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Our friends over at NVIDIA have hooked us up with some GeForce GTX 560 video cards, promising a significant upgrade from the older generation cards which many players still use. Of course, most players are fortunate that World of Warcraft can run with such low system requirements, as it makes the game more accessible to the masses. However, as new technology is developed (such as with newer WoW expansions) the game has become more and more system intensive. World of Warcraft is capable of some pretty sweet graphics, with all of the new shader and visual effects added in Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm that I'm sure a lot of players don't even get a chance to experience because of their system limitations. In fact, Valve Software (of Counter-Strike, Portal and pretty much everything else amazing fame) release
every month of the results of the hardware usage survey data collected by their Steam gaming client and you know what tops that list? A
video card, NVIDIA's
GeForce 9800 GTX
! Just imagine what so many players are missing out on!
Now, even if your card may be good enough to run World of Warcraft and many other games at an acceptable level, as new technologies are developed and new games come out, many gamers grow concerned about the increasing system requirements. Are you worried your old card may not be able to run the most important upcoming PC titles, such as Diablo III or even the next World of Warcraft expansion? Fear not! Our friends at NVIDIA have released a fresh new card that packs a significant punch for its incredibly reasonable price range. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 promises a smooth hi-definition gaming experience, easily supporting DirectX 11 and the ever-popular 1920x1080 hi-def resolution (and supporting up to 2560x1600 on a single display). The GTX 560 is so powerful, it enables the use of GPU-intensive features such as NVIDIA
! If you're feeling adventurous and willing to spring for
cards, the GTX 560 in a SLI configuration can support an ultra-wide 5760x1080 resolution in
. That can easily be a reality, as the NVIDIA GTX 560's comfortable mid-range price may convince you to splurge a little.
I'm a bit of a geek, so I'm already running a top of the line card in my rig (yes, only
- feel free to demote said geekstatus), but I have another PC that was actually already sporting the ever-popular GeForce 9800 (surprised?), for which I was able to use for my tests. Eager to see the proposed upgrade, the card was installed and configured (which has grown increasingly easier in most recent versions of the Nvidia Control Panel tool, thank goodness) and I immediately began running my favorite games. I saw a significant improvement in World of Warcraft - and I actually found myself a bit jealous of how great the game looked on the GeForce GTX 560 compared to my main PC (which is running with a significantly more expensive card)! Clearly I must have some things configured incorrectly - how could you do that to me, NVIDIA! World of Warcraft ran smoothly at Ultra settings and looked
and provided an obvious major upgrade over the 9800.
I loaded up some other games such as Portal 2, Team Fortress 2 and even a little Elder Scrolls IV and they all looked absolutely excellent and ran at smooth, stable framerates with no skips or performance issues whatsoever. Moving up from the 9800 to the GTX 560 felt like buying a whole new computer (at a tiny fraction of the cost). Everything I threw at it easily ran at high to maxed settings with comfortable (and impressive) framerates and I didn't have any issues with configuring the card to run to my expectations. It's clear that the GTX 560 will last as the 9800 did, promising excellent performance in the latest titles and supporting all of the best features that the newest games use. And hey, if you're not using a DirectX 11 card, it's time to start! DirectX 11, which is now supported in World of Warcraft as of the latest Cataclysm expansion, treats players to the latest and greatest visual effects and can even offer a major framerate increase (~20 FPS!).
I only regret that I don't have a 3D Vision kit to check out with this little beast of a card. I don't know if you guys have ever tried it, but I had a chance to check out NVIDIA's 3D Vision display at BlizzCon last year and while I'm not usually one for that sort of silliness (THREEE DEEEEEEEEEE), I was completely impressed and envious of that NVIDIA 3D Vision setup. They had a demo of a character up, simply running around on a mount in Stranglethorn Vale, and I was just like, "This looks so amazing, I could totally do this!" To know that such fun technologies can be made available within practical price ranges excites me for the future of PC components.
If you're considering upgrading your video card to support all of the latest technologies (such as DirectX 11, 3D Vision, PhysX, etc.) and aren't looking to have to update your entire computer (of course, sometimes that's what it takes), NVIDIA's definitely got you covered with the GeForce GTX 560. You can check out even more detailed information including tech demos, reviews and hardware specs on the GeForce GTX 560
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