The Asus HD 7790 DirectCU II

Now we get to our final offering of this roundup.  Asus is pretty proud of their products, and they have a very rabid following among users.  The primary reason for this is… Asus makes some pretty nice cards.  The HD 7790 DCII is probably the most tricked out of the group that we are looking at today. 

The PCB is again mostly reference, but about the biggest change is that it rotates the power plug so it sits off the back end of the card rather than along the top edge.  Component choices match, if not slightly exceed, that of the MSI board.  Again, this card does not pull a whole lot of power, so we are looking at quality and longevity rather than focused on high current/heat usage scenarios.

The outputs are exactly the same as on the MSI board, and I again feel that it is an optimal configuration.  It again keeps the single 6 pin power connection as the board is rated at 80 watts TDP.  The back plate again has slots for air to pass through.

The biggest feature is of course the cooling for this particular product.  DCII is similar to what the other manufacturers have done in that the two heatpipes are in direct contact with the GPU, and then those help to spread the heat throughout the rest of the heatsink.  These are two large 8 mm heatpipes feeding a large aluminum heatsink with two 80 mm fans.  The heatsink also has a slightly larger aluminum base plate to enable better thermal transfer.  It is certainly a nice sized unit when it comes to cooling the GPU.

The packaging it comes in is again very adequate for the job.  It is double boxed with plenty of foam to keep the card safe.  It does not seem as robust as the Galaxy packaging, but it is close enough.  This particular model comes with the driver disk, manual, a CrossFire ribbon, and finally a DVI to VGA adapter.  It skips out on the PCI-E power cable adapter, but that is perfectly fine in this day and age.  Users would be hard pressed to find a machine that could run this card without a PCI-E power cable.  Unless of course an OEM truly skimped out on their machine.

Asus provides their own utility for overclocking in GPU Tweak.  This is almost on par with MSI’s Afterburner, and they seem to get closer every revision of the software.  The drivers on the disk are of course older than the latest WHQL or Beta Catalysts on the web, but it is a nice gesture for those without a solid internet connection.

Speaking of overclocking, Asus is pretty aggressive with their clocks right out of the box.  The core is at 1075 MHz and the memory is pumped up to 1600 MHz (6400 effective).  This gives the Asus card a nice bandwidth boost up to 102.4 GB/sec.  While not nearly as fast as the GTX 650 Ti BOOST due to the 192 bit bus, it is a nice little jump from the stock 1500 MHz that most cards run.  Not only is it quick, but it looks pretty nice too.  The HD 7790 is not a glamorous card to begin with, and it is not heavy enough to require backplate supports like the HD 7970 or GTX 770/780 models.  Still, the scheme and design make it look pretty nice and would be an asset to any windowed case.

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