Review Index:

ASUS DirectCU II Updated Lineup: NVIDIA GTX 700 Series Edition

Author: Josh Walrath
Manufacturer: Asus


Can’t get enough GK104?  Me neither!  The GTX 760 was recently released and it is one of the more interesting cards of this entire roundup.  The GTX 760 is a more heavily cut down version of GK104 and it features 1152 CUDA cores.  It carries the 32 ROPS but cuts down on the texture units so that there are now 96 of them as compared to 128 in a fully functional core.  It still uses the full 256 bit memory bus feeding 2 GB of GDDR-5.  The clockspeed of the memory is back down to 6000 MHz (effective) which gives it around 192 GB/sec of bandwidth.

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Asus has again slightly overclocked this card so that instead of a base clock of 980 MHz and a boost of 1033, it is clocked at 1006 MHz and 1072 MHz respectively.  Asus keeps the memory clock at stock for this particular product.

There are several things that stand out about this card.  The first is that it has a very small PCB.  This is in fact the same PCB design that we see in the GTX 670 Mini that I will cover next.  It is powered by the PCI-E slot as well as a single 8 pin PCI-E cable.  This should allow around 175 watts of power to be delivered to the card in this particular configuration.  Even though this is a small PCB, ASUS has outfitted it with the standard 2 DVI, 1 HDMI, and 1 DisplayPort connections that the other, larger cards also feature.

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ASUS does not skimp on the components or the design of this card either.  It features the entire Super Alloy Power lineup of components that we have covered earlier.  It still uses the low profile caps on the back of the PCB right behind the GPU so as to provide as much clean power as possible.  It is a fully custom PCB that is optimized for space and performance.  The heatsink and fan are new, but they still follow many of the features of their larger brethren.  These 80 mm units are again not Cooltech based, but they seem to get the job done.  The heatsink features four heatpipes, two of which are 8 mm units.

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There is one major addition that ASUS provides for this card to give it a bit more oomph, even with a smaller PCB design.  ASUS calls it “Direct Power”.  Let me cover a little background first.  Graphics cards are made anywhere from 6 to 12 layers on the PCB.  Each layer contains traces that can be power, ground, or data.  Generally the fewer the layers, the less expensive the PCB will be.  Fewer layers also means potentially more complex routing to get power, ground, and data traces to where they need to be.  Fewer layers can also mean less power is being delivered to components effectively.  Direct Power gets around this by implementing a standalone conduit that bridges the GPU.  This design allows better distribution of power around the area where the GPU is soldered down.  PCBs with 10 to 12 layers typically do not need such a piece, but this particular implementation could benefit greatly from it.

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The styling is in the new DCII vein, so it is quite pleasing to the eye.  It again is a very small card, but with the cooler being larger than the PCB it does not give the impression of being “dinky” or petite.  It is a solid looking number which should perform quite well considering the price range.  Speaking of price range, this sells for $260 US.  It is $10 more expensive than a reference card, but the differences in design and build are pretty significant.  It is a mainstream card, so it does not feature extra power phases as compared to the reference designs, but ASUS is certainly hoping that the upgraded components will let this card exceed the overclocking performance of reference cards.

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Draw me like one of your Guillemot cards...

August 16, 2013 | 05:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The fact that every card has a new cooler except for the GTX 770 really irritates me...

August 16, 2013 | 05:22 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

It is a new cooler on the GTX 770, because the previous GTX 680 had the triple slot number.  It is unfortunate that they did not update the shroud though to match those of the 780 and 760.

August 16, 2013 | 06:04 PM - Posted by Bogdan (not verified)

Great cards these GTX780 Direct CUs. I've been a little hasty on getting the MSI GTX690 reference card early this March (got a great discount on it though :-) . It's not overclocked (for acoustic and temperature reasons), but on a 60Hz 1080p SAMSUNG monitor displays everything beautifully, with all eye-candy maxed out. Constant 60FPS with V-Sync on for great image quality - that is on every game I played so far. No need for overclocking yet! If I hadn't bought this GTX690 beauty, I most definitely would have gone for ASUS's GTX780. Thanks for this review, Josh. Great job. All the best!

PS: Might wanna check Min/Avg colour bars on Unigine Heaven benchmarks page.

March 21, 2014 | 06:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I had just gotten one of these card myself and I have had problems with it. It goes unresponsive. As soon as I put back in my gtx 680 no problems so i was wondering whether it was the card so i wend and returned it and the next one did the same thing. So I had my friend let me borrow his GTX 770 this was a EVGA version I put that thing in and I had absolutely no problems what soever so keep this in mind.

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