ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC Video Card Review

ASUS revamped the DirectCU II cooling system and visual style, providing a full non-reference video card with the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DiretCU II OC. New is the hybrid CoolTech fan providing improved airflow, and a 10mm heat pipe. We will see how this video card performs against several GPUs.

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.

On our test bench today is the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DIrectCU II OC (GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5) video card.

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ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC Features

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The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC is an overclocked edition video card. This means that ASUS has taken the liberty to go ahead and overclock it at the factory. This provides an immediate performance gain compared to the reference model. The factory overclock brings the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC’s base clock speed up to 889MHz and the boost clock up to 941MHz. This make the base clock 26MHz faster and the boost clock 41MHz faster than a reference GeForce GTX 780. Not bad for a free, guaranteed overclock. With the boards advanced DirectCU II cooling system, high quality components and ASUS’s own GPU Tweak program, we hope to see a noticeable performance booster after manually overclocking.

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ASUS spent nearly a year redesigning the DirectCU II cooling system specifically for this video card. The most noticeable thing when holding and examining the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC is the new CoolTech fan. The CoolTech fan is actually a hybrid fan. It uses normal downward blowing technology with the outer flower-type blades, but it also has a radial blower in the middle. This is a smaller scale blower fan than the reference models use, and blows air in more directions than directly down onto the PCB. The hybrid CoolTech fan is directly positioned over the GPU to exhaust the most heat possible. The second fan has normal blades and no turbine. A second CoolTech fan will create turbulence and produces a diminishing return on cooling.

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The DirectCU II cooling system also feature 5 nickel-plated copper heatpipes that directly contact the GPU. The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II is unique because it features a 10mm copper heat pipe, while other video cards are generally only using 8mm heat pipes. This provides a larger surface area for heat to spread across, meaning even lower temperatures. The revised DirectCU II cooling system has 220% more heat dissipation area compared to the reference model, which when combined with the CoolTech fan produces 30% cooler and 3X quieter operation when compared to a reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. Cool temperatures are also the key to achieving higher and more stable overclocks.

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The components on the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC are also top of the line components. The video card has a DIGI+ VRM chip that when combined with the super alloy power components, provides much more precise power delivery. This means more stable overclocking. The DIGI+ VRM chip is part of a 10-phase power design, and uses digital voltage regulators to reduce the power noise by up to 30% and improves the power efficiency by 15%. The super alloy components consistent of chokes, MOSFETs, and capacitors. The chokes improve power output and provide reduced temperatures, while greatly reducing electromagnetic interference. The capacitors increase then maximum voltage threshold by 30%, meaning more stable operation and overclocking. The capacitors also have 2.5X the lifespan (150,000 hours) compared to traditional capacitors (only 60,000 hours). The MOSFETs contribute lower operating temperatures and enhanced power delivery, and are partially responsible for improving the board’s voltage threshold by 30%. These high quality components are designed around improving the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC’s efficiency, performance, and durability compared to the reference model.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC video card can be had for $669.99, and includes the game Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist valued a $50. ASUS also includes a free 3 year limited parts and labor warranty. You can read more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC’s specifications and features here.


ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC Pictures

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The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC comes in ASUS’s standard box which points out that the video card is the OC edition, with 3GB GDDR5 memory. The back of the box highlights the majority of the components involved on the board. The accessory package includes a dual 6-pin PCIe to 8-pin PCIe power adaptor. It also includes a driver installation CD with GPU Tweak included, and a speed setup guide.

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The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC is printed on a black PCB. The PCB is almost entirely encased by the black plating and the front heatsink cover. The left fan closest to the I/O panel is the CoolTech fan. In the center you can see the turbines, and the flower petal like blades on the outside of the fan. The fan on the right is a standard downward blowing fan. The back plate does a good job of concealing all important rear-mounted components and helping spread any heat buildup. The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC does have some weight to it, but it is because of a sturdy build from the ground up. All around the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC feels and looks top of the line.

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In order to operate correctly the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC will require an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe connector. ASUS recommends having up to 300W extra specifically for the video card, from a 650W or higher power supply. The power connectors are located along the top of the video card. There are two LED’s, one for each power connector. Green signals that a secure correct power connection has been made, while red signals an improper connection. There is also a voltage monitoring area at the end of the video card. This gives users the ability to directly monitor the video cards GPU voltage, memory voltage, and PLL voltage. The rear I/O panel houses a dual-link DVI-I connector, a dual-link DVI-D connector, an HDMI connector and one DisplayPort connector. The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC measures 11.25 inches in length, 5 and 3/8th inches tall, and 1.5 inches wide. This is the first time that ASUS has delivered their highest-end custom video card in a 2 slot solution. All previous highest-end video cards have taken up 3 slots.


Competition

Ideally when we are evaluating a video card we select the video cards that are closest in price to the video card we are looking at. In this evaluation keep in mind these video card prices as we have based our comparisons on:

ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC - $669.99

AMD Radeon HD 7950 CrossFire - $480

ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum - $474.99

NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN - $999.99

The ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC has a unique price point. AMD does not have any video cards that match it in price. Because of this we are using the two closest solutions. The first of which is the AMD Radeon HD 7950 CF setup, which will require two video cards with a cheapest current price of $240 each. Second, we are using a fully custom Radeon HD 7970. We chose the ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum because of its high cost and custom design and fan. We felt like it would be the best representation for the AMD Radeon HD 7970. It is one of the most expensive Radeon HD 7970 video cards, and as we have already shown, performs well. The last video card we are going to use for comparison is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN at $999.99. It is one of the only video cards on the market that is more expensive than the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DC II OC, and should provide for a close performance comparison.