ASUS Launches the GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II Lineup

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 13, 2012 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi, kepler, gtx 660, gk106, geforce, evga, factory overclocked

As those of you who have already read the post below this one know, ASUS decided to create a DirectCU II model for their GTX 660, with the famous heatpipe bearing heatsink.  They have overclocked the GPU already and the card comes with tools to allow you to push it even further if you take the time to get to know your card and what it can manage.  Check the full press release below.

Fremont, CA (September 13, 2012) - ASUS is excited to release the ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II series featuring the Standard, OC and TOP editions. Utilizing the latest 28nm NVIDIA Kepler graphics architecture, the OC and TOP cards deliver a factory-overclock while all three cards feature ASUS exclusive DirectCU thermal design and GPU Tweak tuning software to deliver a quieter, cooler, faster, and more immersive gameplay experience. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II series set a new benchmark for exceptional performance and power efficiency in a highly affordable graphics card. The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II is perfect for gamers looking to upgrade from last-generation graphics technology while retaining ASUS’ class-leading cooling and acoustic performance.

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Superior Design and Software for the Best Gaming Experience ASUS equips the GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II series with 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked up to 6108MHz. The TOP edition features a blistering GPU core boost clock of 1137MHz, 104MHz faster than reference designs while the OC edition arrives with a factory-set GPU core boost speed of 1085MHz. Exclusive ASUS DIGI+ VRM digital power delivery and user-friendly GPU Tweak tuning software allows all cards to easily overclock beyond factory-set speeds offering enhanced performance in your favorite game or compute intensive application.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 660 DirectCU II series feature exclusive DirectCU technology. The custom designed cooler uses direct contact copper heatpipes for faster heat transduction and up to 20% lower normal operating temperatures than reference designs. The optimized fans are able operate at lower speeds providing a much quieter gaming or computing environment. For enhanced stability, energy efficiency, and overclocking margins the cards feature DIGI+ VRM digital power deliver plus a class-leading six-phase Super Alloy Power design for the capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs meant to extend product lifespan and durability while operating noise-free even under heavy workloads.

ASUS once again includes the award winning GPU Tweak tuning suite in the box. Overclocking-inclined enthusiasts or gamers can boost clock speeds, set power targets, and configure fan operating parameters and policies; all this and more is accessible in the user-friendly interface. GPU Tweak offers built-in safe guards to ensure all modifications are safe, maintaining optimal stability and card reliability.

Source: ASUS

Titanium Power from MSI; the shiniest of the GTX 660s?

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 6, 2012 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: msi, gtx 660 Ti, GK104, factory overclocked, Twin Frozr, 660 Ti Power Edition OC

MSI's GTX 660 Ti Power Edition OC will set you back $300, the same price as most other GTX 660 Ti cards, however that is where the similarity stops.  This card sports the famous Twin Frozr IV cooling system, Military Class III components, Triple Overvoltage with Afterburner support and is overclocked above the reference design.  If you like the sounds of the card so far does knowing that [H]ard|OCP managed to push the card frequencies farther past the factory overclock than the factory overclock was above the reference design? 

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"MSI is offering a custom cooled and factory overclocked rendition on the recently released NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti. We examine how well MSI's Twin Frozr IV cooling technology allows us to overclock this new generation video card. We will compare it to a Radeon HD 7950, an overclocked Radeon HD 7870, and a GeForce GTX 670."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

How fast can Lightning go? Testing out the LN2 BIOS on the MSI GTX680

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 3, 2012 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: MSI GTX680 Lightning, LN2 BIOS, factory overclocked, gtx 680, MSI Afterburner, overvolting

[H]ard|OCP recently tested the highly overclocked MSI GTX 680 Lightning, but because of the new release of the MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 tool they decided to retest to see if the new Afterburner will raise the ceiling on their maximum overclock.  This new version allows voltage control of the GPU, the memory, and the PLL which ought to help push the card to higher frequencies.  That did certainly turn out to be the case as they saw noticeable increases to all of the clocks on the card and more importantly translated into improvements in game play.  When they used the LN2 BIOS the improvements were even more impressive.  Remember that volt modding will shorten the lifespan of the card, but what a life it will have while it survives.

