Asus DirectCU NVIDIA and AMD Graphics Round-Up

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Test System and 3DMark

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: In order to provide comparable results, the graphics cards tested here were installed on the same, high end X58 based test system. The components we used consisted of an Asus Rampage III Extreme motherboard, Core i7 980X Extreme Edition processor, and 6GB of OCZ Blade memory. Within the BIOS, we configured the processor to an overclocked speed of 4.27GHz and memory to 1857MHz.

We feel these settings will minimize the occurrences of CPU performance bottlenecks during benchmark runs and allow the graphics cards to show their true potential. Furthermore, our Crucial M225 solid state drive entered the testing process with a clean copy of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit installed. Once installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest drivers and applications relevant to the review article.

HotHardware's Test System
Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition
Overclocked 4.27GHz

Asus Rampage III Extreme Motherboard
X58 Express Chipset

Asus DirectCU II GTX 580
Asus DirectCU II GTX 570
Asus DirectCU II HD 6970
Asus DirectCU II HD 6950
Asus DirectCU HD 6870

6GB OCZ Blade DDR3-1857
(3 X 2GB) 7-8-7-20 1T

Crucial M225 128GB SSD
Firmware 1916

Dell 3008WFP LCD Monitor
2560 x 1600 Resolution

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Professional 64bit
NVIDIA GeForce Driver Release 266.58
ATI Catalyst Display Driver 11.2

Benchmarks Used:

3DMark Vantage
3DMark 11
Aliens vs Predator
Civilization V
Dirt 2
Far Cry 2
Lost Planet 2
Metro 2033
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
Synthetic DX10 Performance

3DMark Vantage

Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10. With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated new graphics tests, CPU tests, several feature tests, and support for the latest PC hardware. We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Extreme and Performance preset options.

We ran 3DMark Vantage just in case you wanted to see DX10 performance numbers. Here we see the GeForce cards with the edge over all three Radeons. But out of all the DirectCU cards in our stable, the GTX 580 reigns supreme.

Futuremark 3DMark11
Synthetic DirectX Gaming


The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark11, is specifically bound to Windows 7-based systems because it uses the advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 11, which isn't available on previous versions of Windows.  3DMark11 isn't simply a port of 3DMark Vantage to DirectX 11, though.  With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated four new graphics tests, a physics tests, and a new combined test.  We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark11's Extreme and Performance preset options.


As Futuremark's successor to Vantage, the all new 3DMark11 works the latest generation of video cards differently than its predecessor. Once again, we find the GTX 580 in a comfortable lead but also observe the HD 6970 inching past the GTX 570 on the performance graph.

At the end of the day, you really can't do much with 3DMark besides running the test and compare your score with others on discussion forums. The following pages consist of our real world gaming tests, so let's find out how the Asus DirectCU graphics cards perform in that environment.

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