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Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 Video Card Review

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Introduction

Not too long ago we reviewed Asus’s new line of ROG Strix AMD based video cards the RX 580 and RX 570 and we came away rather impressed. Today we will be looking at their RX 560 Video card. The Radeon RX 560 is the newest entry to the RX 500 series and is designed for the more budget conscience gamer. The ROG Strix RX 560 utilizes 4GB of GDDR5 memory with 1024 stream processors and 16 compute units. It ships with 1326MHz core clock speed, and has 1750MHz memory clock speed which is connected to a 128-bit memory interface. These specifications are roughly half that of the larger RX 570.

Like the RX 570, it’s designed to deliver VR capability, increased level of performance, smooth VR, seamless support for next-gen gaming monitors, and CPU-free game streaming or recording. Furthermore, it also also supports AMD’s newest technologies such as Direct 12® and Vulkan™, FreeSync™, and Liquid VR as well.

Asus Aura Sync RGB LED synchronization allows users customizable lighting control via Asus’s Aura software. If the user has other Asus and/or Aura compatible products, a full version of Aura is available for download that will allow control of the lighting for those products as well. To top is off there’s VR-friendly HDMI ports let gamers easily enjoy immersive virtual reality experiences.

Asus’s take on the ROG Strix Radeon RX 560

ROG Strix RX 560 gaming graphics cards are packed with exclusive ASUS technologies, including DirectCU II Technology with Patented Wing-Blade Fans for up to 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance, and Industry-only Auto-Extreme Technology for premium quality and the best reliability. Aura RGB Lighting enables a gaming system personalization. ROG Strix RX 560 also has GPU Tweak II with XSplit Gamecaster that provides intuitive performance tweaking and instant gameplay streaming.

  • 1336 MHz boost clock (OC Mode) with 4GB GDDR5 memory for an upgraded gaming experience
  • ASUS Aura Sync RGB lighting features a nearly endless spectrum of colors with the ability to synchronize effects across an ever-expanding ecosystem of AURA Sync enabled product
  • DirectCU II with patented Wing-Blade fans on 0db fan technology delivers 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance contact with direct-GPU contact heatpipe
  • Easily monitor and control your GPU’s performance and cooling with the intuitive GPU Tweak II interface and FanConnect II for GPU temperature sensing
  • Auto-Extreme manufacturing technology delivers premium quality and reliability with aerospace-grade Super Alloy Power II component

Features and Specifications

Graphics Processing

  • Radeon RX 560

Core Clock

  • OC mode: 1336 MHz
  • Gaming mode: 1326 MHz

Stream Processors

  • 1024

Memory Clock

  • 7000 MHz

Memory Size

  • 4 GB

Memory Type

  • GDDR5

Memory Bus

  • 128 bit

Digital max resolution

  • 5120×2880

Card size

  • H=35 L=19.4 W=120 mm

PCB Form

  • ATX

DirectX

  • 12

OpenGL

  • 4.5

Power Connectors

  • 6-pin

Interface

  • Dual-link DVI-D x1
  • HDMI x1
  • Display Port x1

Accessories

  • ROG Cable Ties x2
  • Orange Color Decals x2

Packaging and Unboxing

The Strix RX 560 comes in a large semi-matte black box with a picture of the video card lit in orange. The Strix logo is quite predominant in a rainbow of color.

The back box is very colorful and easy to read. Some of the more exciting features are shown.

An owner’s manual, utility disk ROG branded hook and loop cable wraps, and trim accents are all of the included accessories.

The ROG Strix RX 560 in an ESD bag along with the remaining accessories.

Once out of the protective ESD bag we find the Strix RX 560 is protected with various covers/plugs for the slot fingers and graphics ports. Protective film covers all the areas that are more likely to get scratched during shipment.

A Closer Look

The Strix RX 560 has an extremely angular fan shroud. Unlike some of the higher level Strix video cards, the Strix RX 560 doesn’t include a backplate

The Asus ROG Strix video cards have a distinctively sculptured look.

The Republic of Gamers logo on the side features user definable RGB LED lighting.

Both the Asus and Republic of Gamers logos are featured on the ROG Strix RX 560.

There is at least one of each of the most common monitor connections, so there are plenty of connections options. DVI-D is a bit dated at this point though and an additional HDMI or DisplayPort might have a better choice.

A 6-pin connector is all that is need to supply power to the RX 560.

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Asus has added a 4-pin fan connector to the video card, allowing an additional fan to be controlled directly by the user, based on GPU temperatures.