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"Today we are revisiting the MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning video card. with its long-promised GPU and RAM voltage tweaking Afterburner software. We test both the stock BIOS and "LN2 BIOS" to find the best possible gaming experience the Lightning has to offer, and determine if the performance justifies the price."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS adds a GTX 670 to it's DirectCU II TOP lineup

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2012 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: asus, DirectCU II, gtx 670, factory overclocked

ASUS' family of DirectCU II TOP have made a good name for themselves with enthusiasts, coming from the factory with impressive overclocks and a quiet and efficient custom cooler.  There is a new member of this family, the GTX670 which comes with a default clock of 1059MHz and a boost clock of 1137MHz though the memory remains unchanged at 6GHz.  These cards have more than just a custom cooler, the capacitors and switches are significantly better than the ones found on other cards which gives the card a longer lifespan as well as giving it serious overclocking headroom which you can see in action in [H]ard|OCP's reviewAt $430 it does cost a bit more than the stock version, but not prohibitively so.

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"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."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire's Dual X cooler makes this HD7970 special

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2012 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, dual x 7970m, factory overclocked

The Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition sports two profiles, on set to defaults and one with a mild overclock of 1GHz on the GPU and effective memory of 5.8GHz but it really is the cooler which makes this card special.  The dual fans and extensive heatsinks allow for quieter and cooler operation than the reference design which can be more important to some than a huge overclock and since it is cooler you have a better chance of getting a higher manual overclock if you are so inclined.  Overclockers Club were very impressed with the card and even more impressed by Sapphire's decision to include an Active DisplayPort adapter.

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"The Dual X cooler is really the bonus to this particular card; it is the real feature that sets it apart from not only other 7970s but also other high-end cards. Under full load it shows off its true colors as one of the best cooled cards on the market while remaining quiet (in a relative manner). With the fans at full it can dissipate quite a bit of heat away from the card to keep it cool and ready for more. It might dump a little more heat to the case at idle and run slightly "hotter" at idle, but it is much better than a constant vacuum cleaner noise coming from your case."

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Galaxy's GTX 670 GC can compete with a stock GTX 680

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 12, 2012 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: galaxy, gtx 670 gc, factory overclocked

Galaxy went all out on the GTX 670 GC, using a full length custom PCB which allowed them to overclock the card by almost 100MHz right out of the box.  The base clock is 1006MHz as opposed to 915MHz and is higher than the stock boost speed of 980MHz, the GC's boost pushes all the way to 1085MHz.  Memory size remains unchanged at 2GB and 6GHz effective, but are shrouded in the custom cooler Gigabyte designed which allowed [H]ard|OCP to push the memory to 6.46GHz once overclocked.  In the tests the card could compete with the slightly more expensive GTX680 which makes this card one of the fastest cards you can get.

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"GALAXY's new GeForce GTX 670 GC features a dual fan setup on a custom built PCB. GALAXY also tuned 670 GC with a strong 1006MHz overclock. We see how this compares to other video cards in its price range including a Radeon HD 7950 and GeForce GTX 580. Then we put the GALAXY GeForce GTX 670 head to head with a GeForce GTX 680."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

You can't have a GTX 680 because they were all sent to hardware reviewers!

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 29, 2012 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: GTX 680 GC, gtx 680, geforce, galaxy, factory overclocked

There is only one thing worse than reading a review of an amazing GPU that you would love to buy if you could find it in stock; reading a review of several of these cards in SLI.  That's right, while you can't find a GTX680 in stock, [H]ard|OCP has a pair of overclocked Galaxy GTX 680 GC's which they are running in SLI, powering multiple monitors at a resolution of 5760 x 1200.  Not only that but they are getting good enough frame rates to play the games.  The only bad news is that the overclocked Galaxy card does not perform that much better than the stock card, however in [H]'s opinion the custom design is well worth the $30 premium.

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"We've got two customized GALAXY GeForce GTX 680 GC video cards which boast a substantial boosted clock speed. We'll test these cards in SLI and compare these to stock GTX 680 SLI and Radeon HD 7970 CFX performance. If you want the best SLI performance, you will want to check this out."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

ZOTAC announces ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4G

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: zotac, AMP!, 4gb gtx 680, 4GB, factory overclocked, gtx 680

The AMP! is back from Zotac and don't let the base clock fool you into thinking that is the only advantage, it is the extra boost capability that really makes this card special.  On the other hand if it is your buffer that is causing you to suffer the 4GB GTX 680 might be a little slower but it can power 4 monitors and has enough GDDR5 to make sure it does so smoothly.


