The Ti version of nVidia's GTX 560 has been riding relatively high in our graphics card chart for several months now. This, though, is a cut-down version that offers slightly reduced specifications in return for a sizeable price cut – around £30-£40 based on figures at the time of press. Based on the same GF114 Fermi technology as the 560 Ti, the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 is similarly equipped with 1GB of GDDR5 RAM.
It enjoys a slightly lower core clock speed of 820MHz – the default 560 Ti has 822MHz, while the overclocked Gigabyte version of the Ti pushes this to 900MHz. The memory clock of 1,002MHz (4,008MHz taking into account the GDDR5 RAM) is identical to the figures offered by the default 560 Ti, although the number of texture units have been cut from 64 to 56, and the number of stream processors from 384 to 336. Few of these changes are particularly dramatic, telling you that the 560 could be a good well-priced alternative.
This is one of Zotac's new Multiview graphics cards. As such, it can support up to three displays from a single card. You need to adhere to quite strict guidelines, and while the 560's rather busy backplate contains no less than five ports – two DVI, two HDMI, and one DisplayPort – only a certain number of these can be used to create the three screen setup. Both of the HDMI ports must be filled, and you then have a choice as to whether to plug the remaining screen into a DVI or a DisplayPort connector (we used the former). Plenty of flat-panels now come with HDMI, but it's certainly worth checking whether you have two HDMI screens before going out and buying the Multiview.
It's a shame that the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Multiview couldn't be more flexible and allow the use of DVI for two of the screens, as we see the Multiview facilities on this card appealing to those who already have a number of flat-panels that they'd like to hook up for extended workspace in general Windows applications etc. Admittedly this isn't the fault of Zotac – the Multiview is already fairly unique within the market for allowing three screens to be used from the one card – but it's still slightly regrettable.
Multiview won't appeal to gamers – even in dual-screen mode, World in Conflict saw a 48% fall in performance, while a fierce three-screen game like Crysis saw the performance crash to almost unplayable levels. This isn't just down to the fact that the card has only one chip, and 1GB of memory overall for a triple-screen setup simply isn't enough - for a pleasurable gaming experience, you'll still need to look to buying a couple of 560s and running them in SLI. However, as a means of extending your Windows workspace, pulling up multiple spreadsheets, or even pushing Google Earth's capabilities, Multiview is smooth and extremely usable.
In performance, the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Multiview is a little faster than a 1GB GTX 460, but not quite up with the Radeon 6870. In Heaven, the 560 produces 38.1fps and 27.9fps at 1,280x800 and 1,680x1,050 respectively. This compares with 40.2fps and 28.9fps for the 6870. The 460 is marginally slower, producing 35.8 and 26.6fps on the same tests. In Crysis, the figures of 42.1 and 28.1fps for the 560 compare with 43.9 and 29fps for the 6870. Again, the lead is never more than 2fps, with the 560 holding a similar lead over the 460. In Stalker, the gap is never more than a frame.
Two power 6pin power connectors are needed for the 560, and it has a TDP of 150W, which makes it relatively light on power – the 560 Ti requires 170W, while the Radeon HD 6950 goes up to 225W. The Zotac isn't a quiet card though, and we did find the constant churning of its fan under decent power loads annoying.