The GeForce GTX 560 Ti fills an important price bracket for Nvidia at $250 as this segment was last serviced by the aging GTX 470. Compared to the board it is replacing, gamers can expect a 9% performance boost on average with the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
Needless to be said, GeForce GTX 470 owners won't be rushing to buy a new GTX 560 Ti in hopes of gaining a little performance. However, let's not forget the GTX 470 debuted less than a year ago for $350, so users that are more than a generation behind will receive a nice overall boost when picking a new mainstream graphics card.
The GTX 560 Ti's price and performance makes sense when compared to the next step up, the GeForce GTX 570. On average, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti was ~17% slower while we expect it to cost 30% less. From a value perspective this is a very acceptable tradeoff, especially for those unwilling to spend $350 on a graphics card.
While the Radeon HD 6870 was meant to be the GeForce GTX 560 Ti match, AMD has done the inevitable and adjusted pricing to diminish the impact the new GeForce card launch could have on competing products. With that, the Radeon HD 6950 1GB can be had for a mere $10 extra. Before the change the GeForce GTX 560 Ti was ~17% cheaper and just 6% slower. Now the price difference is negligible and the performance difference remains small for the most part.
When compared to the Radeon HD 6870, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti was on average 9% faster, but AMD has reduced their card's pricing to $219. It's also worth mentioning that while the GeForce GTX 560 Ti was overall faster than the Radeon HD 6870, it was less efficient, consuming 24% more power.
The trump card for Nvidia is the impressive overclocking potential of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti. Without any voltage modifications we were able to push the GPU frequency from 822MHz to 1010MHz. That impressive 188MHz bump provided GeForce GTX 570-like performance, something that isn't possible to achieve with competing graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 6870. The Radeon HD 6870 is already being pushed hard with a default frequency of 900MHz and we are only able to increase that by 50MHz without touching the card's voltage.
With the Radeon HD 6870 now selling for $219 and if the GeForce GTX 560 Ti does enter the market at $250, we feel that AMD could be gaming the brackets successfully, putting themselves in a good position below and above Nvidia's new mainstream offering.
The race between the 3-month-old Radeon HD 6870 and the new GeForce GTX 560 Ti is going to be close, especially if both companies keep slashing prices (to our benefit). The GeForce GTX 560 Ti is the faster graphics card, but it's not as efficient. If overclocking is a no-brainer, Nvidia's new mainstream offering is capable of offering GeForce GTX 570-like performance for a fraction of the cost.