Plus one GTX 670…

ASUS has a new batch of DirectCU II cards based on the latest NVIDIA GPUs

Brand new GPU architectures are typically packaged in reference designs when it comes to power, PCB layout, and cooling.  Once manufacturers get a chance to put out their own designs, then interesting things happen.  The top end products are usually the ones that get the specialized treatment first, because they typically have the larger margins to work with.  Design choices here will eventually trickle down to lower end cards, typically with a price point $20 to $30 more than a reference design.  Companies such as MSI have made this their bread and butter with the Lightning series on top, the Hawk line handling the midrange, and then the hopped up reference designs with better cooling under the Twin Frozr moniker.

ASUS has been working with their own custom designs for years and years, but it honestly was not until the DirectCU series debuted did we have a well defined product lineup which pushes high end functionality across the entire lineup of products from top to bottom.  Certainly they had custom and unique designs, but things really seemed to crystallize with DirectCU.  I guess that is also the power of a good marketing tool as well.  DirectCU is a well known brand owned by Asus, and users typically know what to expect when looking at a DirectCU product.

DirectCU II is the latest iteration of this product line, and it encompasses several important features which differentiate these cards from the reference designs.  First and foremost these are usually performance oriented parts which typically come out of the box overclocked.  The PCB design and layout is custom to ASUS, and the power delivery systems are upgraded from what is typically offered on reference designs.  Longevity is of great concern for Asus, and they populate these boards with higher end components which are designed to last a long time, even under the extra strain of overclocking.  Finally we have upgrading cooling which is a hallmark of DirectCU II, which of course is the very basis for the name “DirectCU”.  DirectCU describes the method of cooling a GPU.  Copper heatpipes directly touch the GPU so the maximum amount of cooling and dissipation can be achieved.  The heatpipes take the heat from the GPU and evenly spread it out along the large number of aluminum fins.  Copper is an excellent conductor of heat while aluminum dissipates heat into air much more efficiently.  This combination is considered to be the best usage of both metals in a cost effective manner.

From top to bottom: 780, 770, 760, and 670.  Sorta obvious, really.

The release of the latest GTX 700 series of GPUs from NVIDIA has allowed ASUS to revamp their DirectCU II lineup with some very interesting products.  Today we are covering the GTX 760, GTX 670 Mini, GTX 770, and the mighty GTX 780.  All of these products have something unique to offer the marketplace, and have addressed one of the bigger issues that plagued the DirectCU II line in general.

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