System Configuration, Testing Environment, and Software

Testing Hardware

  • Asus TUF Z270 Mark I Motherboard
  • Intel Core i7 7700K Processor
  • Kingston HyperX Predator 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 Memory
  • Patriot Ignite 960GB Solid State Drive
  • Swiftech H320 X2 Prestige
  • Spotswood Small Tech Bench
  • XFX PRO850W XXX Edition 850w Silver Power Supply

Software

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Geeks3D – Furmark
  • TechPowerUp – GPU-Z
  • CPUID – HWMonitor

Synthetic BenchMarks

  • Futuremark – 3DMark – Firestrike (DX11)
  • Futuremark – 3DMark – Time Spy (DX11)
  • Unigine – Heaven (DX11)

Game BenchMarks

  • 2K Games – Bioshock: Infinite (DX11)
  • Codemasters – DiRT Rally (DX11)
  • Rockstar – Grand Theft Auto: V (DX11)
  • IO Interactive – Hitman (DX12)
  • Deep Silver – Metro: Last Light(DX11)
  • SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive – Thief (DX11)
  • SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive – Tomb Raider(DX11)

Drivers

  • GeForce Game Ready 381.65 – WHQL

Testing Environment

Performance testing consists two sets of tests, synthetic benchmarks and actual game benchmarks. Between the two synthetic benchmarks and five game benchmarks; we are able to test DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 application programming interface (API) environments. Synthetic benchmarks are run at their default settings. For gaming benchmarks; 1920×1080, 2560 x 1440, and 3840 x 2160 resolutions are used with more demanding detail settings. This is the test where higher price range cards will typically perform well.

Games are chosen using four criteria: 1) Each game must be a well-known title. 2) Each game must have its own built-in benchmark. 3) Each game must be on a game engine that is different from the other games or utilize its game engine in a way that is unique from the other games used. 4) Each game must be free of continuous patch updates, to ensure a consistent environment for future graphics card testing.

Mechanical drives are eliminated in the test system, to alleviate any I/O-related bottlenecks. All testing was done with an Intel i7 7700K processor clocked at 4.5 GHz.

Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit is chosen as the operating system, due to it being the most common operating system currently in use. Only the most current non-beta release drivers are used for testing, unless specifically stated otherwise.

Software

Asus GPU Tweak II is included with the Strix RX 560. It features an overlocking utility with hardware monitory and a fan configuration utility.

The ROG Strix RX 560 has a single area of lighting, the ROG eye logo on the side. It is controlled by GPU Tweak II via a graphics card only version of their Aura software If the user has other Asus and/or Aura compatible products, a full version of Aura is available for download that will allow control of the lighting for those products as well, like the Asus TUF Z270 Mark I motherboard we used for this review.

3DMark, Heaven, Steam VR, Bioshock: Infinite

3DMark – Fire Strike

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

3DMark – Time Spy

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.

Time Spy is a showcase DirectX 12 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today”

Heaven

“Heaven Benchmark immerses a user into a magical steampunk world of shiny brass, wood and gears. Nested on flying islands, a tiny village with its cozy, sun-heated cobblestone streets, an elaborately crafted dirigible above the expanse of fluffy clouds, and a majestic dragon on the central square gives a true sense of adventure. An interactive experience with fly-by and walk-through modes allows for exploring all corners of this world powered by the cutting-edge UNIGINE Engine that leverages the most advanced capabilities of graphics APIs and turns this benchmark into a visual masterpiece.”

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SteamVR

“The SteamVR Performance Test measures your system’s rendering power using a 2-minute sequence from Valves Aperture Robot Repair VR demo. After collecting the data it determines whether your system is capable of running VR content at 90fps and whether VR content can tune the visual fidelity up to the recommended level. For machines that are not VR Ready the tool can help determine whether capabilities are bound by Graphics Card, CPU, or both.”

Bioshock: Infinite

“Indebted to the wrong people, with his life on the line, veteran of the U.S. Cavalry and now hired gun, Booker DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia.”

Bioshock: Infinite, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, is the third iteration of the Bioshock franchise. It uses the extremely popular Unreal 3 game engine and is one of the best looking games of 2013.

DiRT Rally, Grand Theft Auto: V, Hitman

DiRT Rally

“DiRT Rally is the most authentic and thrilling rally game ever made, road-tested over 80 million miles by the DiRT community. It perfectly captures that white knuckle feeling of racing on the edge as you hurtle along dangerous roads at breakneck speed, knowing that one crash could irreparably harm your stage time.

DiRT Rally also includes officially licensed World Rallycross content, allowing you to experience the breathless, high-speed thrills of some of the world’s fastest off-road cars as you trade paint with other drivers at some of the series’ best-loved circuits, in both singleplayer and high-intensity multiplayer races.”

Codemasters’ 2011 Dirt 3 is possibly the most popular rally racing game ever created. Dirt Rally is sure to continue that trend. It uses an updated version of the EGO game engine, which is also used has also been used in previous version of the Dirt series.

