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ASUS EAH6870 DirectCU Review

RHKCommander959    -   January 17, 2011
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Conclusion:

Overall, the ASUS EAH5870 DirectCU performed terrifically. Using a fan rather than a blower motor saved a bit of noise pollution while still providing good cooling performance. The triple large heat pipe direct contact base also helped with effective heat transfer and the backplate made sure of evenly distributed pressures. Protective covers on the slots and ports was a nice touch and shows that care was put into the making of the card. The packaging was definitely enough to ensure it was safely transported. 1GB of GDDR5 memory is now the norm and it all overclocks pretty similarly. The memory runs cool enough that most manufacturers don't bother to cool the ICs. The 6870s aren't as fast as the prior generation 5870s because of design changes that cut out around 400 million transistors. But, upping the amount of stream processors and changing some key design elements to compensate for the overall decrease in transistor count does help. The overall design is quite a bit smaller and as thus cheaper to make for AMD. And, as testing shows, it was almost as good.

There were only two cons that I found overall. The backplate is flush with the PCB on the sides and as such doesn't allow some PCI Express slot latching mechanisms to engage fully and that causes the card to not sit properly in the slot. Secondly, the ability to change the voltage is there but currently does not work and is advertised as a feature. Hopefully soon, such voltage adjustments will be allowed. The latching problem is easily fixed by pulling the latch out if it does conflict, but that does require a minor amount of DIY spirit as I successfully removed a latch in a few seconds without doing any damage to the ASUS Sabertooth X58.

Boasting the highest overclocked core speed in the charts while not sounding like a jumbo jet/Hoover vacuum crossbreed is a great combination! Along with all of the additions that ASUS made, this is a strong choice for anyone looking at getting a 6870. The cooling performance was surprising as I figured it would do decent but didn't think it would fight its way to the top. Stellar performance but hopefully not at a stellar cost. That would make this card a complete winner!

 

Pros:

  • Factory Overclocked
  • Backplate
  • Dual DisplayPorts
  • Good cooling
  • Low operational temperatures
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Backplate may interfer with slot latching mechanisms
  • Voltage modulation not working (yet)
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