ASUS GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP ReviewRHKCommander959 - October 9, 2012
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With the DirectCU II heat sink installed, this card is hard to distinguish from other models from ASUS with the same setup. This is the GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP edition, with a GK106 Kepler core built at 28nm with 2.54 billion transistors comprising 768 CUDA cores, 1GB of GDDR5 memory with a 128-bit memory bus, and 4+1 SAP power phases. The DVI and PCIe x16 slot are protected by blue caps, the 6-pin PCIe power, VGA, and HDMI port are left open. Two smaller grills surround the top DVI port to let some of the air out of the case; positive pressure designs are beneficial here. The rear of the card is primarily the heat sink overhanging, with the 6-pin PCIe power connection exiting the side and upside-down even for easier unplugging. Two diagnostic LEDs sit above the connector near the notch in the PCB, which is for the PCIe port latch. A nice ASUS logo sits underneath. Nearby is part of the stiffening bracket.
The red stripes and chrome letterings are all textured nicely. The smokey translucent fan impellers sit off center to the card. It looks like the heat sink could have been shortened with some reworking. Nonetheless this is a great looking card. At the bottom right of the PCIe x16 slot is a golden ASUS logo similar to what was seen on the boxes. The back shows how much overhang the DirectCU II has — more than half of the second fan is hanging over. Small case owners should check to make sure that the card will fit as this is about the size of a normal high performance card. Four empty pads sit on the back where a second gigabyte of memory ICs could have been installed. All phases are installed (4+1). The heat sink is held on by four screws with springs to even out the pressure.
Underneath of the cooler there is a decent amount of space. Four screws — two on each side — hold the black and red-striped shroud to the heat sink. Both PWM fans are joined and connect into one port. SLI is not supported with this model so there is no slot here, but the stiffening bracket is still notched for one. The bracket and the shroud both have the ASUS logo for double the amount of shiny branding.
Removing the heat sink shows how simple this design is compared to prior generations. SAP components such as the chokes, which are engraved, should provide cooler operation, less noise both power-wise and audibly (no buzzing!), and increased power efficiency. The GK106 Kepler GPU die sits off-center surrounded by memory ICs and phases. Four phases power the GPU while one takes care of the memory. The die is built at TSMC on the 28nm fabrication process, which has been behind on supply. 768 CUDA cores and four SMX units, 64 texture units, and 16 ROP units make up the power plant, with the TOP model clocked at 1033MHz and does not feature Boost. Four Hynix memory ICs provide 1GB of GDDR5 to the card and are connected through dual 64-bit memory controllers — a 128-bit memory interface. The memory is lead- and halogen-free and RoHS compliant. The memory is rated for operation at 1.50GHz with 1.6V so that leaves a decent amount of potential headroom for overclocking as they are under-clocked to 1350MHz.
The DirectCU heat sink uses three flattened heat pipes to wick heat away from the GPU core directly. This design has been on the CPU market for quite a while now and has proven to perform well. The second fan and fin assembly sit behind beyond where most of the PCB lies when installed; this has the potential to cool motherboard components. It also means less air resistance for this fan, equating to less noise and more efficiency. The dual fan design is able to run at lower RPMs and thus lower noise levels to achieve good cooling versus loud blower motors or high-RPM fans. Proper thermal paste reapplication is placing thermal paste into the grooves between the heat pipes to ensure the most contact and coverage possible. It is also very important to get paste on the whole GPU core to avoid hot spots! The memory is not cooled except for air passing over the ICs.
Behind the 6-pin PCIe connection are two LEDs, one green and one red. When proper power is applied the green LED comes on. When something is wrong however, the red light comes on to alert users. This is a nice feature that likely cost little to implement; it can help identify damaged or loose connectors. It also saves time for consumers who might think it is the card being bricked rather than a power-side issue.
Super Alloy Components are reinforced with a specially developed alloy formula and produced under high pressure and temperatures. These components are designed to deliver noise-free operation, reduce temperatures up to 35 °C, increase lifespan to 150,000 hours, and boost performance up to 15% with the Super Hybrid Engine.
The next page lists the specifications and features of the GTX 650 Ti.