Grand Theft Auto: V

“When a young street hustler, a retired bank robber and a terrifying psychopath find themselves entangled with some of the most frightening and deranged elements of the criminal underworld, the U.S. government and the entertainment industry, they must pull off a series of dangerous heists to survive in a ruthless city in which they can trust nobody, least of all each other.

Grand Theft Auto V for PC offers players the option to explore the award-winning world of Los Santos and Blaine County in resolutions of up to 4k and beyond, as well as the chance to experience the game running at 60 frames per second.”

Grand Theft Auto: V is the newest game in our benchmark suite. The game offers players a huge range of PC-specific customization options, including over 25 separate configurable settings for texture quality, shaders, tessellation, anti-aliasing and more. It has the highest recommended system requirements in our game benchmark suite.

Hitman (2016)

“Hitman is a third-person stealth video game in which players take control of Agent 47, a genetically enhanced, superhuman assassin, travelling to international locations and eliminating contracted targets. As in other games in the Hitman series, players are given a large amount of room for creativity in approaching their assassinations

Developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix, Hitman is our first DirectX 12 benchmark.

Metro: Last Light, Thief, Tomb Raider

Metro: Last Light

“It Is the Year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt a midst the poisoned skies above.”

Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, Metro: Last Light uses the 4A game engine. At its highest settings, the 4A game engine is capable of bringing all but the most extreme gaming systems to their knees.

Thief

“Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into the City. In this treacherous place, where the Baron’s Watch spreads a rising tide of fear and oppression, his skills are the only things he can trust. Even the most cautious citizens and their best-guarded possessions are not safe from his reach.”

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Thief was developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. The newest game in our benchmark suite, Thief is also one of the most demanding and has the highest recommended system requirements. Those heavy requirements allow it to use the Unreal 3 game engine to great effect. It also features AMD’s Mantle API, as well as Microsoft’s common DirectX 11 API.

Tomb Raider

“Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.”

Tomb Raider was developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by SQUARE ENIX, Eidos Interactive. It features a modified version of the Crystal game engine and was the first game to integrate AMD’s TressFX 2.0, which adds hair, fur and grass physics.

Temperatures, Noise and Overclocking

Temperatures

The Strix RX 560 ran quite cool. The large 100mm dual fan design allows for a profile that is less than aggressive side. I found no reason to adjust the fan profile further, even when the card was aggressively overclocked.

Noise

Noise is a very subjective thing. While measuring dB level of noise can tell you how loud something is, it does not tell you the quality of the noise. Human hearing is the most sensitive in the 4000Hz range. This is roughly the same pitch as a crying newborn baby or the old adage nails on a chalkboard. The human brain is wired to react to this frequency range and when we are unable to stop the noise, we become agitated.

For this test, the best case scenario is absolute silence. For the worst case scenario, I use the most annoying sounding and loudest video card I have at my disposal, the Nvidia 7600GT. The ROG Strix RX 560 was almost silent most of the time. Even under full load, I rarely noticed any fan noise and zero coil whine.

Overclocking

With the ROG Strix RX 560 being an Asus card, using Asus’s own GPU Tweak II overclocking utility seemed natural. I started off by adjusting the power target and voltage to the maximum. I tweaked the core speed first and then moved onto the memory speed. After much fine tuning, we ended up with +138MHz (1464Mhz) on the core and +225MHz (1975MHz) on the memory. This was an increase of 10% for the core and an increase of 13% for the memory. On an average, we saw an increase of around 9% percent increase in frame rates in our suite of benchmarks.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

The Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 is welcomed addition to Asus’s ROG Strix RX 500 lineup. The RGB lighting is very well done. The ROG eye logo is a nice addition. As a bonus, if the user has other Asus and/or Aura compatible products, a full version of Aura is available for download that will allow control of the lighting for those products as well.

Performance wise, it offered acceptable framerate in most of our games when running at 1920×1080. Some older games were capable of being run at 2560×1440. At this price range good performance at 2560×1440 isn’t an expectation. Like its bigger brothers, performance was most impressive when running DX 12 games.

Overclocking the core delivered an extra 10% increase in clock speed, which is quite good. Memory overclocked all the way up to 7900MHz, a 13% increase. The increased speed was noticeable while playing and running benchmarks. Thanks to the 2 fan cooler, the ROG Strix RX 560 never got warmer than 60°c during normal game testing. At no time did I ever really notice any significant fan noise. The additional 4-pin external fan header is a nice touch that isn’t often seen.

Overall, Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 560 is a card that balances performance and price quite well. That makes it one of the better bargains in the sub $150 range.

Likes

  • Premium Cosmetics
  • Good Overclocking Capability
  • Cool and Quiet
  • RGB Lighting

Dislikes

  • None

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