surface. We will check this out right now.