Asus DirectCU NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Round-Up

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Is there anything sexy about PC components? For about 99% of the population, the answer is probably no. But since you're reading this, chances are that you've fallen in love with the design of a component at least once. Maybe the draw was strong enough to reel you into the world of enthusiast computing, where the skill of overclocking is revered, cable management is a compulsion, and upgraded cooling is not just an option, it's a necessity.

 

For sure, we've seen our fair share of hot deigns throughout the years, but few have spoken to our inner enthusiast quite like the DirectCU II product line from industry heavyweight, Asus. At first glance, you can tell these cards were spawned specifically for discriminating users who appreciate the finer details that make one product stand out from another. Aggressive design? Check. Black PCB? Yup. Red racing stripes? Yes they did. Triple slot cooler? Whoa.

Today, we're looking at five DirectCU graphics cards from Asus: the GTX 580, GTX 570, HD 6970, HD 6950, and HD 6870. They span the high-end and mid-range spectrum within the GPU market, with representatives from both NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon product lines. Of course, all come factory overclocked while sporting massive coolers with redesigned PCBs and enhanced components. If you're into enthusiast level hardware, especially graphics cards, you don't want to miss this article. Read on to find out what DirectCU is all about and if one of these cards has what it takes to be your next upgrade...

Asus DirectCU Graphics Card Round-up
Bigger, Cooler, Faster

Asus DirectCU II GTX 580
782 MHz Core / 1002 MHz Memory
$499*
Asus DirectCU II GTX 570
742 MHz Core / 950 MHz Memory
$349*
Asus DirectCU II HD 6970
890 MHz Core / 1375 MHz Memory
$384*
 

Asus DirectCU II HD 6950
810 MHz Core / 1250 MHz Memory 
$324* 
 
Asus DirectCU HD 6870
915 MHz Core / 1050 MHz Memory 
$219*  
                 * Current street pricing


Dig the look of these cards? Well, we bet you'll like their price tags even more. Generally speaking, overclocked models of video cards, or any PC component, usually command significantly higher prices due to their improved features and performance. But here, Asus has bucked that trend and set their entire DirectCU line at or close to the cost of stock cards. For example, re-badged reference design GTX 580s go for $499 online. The Asus DirectCU II GTX 580 also sells for the same price, but includes several enhanced features including higher clock speeds and and upgraded cooling solution. Let's take a closer look at these features and how well they perform in various benchmarks.

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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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