Asus DirectCU NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Round-Up - HotHardware

Asus DirectCU NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Round-Up

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How are these cards different from reference designs?
Some might glance over these products and wonder what the hook is. Any time a new series of graphics cards are launched by AMD or NVIDIA, it is common for add in board (AIB) partners to tweak various features so that consumers have even more attractive options to choose from, beyond the original reference design. Well, each one of the cards here has taken the basic blueprint from the GPU makers a step further. In addition to higher GPU speeds, they also provide improved cooling solutions. The heatsinks have been redesigned to provide improved cooling in order to handle the increased frequencies that are set for their graphics engines, while also reducing noise output.


 

 

What exactly does DirectCU have to offer?
With the all new DirectCU II, Asus claims plenty of improvements over the reference designs of these particular graphics cards. Before we get to the results, let's spell out advantages the card maker wants you to be aware of. Asus claims to improve heat dissipation by providing up to 600% more airflow and superior overclocking with their Voltage Tweak utility. In addition, the cards feature dust proof fans, GPU Guard, Fuse Protection. And they all sport "Super Alloy Power technology" which promises a 15% performance boost, up to 35°C cooler operating temps, and 2.5x longer lifespan. With that said, let's take a closer look at exactly how they implement all of these features.


Direct contact heat sinks have taken over the aftermarket CPU cooling scene. It only makes sense for video card makers to implement the same feature on their products. The exposed heat pipe format has become popular because there is no additional thermal resistance between the heat generated by the GPU and the copper heat pipes that transfer it throughout the heat sink. 

What does Super Alloy Power bring to the table?
In short, Super Alloy Power makes use of better components on the graphics card in order to increase performance. This is accomplished by reducing power loss, enhancing durability, and achieving cooler operation. SAP is implemented specifically in the chokes, capacitors, and MOSFETs found on every DirectCU product.


Their chokes consist a combination of unique alloy formula and a concrete core, eliminating the audible buzz sound heard from some video cards under load. Additionally, SAP capacitors allow for a 30% increase in maximum voltage, while lasting up to 2.5 time longer than the capacitors used in other graphics cards. The Super Alloy MOS also raises the voltage threshold, but is much smaller and operates cooler than generic MOSFETs. Also, a unique capacitor called SAP CAP is located back to back with the GPU in order to provide a cleaner power supply for more stable overclocking.

Yet another super feature we came across is called Super Hybrid Engine (SHE). It switches between high and low power profiles in real time, cranking up the power to the video card only when you need it.

The battle against dust rages on!
In addition to being larger than the fans you'll find on other graphics cards, ASUS DirectCU models feature dust proof fans. Asus says these fans are sealed twice over to prevent dust from entering the housing assembly and clogging up the bearings. The result is an increase in the life of the fans by up to 10,000 hours.

In the past, we've experienced fan malfunctions on a couple of very old video cards. Out of the latest crop of GPUs tested in the last couple of years, none exhibit any fan issues. This particular feature would take a long time to actually test (probably several years of constant use), but it's reassuring to know Asus has taken an extra step here.
 

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Nice review Marco!!!!

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That GTX 580 is huge and 115 more than a 6970. I have really been thinking about grabbing an Nvidia Physx card lately. Of course that would require me to get a new motherboard as well because my main GPU is an AMD card. Of course the cards I am looking at are not listed here either as they are lower price units which will or would be running Physx only as well as other GPU processing tasks.

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Nice overview of ASUS GPU products. What is really interesting is that the 6970 is the fastest card on the market and costs significantly less than the GTX 580

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Good review Mathew or Marco, not really sure which one did it, I like the in depth review of one product line. I think you should do the same with MSI's Frozr III lineup coming out, I'd like to see how it stacks up against the DirectCU.

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Mat wrote it, I just posted the notification in the news...

@Omegaraco - What makes you say the 6970 is the fastest? The GTX 580 outpaces the 6970 across the board.

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Bah... confusing it with the 6990 makes sense now why its cheaper.

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Man, I'm wondering how you guys manage to get 1GHz constantly on 580 cards when overclocking them for reviews.

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Props to Mathew for the review. I see you updated the graph system (From Top Performance to lower performance ) ..about time.

This review already confirms my love for the Direct CU II , especially the 580.  I don't mind that its triple slot, the cooling performance is awesome, the extra voltage protection and dust protection is great and it cost less than the reference models.  Another great thing is that Adobe Premiere pro 5.5 officially supports the 580 and the 570...Freaking great news for me, cause I'm saving up for the either one of these Asus Nvidia cards.  I still got the 6870, which is great and a Zotac GTS 450 AMP is on the way to hold on until I get one of these.

I like to point out that an important factor was left out , Noise levels. both @stock and full load. Also, it will be great when the MSI GTX 580 Lighting with the Twin Frozr III arrives for a review and gets compared to the Asus Direct CU II GTX 580. 

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SammyHayabuza:
Props to Mathew for the review. I see you updated the graph system (From Top Performance to lower performance ) ..about time.

Whoops...My badd, Mathew..I was looking @ the Overclocked NVIDIA GTX 580 Round Up Articles for some comparisons, and I noticed  that, actually , your graphs are in order, its Marco's Graphs that are messy ..LOL..


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@Sammy - Thanks for the kind words...geez. I like to have the featured product in a review at the top of the graph at all times, with the rest separated by brand in descending order. It's not complicated. Well, maybe for some people it is, I guess.

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