Palit adds 1 or 2 more PCB layers, so that the internal wiring may be accomodated in the shorter length of the card. It also adds another VRM phase for stability and improved OC ability (in most of the cards, that is). Note that it is probably a good idea to add a VRM phase when reducing PCB size and adding layers, because there is a very small possibility of wiring interference. The upside is shorter size and potentially better overclockability. The downsize is potentially higher temperatures since there is less surface area for heat to radiate. However, that is probably why Palit's OC edition cards come with good cooling designs.
(Everything from the above paragraph other than the first two sentences is not 100% verified fact, but conjecture based on my own experience with designing PCBs for electronic applications).
Palit saves on certain ICs for voltage control, etc., adding a simpler version that still allows fine tuning via NVIDIA's driver API but not using any other API. This saves money, but still allows for good overclocking potential.
The good thing about Palit's cards is that almost all Palit cards (recent ones, 400/500 series) have 100% Japanese solid capacitors. *Very few* other brands can boast this across what seems to be their entire product range, low end to high end. Palit sometimes have quirky designs (read about heat issues on the GTX 560 cards), but I would give them +1 for quality any day.
I think Palit's ATI range was never very good compared to their NVIDIA range. Part of the reason Palit stopped making AMD cards was because they claimed AMD put restrictions on just how much they could customize the PCB, thus causing them to "gimp" some of their cards artificially (in their opinion, that is).
Their GTX 560 cards have similar problems, heat issues and low overclockability - this is not because of PCB design issues but because of mechanical design - VRMs are not cooled properly and they heat up too much to allow serious overclockability. Palit has released a revised design, but nobody has reviewed it yet.
That's why I said Palit sometimes has very quirky designs - but the fact is that the components used on the cards themselves are top notch. I think you really cannot go wrong with Palit if you just want a great card that will run well at stock (at least).
Stupid move by Palit to release an old card. We already had a winner ages ago (MSI 560Ti Hawk). I don't find a reason to opt for Palit instead of MSI. MSI has got better performance, TFIII cooler, etc. :/
^Palit is a BIG manufacturer of graphics cards and they periodically revise PCBs of all popular models. This is just Palit doing a routine refresh of their line up, which they are known to do frequently.
Check out the previous review from the same website of the Palit GTX 560 Ti Sonic:
1) The PCB design is mostly the same
2) The Cooler design is vastly different
3) Heatpipe cooling on the Twin light edition means the GPU can clock higher, while the Sonic card has closer contact of the heatsink with the memory chips. Thus, the memory clocks higher in the Sonic version (see the results of both reviews).
Effectively this card is just a revised version of the Sonic edition. It's no big deal, and Palit isn't making any significant loss by retrofitting an already existing card with a different cooler.
As for comparisons with MSI, well, to each his own
MSI have very bad after market support in Europe.
When i suggested a MSI card to my friend, he just told to avoid MSI itself, whereas reviews at Guru3d or TomsHardware goes gaga over MSI.
Its the similar case with Asus, XFX & Palit cards in India. But in USA as well as in Europe XFX provides lifetime warranty on XFX cards, so even if you sell it off, then the buyer is having the carry over warranty.
Every manufacturers have their own design & respective limitations, backed up with After Sales Support.
If you register your XFX card within a month of purchase, you get lifetime warranty afaik. If only Rashi was not handling XFX, it would have been a much more palatable option irrespective of its performance etc.
I remember going through UK's mags (PC Plus, PCW etc.) some 7-8 years back. MSI mobos were not recommended during that time because of poor ASS. Looks like nothing has changed.