The Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP is a factory-overclocked graphics card with a mean-looking cooler.
The nVidia GeForce GTX 560 is positioned to be slightly more affordable GPU than the nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
The "GTX" prefix on this card, according to nVidia, marks it out as a GPU meant for the gaming segment, albeit suitable for sub-1080p resolutions only, if you intend to max out on graphic effects in games. The primary difference compared to the GPU with a "Ti" suffix (GTX 560 Ti) is that the GeForce GTX 560 has fewer shaders. With this product branded "TOP" for performance, Asus has made sure the cooler and overclock compensate quite a bit for that handicap.
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP: Specifications
As with GeForce 500 series GPUs earlier, this is also based on second-gen Fermi architecture. It has 1GB of GDDR5 video memory clocked at 1050 MHz (1001 MHz on stock) and a GPU core clocked at 925 MHz (versus 810 MHz on stock). The GPU has a 256bit memory interface and 336 unified shaders that support DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1, OpenCL, CUDA/PhysX and nVidia 3D Vision. For reference, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti variant has 384 unified shaders (48 more than on this card).
For more first-hand information, a GPU-Z screenshot below shows GPU specs in detail.
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP: Design
The cooler used on this graphics card looks similar to that seen on most "DirectCU II" branded cards. In brief, it is very capable.
Want to know more? It has two fans, of which only one is positioned above a heatsink directly above the GPU. The other fan cools off whatever heat reaches the second heatsink via the internal copper pipe. The dual-slot cooler is pretty long, and sturdy. The open body is made to be able to draw cool air from within the PC cabinet, and also exhaust heat into it if it has to.
One SLI connector is available for pairing with a second Nvidia GPU. Power requirements are taken care of with its two 6-pin PCI-E power input slots positioned at the side.
Display outputs at the rear consisted of two DVI ports and one mini-HDMI - no DisplayPort connector.
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP: Package contents
The Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP (TOP/2DI/1GD5) graphics card's package contents included one DVI-to-VGA port adaptor, one mini-HDMI to HDMI adaptor, two 6-pin PCI-E power input connectors (each connect to two 4-pin molex connectors), and the instruction manual (SpeedSetup).
The mandatory CD offered the Nvidia ForceWare drivers, manual, and two applications for overclockers: Asus GamerOSD and SmartDoctor.
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP: Heat dissipation
The cooler on this card was certainly good, as evidenced in the temperatures it managed to maintain. It sounded a bit "breezy" when tested at full load, but otherwise almost inaudible. The claimed TDP on the GTX 560 at default clock speeds is 150W, lower than the claimed 170W for a 560 Ti.
However, the card in question uses a custom cooler, is overclocked, and allows for increasing voltages to crank the clocks up even higher, so the TDP label is expected to trend higher than defaults.
Temperature load tested using FurMark
Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP: Performance
Our colleagues at PC World India tested the Asus GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP in their labs.
To eliminate bottlenecks to the extent possible, the test-bed consisted of an Intel Core i7 965 processor, Intel DX58SO motherboard, Intel X25-M 80GB SSD, 12GB of Silicon Power DDR3 RAM in triple channel, Tagan BZ-1300W PSU and Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64bit edition. We used the latest WHQL driver for the GeForce GTX 560 available at the time of testing. Note that PhysX was enabled wherever supported by the benchmark or game.
The graphs here show performance numbers selected from a wider set of tests conducted. To put the results in context and help you compare, we juxtapose the benchmark scores of the card being tested, against other graphics cards positioned relatively closely. This is useful to see its price/performance in context.
Below are graphs of how the Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP graphics card fared in synthetic benchmarks:
Benchmarks: 3D Mark 2006 (DirectX 9.0c) and 3D Mark Vantage (DirectX 10)
Benchmark: 3D Mark 11 at all presets (DirectX 11)
Benchmark: Unigine Heaven 2.1 (DirectX 11) at Full-HD resolution
Below is a graph of gaming performance showing frame-rates, to reflect what you would see in real-world usage patterns:
Benchmark: Crysis and Far Cry 2 (DirectX 10) and Metro 2033 (DirectX 11)
The performance numbers bear out the competitiveness of the overclocked GTX 560, versus the GTX 560 Ti. Keep in mind too, that the performance numbers of the Ti variant were obtained with a different driver version, which may account for its falling behind in some cases.