Nvidia aims budget-price GeForce GTX 560 at AMD

Nvidia has officially launched the GeForce GTX 560 GPU, designed as a cheaper alternative to its GTX 560 Ti - and it couldn't come at a better time, with the company facing increasing pressure from rival AMD.

Built to offer a budget-friendly alternative to the company's higher-performance GPUs, the GTX 560 comes as a replacement for the last-generation GTX 460 - and adds some impressive performance tweaks, allowing users to game in full HD resolution without sacrificing quality settings.

While board partners are free to tweak the parts as they see fit, many have chosen to stick close to the reference design for their initial launches. One such partner is Zotac, and we've been given a walk-through of the GTX 560-based boards it will be offering from today.

First up is the budget GeForce GTX 560 1GB, which includes - as the name suggests - 1GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus running at 4008MHz effective. The GPU's engine, which includes 336 unified shaders, is clocked at 820MHz, while the shaders are clocked at 1640MHz. A pair of dual-link DVI ports are included, along with HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

At the higher end, a 2GB model is available with the same specs - or buyers can opt for the Zotac GeForce GTX 560 AMP! Edition, which takes the 1GB version and boosts the clocks to 950MHz engine, 1900MHz shader, and 4400MHz effective memory. To further boost interest in the top-end model, Zotac has confirmed that it will be including a copy of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood along with its Boost Premium software bundle with the board.

The release of the GeForce GTX 560, teased with a sample video last week, can't come soon enough for Nvidia. While the company remains the dominant force in discrete graphics since its exit from the chipset market, rival AMD - which purchased graphics card specialist ATI in order to become a one-stop graphics and CPU shop - is rapidly catching up market share.

With prices starting at £149, only time will tell if the GeForce GTX 560 is what the market has been crying out for - or whether AMD will continue to gain ground over its green rival.