Asus DirectCU II Roundup: ENGTX560, ENGTX570, and ENGTX580 Review
These are really nice cards. I think my favorite overall is the ENGTX560 Ti. It is a nice combination of price, performance, and overclocking ability. It is a much smaller card than the other two, but it still packs a mean enough punch at most resolutions with Ultra quality enabled. It performs right around the level of the 1GB HD 6950 and retails in the same area. Cooling was excellent and the noise from the fans was not loud or bothersome at all. Build quality is great and it worked like a champ throughout these months of testing. The only downside to this card is that it really should be used only with monitors that are 1920x1200, 1080p, or lower. Anything above that tends to hammer on performance. It also will struggle in 3 monitor mode due to the limited memory, even when considering that SLI is being used. If a user wants to go 3 monitor, then either the 570 or 580 would be a better option in terms of overall smoothness and performance.
The ENGTX570 was a good balance between the high end and the lower 560 Ti/448 models. Overall this product performs as well as the previous GTX 480 but without the heat associated with those particular cards. Overclocking this card was a breeze and a user can approach GTX 580 and above performance with just a little work. Cooling was again excellent and the fans at auto speeds never became bothersome. The price for this particular card is not all that much more than a standard GTX 570, but the better cooling and higher potential overclocks certainly justify the premium people will pay. This is a great overall card for the money.
The three cards together at last.
The ENGTX580 is in a bit of a bind. When viewed by itself or against other GTX 580 cards, it really proves its worth once cooling and overclocking abilities are considered. It is on the same level as the MSI N580GTX Lightning, but it is a slightly larger card in that it takes up three slots as compared to two. It does not match the MSI N580GTX XE, which is a 3GB card, but it is also significantly cheaper (and actually available) as compared to that other high end card. Where it stumbles is when being compared against the brand new AMD HD 7970. The 7970 is hands down much faster than the GTX 580 and it features 3GB of memory in the stock configuration. This card currently goes for around $549 to $600, depending on the vendor and the model. When comparing a $499 ENGTX580 against the HD 7970, it makes little sense to go with the older technology when there is only a $50 price premium for the faster product. The one thing that is going for Asus and the GTX580 is that rebates will get the price down to $479 or lower, and these cards are widely available. Plus they feature NVIDIA drivers.
It is still unknown when NVIDIA will release their next generation products, so if a tax return is burning a hole in a pocket, then these cards would make nice additions to any system. AMD will eventually be releasing the lower level products such as the 7800 and 7700 series. Does this mean that these cards are outdated? I really do not feel that way. If we look at overall performance in most new games as compared to upcoming offerings, they are still quite competitive. It is unlike what we have seen in years past where the jump from old tech to new was a near quantum leap in performance and capabilities. These cards will remain relevant and competitive for some time to come. For users on the edge of wanting something new now or just waiting for the next gen, if one of these cards strikes their fancy I think buyer’s regret will be pretty minimal as the months pass and new products hit the market.
Asus has made some pretty compelling parts and their overall quality is excellent. I had nothing but smooth sailing with all of the cards over the past several months of daily testing and use.