ASUS GTX570 DirectCU II EditionGeekspeak411 -
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Make no mistake folks, this is one hulking card. This is just about the largest factory design I have ever seen for any graphics card — it will collectively consume three expansion slots on your case, and makes little 6850 cards look like ants under a shoe. It’s a big card. Despite its size, build quality is superb. The casing is one hundred percent metal construction, including a back-mounted heat spreader on the rear of the card. It feels great and is very solid overall. It’s very ASUS-esque. After accepting the sheer size of the card, I actually rather like the size because the cooling capability should far exceed any other options out there. It is definitely not for everyone, but I could get used to it. The cooling is unique, if not a bit underutilized by the plain pitiful 10MHz factory overclock, but coupled with ASUS’ bundled SmartDoctor software suite, I should be able to jump ahead quite a bit further.
Despite the 3-slot cooling, the standard assortment of connections exists here — dual DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. The back end of the card is pretty plain, but definitely trim and muscular thanks to the metal housing. The same goes for both sides, which leave plenty of space for warm air to vent.
Along the side of the card sit two headers for SLI, enabling all kinds of multi-card goodness, and toward the rear end of the card are the two supplementary power connections in the form of a 6-pin and an 8-pin (a step up from the reference design).
I included the following two shots because I think they're a good testament to this card's build quality. It is tough to capture on camera, but the focus of the pictures is the big silver screw hole that's slightly recessed and ribbed around the edges. It is leveled perfectly with the surface of the heatspreadder and serves as a mounting area for the spring-loaded screws that attach around the GPU itself, preventing scratching and providing a very refined look all together. I've never seen such fine detail taken on a card like this before, so I had to share.
Removing the heatsink from the PCB was a fairly streamlined task. Once removed, I was greeted by gobs of mid-grade thermal paste on a well-machined surface. It wasn't the best machining job I've seen, but it will definitely get the job done. Removing the metal casing brings the two large fans in to focus and I've also included a picture of the heatsink next to a standard mini screwdriver to give a general idea of the size of these heatpipes — they're big.
ASUS didn't stop there with the cooling — also mounted on the board are two more supplementary heatsinks for the power system. As seen above, the entire back face of the card is covered with an aluminum backplate. This plate is not just for looks though, it serves as a gigantic heatsink, as well as a protective cover for the card, preventing shorts in the circuitry from clumsy fingers. On the top face, there's a thinner heatshink that sits happily underneath the primary. Both have a high quality thermal tape applied to them, serving thermal transfer duties.
With the heatsinks fully removed, I can finally get a good look at the GTX570 sitting in front of me. There's a ton of stuff going on — the power system is crammed in to about an inch of space, with the RAM in its usual spot surrounding the GPU core and the NEC chip sitting happily on the back.
Let’s check out the official specs of this card and then see if they stack up to the OCC Test Bench Suite!