Monday, May 21, 2012

Geekness à la GTX560 Ti (long post!)

What's a GTX560 Ti, you may ask?  Put simply, it's awesomeness condensed into the shape of computer hardware.  Put complexly (because I can't resist talking about the details), it is the second generation of the nVidia GeForce 460 - the 400 series was replaced with the 500, so the GTX460 (apparently a very popular GPU) became the GTX560.  However, to bridge the performance gap between the 560 and the 570 (which was relatively considerable) nVidia came up with another "in-between" version, the GTX560 Ti.

Why am I talking about this particular GPU?  Well, waaaaaaay back in December 2011, I bought my current desktop PC, a Gateway DX4860 with an Intel i5-2320 processor @3.0Ghz, 6GB of 1333Mhz RAM, a DVD drive, about a dozen USB ports (you can never have too many USB ports) and finally a nVidia GeForce GT520.  Not the best card out there, truth be told - I looked it up on an benchmarking website and it was third from the bottom.
However, it was millions of times better than the GPU I have in my good-ol' laptop - an Intel 965 Express Chipset, which sometimes struggled to run even Age of Mythology - not exactly the most graphics-intensive game out there.  (I don't even know why Intel makes GPUs O_o)

Anyway, as you can guess I went out and spent some money.  Initially I was looking for a nVidia GeForce GTX460, but when I got to MicroBytes (a computer hardware retailer here in the MTL area - awesome place) I found out that the 460 was kinda...outdated.  Like, 2 years outdated.  This might not sound very old, I know, but we're talking about computer hardware here.
In the end I got a Corsair 600W power-supply (to replace the standard 300W in my PC) and a EVGA GeForce GTX560 Ti SC (SC standing for super-clocked).  I actually still have the box next to me, it's huge.  Anyway, I then had some fun plugging in all the cables and stuff.  I actually did this over two days - I got the PSU first, installed that, then the next day I went and bought the GTX560 Ti SC and immediately plugged it in. I then went a bit nuts after seeing just how fast it is.

This is the awesomeness I'm describing.  Don't let the image fool you though - it's 9inches / 23cm long.

And the PSU - a rather straightforward design, which I like.

Both pieces of hardware have a very toned-down design to them.  Especially the GTX560 Ti, it's not showing off.
Even the box it came in was the same - just compare these two:

Pretty much the same card (apart from what modifications each company has made to nVidia's base model), but the Zotac is more of a show-off - I mean, it has an image of some sort of dark Iron Man robot thing on the front.
Even the card seems to be trying to look "cool", which admittedly it does, but... I prefer the more toned-down EVGA design.  I'm also a big fan of the more "classic" look of Audis, so that might be the same preference popping up.

Anyway, now for some more geeky specs.  My previous GPU (the GeForce GT520) was able to render the Cycles benchmark BMW M1 model by Mike Pan in 10 minutes and 12.61 seconds, running on nVidia's CUDA rendering tech.

This is the test render file - however the benchmark runs at 200 samples, so a bit grainier than this image.

I've re-run the test with the new GPU, and I now get a GPU-compute CUDA time of around 57 seconds.  That's almost 11 times faster than the GT520.  Mike Pan himself got 53 seconds with a GTX570 (which is the card just "above" the 560Ti)
I've done a few other tests too, like for my Audi model, (which I'll be posting about soon) and this is going to be very, very useful for pre-visualizing materials in Cycles.

To compare the two cards, here's a chart:

If you can't tell, I'm really happy :D

P.S.  In case you're wondering, I got the PSU for 75.00$ and the GPU for 269.00$ (not including taxes, of course).  Not bad, really, considering the GTX570 is around 80-100$ more expensive, and the 600W PSU is ~5$ more than the 500W one.  I'll definitely be going back to MicroBytes :D


  1. I have this card and is really excellent relation price velocity, the problem is when you want to render a scene in a larger size, eg A3 300DPI (print) and then he did not pick up the scene, it's a problem I'm still looking for a solution, unfortunately, Open-CL also not pick up the scene even though I have 8GB ram.

    1. Well, that could be a problem with GPU technology itself - as far as I know, GPU-based rendering uses the card's own memory, which in this case is least, that's how it works in the Cycles engine. I've also not tested OpenCL yet, I've been running only the CUDA tech for rendering... but like I said, I think it's more a general GPU limitation than an actual fault with the GTX560 :)
      ...unless of course if the scene itself (plus any textures) fit within that 1GB limit, it could then be a glitch with Blender or Cycles...

      Thanks for your comment! :D