The ASUS GTX 560 Ti 448 wows out of the box with its prominent profile. The all-metal cooler is rock solid, has an excellent diffused finish, has a very sleek appearance, and looks great in our builds.
The Super Alloy Power design and back-to-back Capacitors mean better efficiency, more reliable power delivery, and longer lifetimes. All of ASUS' power delivery components are non-reference, and the VRM MOSFETs and drivers are blanketed by heatsinks to keep heat-related power fluctuations at bay, something many reference cards skip on.
The completely non-reference PCB uses the same high-end design found on ASUS' GTX 570 models, and its matte black color looks great. Rounded corners give a clean look, and the traces are much cleaner than reference cards'.
Thermal and Acoustic Performance
The three-slot cooler ensures low temperatures, as the absolute highest temperature we ever observed was 72 degrees Celcius, which almost made the thermal profile an afterthought. Ontop of that, even at load, the fan only increased to a little over 50%, and was essentially inaudible behind the noise from all of the other case fans, although it could be heard as a slightly higher pitch than the other fans. We generally used the "Auto" fan setting, and the ability to fully define the fan speed profile means you'll be able to custom tune the balance between thermal performance and acoustics, something you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
The GTX 560 Ti 448 provided an average ~15% boost to a GTX 560 Ti clocked at 830 MHz on the GPU, and was equalled or up to 5% better than a highly-overclocked GTX 560 Ti at 950MHz. Our sample was able to overclock to give a performance boost of about 10% on average, but there will be higher variability in GTX 560 Ti 448 core models, due to their being lower-binned GTX 570 cards. Nvidia TDP power limits are also removed from ASUS' design, so ungoverned overclocking potential also adds value.
So, now the big question, should you buy it? The answer this question obviously depends upon what you're really looking for. When comparing apples-to-apples using ASUS' DCUII-equipped cards, it's a relatively meager $25 to jump up to the GTX 560 Ti 448 from the GTX 560 Ti DCUII, and then about another $40 to make the next jump to ASUS' GTX 570 DCUII, omitting rebate offers. The upgrade to the 448-core from the standard GTX 560 Ti seems well worth the $25 premium, and it definitely holds a strong value when compared to ASUS' GTX 570 DCUII.
However, the reference models from other manufacturers can be found for about $10 less than the ASUS GTX 560 Ti 448 (Newegg Pricing). These, obviously, won't have the cooling potential or the same level of quiet performance as ASUS' offering, ontop of the other non-reference features in terms of power delivery and durability, which are hard to put a value number on. Lack of VRM heatsinks and overall cooling and reliable power delivery may also put a stiff damper on overclocking potential.
Currently, MSI's GTX 570 Twin Frozr II is priced $15 below the ASUS GTX 560 Ti 448, which is a compelling offer for a full-on GF110 chip with added cooling capability and would be hard to pass up, although it is lacking the DisplayPort. Again, with a slight cavaeat, the cheaper GTX 570 models are end-of-life (EOL), so support and availability might be trickier, where the GTX 560 Ti 448 DCUII is still a current SKU. And if you look at rebates, the value of the 448-core can be increased significantly against GTX 570 models.
Ultimately, do you want "just a card," or do you value ASUS' top-notch acoustic and thermal performance found in their DCUII models. For most, the triple-slot cooler shouldn't cause any problems, but you should think ahead about any add-ons if you plan to pick a 448 core with DCUII. You have to put a value on the durability and reliability of ASUS' non-reference design, and add-ons like the DisplayPort, as well as your plans to overclock, which are hard to put a price tag on to evaluate value. If you plan to tinker alot with overclocking, a GTX 570 model stands a better chance at clocking higher, and if that's your primary concern, a GTX 570 probably best suits your needs, especially when it can be had for up to $15 less makes it a bit of a tough sell. Keep in mind that product support is also something that can become invaluable, and ASUS has long been an industry leader in customer support. When it's alls said and done, the GTX 560 Ti is certainly a solid card, and with current pricing and rebates, can be had for only $15 over ASUS' GTX 560 Ti DCUII and is able to provide gains well worth that money and push performance into the GTX 570 territory. If you're looking at a budget in the low-$200 range, there is definite appeal and a good price-to-performance ratio if you are able to wait out the rebate.
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