ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Video Card Review

ASUS has delivered the fastest GeForce GTX 670 on the market in the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video card. The monster overclock and the improved cooling system are sure to provide the performance we yearn for. We will be testing it in the recently released Max Payne 3 against a GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7950.

Introduction

ASUSTeK Computer Inc. is one of the largest and most successful computer hardware manufacturers in the world. A Taiwan-based company, it manufactures a wide variety of computer hardware, including motherboards, video cards, optical drives, notebooks, networking equipment, barebones desktop, and server systems, among many others. In 2008, it sold over 24 million motherboards, grossed 8.1 billion U.S., and won 3,056 awards from various enthusiasts and IT related outlets.

ASUSTeK also has a second website dedicated to the gaming community that is currently in BETA, called the Republic of Gamers. It is the brand name that ASUS has been stamping their quality gaming products over the last year which has been quickly growing in popularity both gamers and hardware enthusiasts alike.

On our test bench today is the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video card.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670

NVIDIA released its new GeForce GTX 670, code-named "Kepler" on May 10th, 2012. The Kepler "GK104" architecture is much like its Fermi predecessor. The GeForce GTX 670 has 7 SMX clusters which each have 192 CUDA cores inside and a control logic which has a reduced size. The GPU is built using 28nm technology. The GeForce GTX 670 is also built on a much smaller PCB than we have grown accustomed to.

The GeForce GTX 670 itself is comprised of 3.54 billion transistors packed into 1344 CUDA cores with a default clock speed of 915MHz. The GeForce GTX 670 also has a boost clock which it will increase to during graphically demanding applications and guarantees at least 980MHz. There are a total of 8 geometry units and 112 texture units, along with 32 ROPs. This video card also uses the new PolyMorph 2.0 Engine which NVIDIA claims has 4x the tessellation performance of the Radeon HD 7970.

The GeForce GTX 670 is designed to be paired with 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus, running at 1502MHz for a 6.0Gbps data rate and a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 192.2GB per second. The typical board power is 170W which will work with the advanced diagnostics to create more efficient and lower overall power consumption. A standard GeForce GTX 670 only requires two 6-pin PCI-E connectors. It can support up to 4 displays on a single video card, with one Dual Link DVI-I connector, one Dual Link DVI-D connector, one HDMI connector and one DisplayPort connector.


ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP

The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP features everything that we look for in a high-end video card. There is a strong factory overclock, a custom cooling system, and a custom PCB with high-end components. ASUS also stands behind its hardware and provides strong overclocking software that is simple to understand and easy to use.

ASUS has the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP (DC II TOP from here on) configured with a base GPU Frequency of 1059MHz. This is an increase of 144MHz compared to the reference design. The GPU Boost frequency is set to 1137MHz, an increase of 157MHz versus the reference speed. This is the minimum frequency that ASUS guarantees the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP will run at in game, but as we have seen so far with NVIDIA's Kepler video cards, this number is usually much higher. The memory frequency is not overclocked leaving it at 1502MHz or 6GHz GDDR5.

The DirectCU II cooling system that ASUS outfitted this video card with is a little bit different compared to the DirectCU II cooling system on the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP. The biggest difference would be the number and size of the blades. The GeForce GTX 680 had 9 blades on each of its fans, while the GeForce GTX 670 model has 11 blades that are smaller and more thin. The airflow will still be ideally the same, however the more smaller blades each push a smaller amount of air which in turn reduces the noise generated. There are 3 copper heat pipes which directly contact the GPU on the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP and spread heat to 5 different areas on the heat sink. ASUS states that this is the "coolest and quietest 28nm video card."

One of the strongest features of the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP video card are the high-end Super Ally Components. There is a Super Hybrid Engine that switches between high and low intensity power profiles providing a 15% performance boost. The Super Alloy Capacitor's can increase the video cards lifespan to 150,000 hours (about 17 years) or 2.5 times longer than traditional capacitors. The Super Alloy Chokes work hand in hand with the DirectCU II cooling system to deliver 35 degree Celsius cooler operations compared to the reference design.

ASUS has its own overclocking program in ASUS GPU Tweak. This program has GPU-z built in to it, and monitors several different facets of your video card in real time. ASUS GPU Tweak has a very simple design that makes it easy for users to overclock immediately after installing. It is always a plus when a company has great software to support their video cards, and you do not have to go looking for third party software which may not have support.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP video card is currently in stock and available at Newegg for $429.99. You can read more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP's specifications here.

ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP Pictures

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The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP comes packaged in a black box with 3 claw marks across the front. The front of the box points out the important features of the video card that we mentioned above. The back talks about each of these features in more detail. The video card itself was not wrapped in an antistatic bag, but comes in foam that is custom cut to fit the video card. It fits snug into the foam and does not move around much.

The software bundle includes a driver installation disk that also has GPU Tweak on it, and a quick start guide. The accessory bundle contains only a 6-pin PCI-E to Dual-Molex connector.

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The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP has three heat pipes coming out of the top of the video card, and stick out further than the heatsink casing. The video card itself is printed on black PCB and the casing is also black with three red stripes running through the middle. It is a very strong cover that does not flex much when applying pressure.

The back of the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP has an aluminum plate which is designed to protect the pins and components that are mounted on the back. It is also designed to help spread any heat that will be accumulated on the back of the video card. There are also two LED's right below the PCI-E power adaptor which will turn green when they have a 6-pin PCI-E power connector attached, and will stay red if there is no power connection.

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The rear I/O panel houses a Dual-Link DVI-I connector, a Dual-Link DVI-D connector, an HDMI connector, and a DisplayPort connector. The top of the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP houses the power connectors, which require two 6-pin PCI-E power adaptors and a minimum 500 Watt Power Supply to run correctly. The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II TOP measures 10 and 5/8th inches in Length, 1 and 5/8th inches Wide, and 4.75 inches in Height which we measured up to the highest point of the heat pipe.


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