HONG KONG – May 2, 2012 – ZOTAC International, a global innovator and channel manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today unveils the amplified ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and high-resolution dominating ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB graphics cards for the most demanding gamers and enthusiasts.

Catered to gamers that require that extra performance kick in the most demanding gaming situations, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition harnesses the untapped power of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics processor to maximize frame rates in the latest visually stunning Microsoft DirectX 11-enabled games. Extreme high-definition and triple-display gamers can opt for the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB which doubles the amount of video memory for that extra bit of smoothness at resolutions above 2560x1600, including 4K and 3840x1080.

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AMP! Edition

The new ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB usher in a new era of visual computing that pushes details and pixel density for unbelievably clear and crisp graphics,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. “The cards deliver world-class performance and are the fastest single GPU graphics cards available this generation too.“

Quad-display output capabilities enables the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB to simultaneously power four independent displays in desktop mode at resolutions beyond 2560x1600, including new and upcoming 4K resolution displays. NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround technology joins three 2D or 3D displays together to render a massive wide display for superior immersion and enhanced field of view when gaming with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB.

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4GB Edition

The ZOTAC Assassin’s Creed 3-Game Pack is bundled with the two cards to let gamers take advantage of the newfound graphics power right out of the box. Assassin’s Creed I, II and Revelations takes gamers through an epic historical journey with beautiful graphics, captivating storylines and immersive gameplay.

It’s time to play with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB!

New ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition & GeForce GTX 680 4GB graphics cards

  • 1536 SMX unified shaders
  • ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP!
    • Edition Engine clock: 1110 MHz (base), 1176 MHz (boost)
    • 2GB GDDR5 memory Memory clock: 6608 MHz
    • Custom Dual-Fan Cooler
  • ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB
    • Engine clock: 1006 MHz (base), 1058 MHz (boost)
    • 4GB GDDR5 memory Memory clock: 6008 MHz
  • 256-bit memory interface DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • PCI Express 3.0 interface
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround capable
  • NVIDIA FXAA technology
  • NVIDIA TXAA technology
  • NVIDIA SLI ready
  • NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
  • DirectX 11 technology & Shader Model 5.0
  • OpenGL 4.2 compatible
  • Hardware-accelerated Full HD video playback
  • Blu-ray 3D ready Loss-less audio bitstream capable
  • ZOTAC Assassin’s Creed 3-Game Pack included Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • TrackMania 2 Canyon 3-Day Game Pass included
Source: Zotac

How does Sapphire's overclocked HD7970 fare against the GTX680

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 13, 2012 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: gtx680, hd7970, factory overclocked, sapphire

In one way, the Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition wins this competition because of the simple fact that you can actually buy it.  However, we are also interested in the performance difference as you can occasionally find a GTX 680 for sale, so we need to know how the overclocked HD7970 performs.  Sapphire has placed two separate overclocked BIOSes on this card, one with a 950MHz core and 1425MHz memory as well as a more aggressively set one with a cores of 1000MHz and 1450MHz on the memory.  As it turned out [H]ard|OCP was never able to get the more aggressive BIOS to work, on the other hand when they manually overclocked it they hit 1150MHz core and 1860MHz for the memory at which speeds the card triumphed over the GTX 680 in every test.  Sapphire's card is ~$75 more than a GTX680 but remember, you can actually buy one.

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"The Sapphire HD 7970 OC Edition video card has arrived and brings promise of low temperatures with Sapphires Dual-X Cooling System. It also features a Dual BIOS with both a passive and more aggressive profile. Will Sapphires highest end HD 7970 be able to keep up and compete with NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 680?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Announcing the MSI R7970 Lightning Graphics Card with Unlocked Digital Power Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 16, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: MSI R7970 Lightning, msi, factory overclocked

MSI is taking full advantage of AMD's permission to wander away from the reference design with their brand new 7970 Lightning Edition.  Instead of putting a stable overclock on it and selling it at a mark up, they've completely redesigned the power architecture as well as replacing the cooler with one that is quieter and more effective.  From the proprietary "GPU Reactor" which increases the amount of current available for your GPU to a significantly higher maximum setting on Power Tune, this card is for the serious overclocker who is experienced with over-volting.

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Leading international graphics card and mainboard maker MSI today announced the release of the MSI R7970 Lightning, the new heir to the throne of Lightning graphics cards. Equipped with AMD's 28 nm Radeon HD 7970 GPU, the MSI R7970 Lightning features an all-new Unlocked Digital Power Architecture that incorporates an Unlocked BIOS, Digital PWM Controller, and Enhanced Power Design to boost overclocking potential to new heights and make overclocking easier than ever. In an industry first, the proprietary "GPU Reactor" power supply module reduces power supply noise and also boosts overclocking stability as well. To keep this beast cool, the MSI R7970 Lightning utilizes the latest Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design equipped with Dust Removal Technology. The dual 10 cm fans with Propeller Blade Technology generate massive airflow for fast heat dissipation while remaining whisper silent. The two form-in-one heat sinks improve cooling for memory and the power supply module as well ensure structural integrity. The R7970 Lightning uses Military Class III components which have passed rigorous third-party testing to meet MIL-STD-810G standards, guaranteeing the card's stability and reliability under actual use conditions. Moreover, the "3X3 OC Kits" are designed to simplify overclocking, which makes it easier than ever for enthusiasts to fine-tune the performance of their graphics cards. For both professional users and gaming enthusiasts alike, the R7970 Lightning's ability to simultaneously run 6 displays makes it the natural choice!

Unlocked Digital Power Provides Record-Breaking Potential
The R7970 Lightning boasts an all-new Unlocked Digital Power architecture that provides record breaking potential. The key components involved include the Unlocked BIOS, digital PWM chipset, and an improved power supply design. Unlocked BIOS removes CCC overclocking limits, Power Tune limit is increased by 180%, and OCP limits are relaxed to completely unleash the graphics card's overclocking potential. The digital power supply signal provides voltage signals that are more stable and accurate than conventional analog designs, meaning the voltage can be adjusted more quickly and precisely during overclocking. The improved power supply design provides double the power of the reference board and consists of 17 power supply parameters, dual 8-pin power supply connectors, and the Lightning Power Layer (LPL) design. For true overclocking enthusiasts, the R7970 Lightning with Unlocked Digital Power is simply a dream come true!

GPU Reactor for the Ultimate Power Core
The MSI R7970 Lightning implements the innovative "GPU Reactor" power supply module which, when installed on the back of the GPU, increases current volume by 88%, reduces power supply noise by 13%, and improves overall overclocking stability. MSI GPU Reactor is easy to install and has built in safety features that make it easy even for ordinary users to install and remove.

Extreme Cooling Design for Better Cooling and Structural Strength
The MSI R7970 Lightning incorporates the next-generation Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design. The striking design of the new Twin Frozr IV comes from the two large 10cm PWM fans with Propeller Blade Technology that cool the advanced cooling body of the Twin Frozr IV. Under the aluminum Twin Frozr IV body, you can find a high density fin grid array that provides heat dissipating area that is fed by heat-pipes featuring MSI's SuperPipe technology. MSI has also incorporated its exclusive Dust Removal Technology. Fans are running in reverse for 30 seconds after booting to remove dust from the heat sinks and keep the graphics card's cooling performance running at optimum levels. The R7970 Lightning also boasts two form-in-one heat sinks. One heat sink is located on the front of the graphics card to cool the memory and power supply modules, while the second heat sink on the back of the card helps to protect and reinforce the card structure. This extreme cooling design provides the R7970 Lightning with the best cooling performance and the most reliable structure.

Premium Materials and User-friendly Overclocking Design
MSI has always led the industry thanks to its unyielding commitment to product stability and quality and made sure that the R7970 Lightning was equipped with Military Class III components certified to MIL-STD-810G military standards in seven different categories by a third-party laboratory. Be it tantalum core Hi-c CAP around the graphics card, the CopperMOS cooling design, the form-in-one Golden SSC, or as the card's moisture/rust-proof Dark Solid CAP, all work together to provide the MSI R7970 Lightning with the best possible stability.

For overclocking enthusiasts, MSI has developed the 3X3 OC Kits: V-Check Points enable GPU, Memory and VDDCI voltage to be monitored while Triple Overvoltage and Triple Temperature Sensor enable overclockers to quickly fine-tune and track the performance of their graphics card using enthusiasts favorite Afterburner overclocking software. The 4 Mini DisplayPorts and 2 DVI ports on the R7970 Lightning enable AMD Eyefinity technology to drive 6 screen output with just one card, providing just the kind of performance industry professionals and gaming enthusiasts need.

Source: MSI