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ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II Review

ccokeman    -   December 27, 2012
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HD 7970 3GB DirectCU II Conclusion:

As a package, the ASUS Direct CU II is a fully capable video card that is able to play pretty much every game on the market today, as it should. Besides gaming prowess, the HD 7970 DirectCU II first and foremost delivers truly outstanding cooling results that beat out Sapphire's vaunted Vapor-X cooling solution by up to 5°C under load for almost 10% in heat reduction. Over the reference cooled solution, the cooling performance up swing is on the order of 20% at stock clock and fan speeds, and 12% when the fan speeds are run at 100% when overclocked. Those are measurable results that meet the 20% target shown on the packaging. Impressive to say the least. ASUS's DirectCU II cooling solution is only part of the package that allows this package to work as well as it does. ASUS's Super Alloy Power components and all-digital DIGI+ VRM voltage controller on a custom PCB provide the means with which the power delivery is managed. In the power consumption tests, the HD 7970 DirectCU II proved to be more efficient than both a custom design and the reference solution.

With the cooling under control and an excellent 12-phase power management system in place, the ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II truly delivers for the overclocking enthusiast. Pushing the memory and core clocks up, I was able to reach overclocks of 22% on the GPU core at 1134MHz and 20%+ on the GDDR5 memory at 1669MHz. While you can use other tools, ASUS supplies its GPU Tweak software for the user to manage many aspects of overclocking, including the core clock speed, memory clock speed, fan speed, voltage control, and power target. The extreme enthusiast is also covered with this card, using ASUS VGA Hotwire to monitor and tweak voltages at a hardware level when paired alongside ASUS ROG Rampage IV Extreme and Maximus V Extreme motherboards.

The ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II I am looking at today is currently priced at $414 from online e-tailers. The pricing is at a point that is competitive with some designs that offer less in the way of build quality, but more in terms of base clock speed. Compared to MSI's HD 7970 Lightning, the HD 7970 DirectCU II from ASUS is priced $75 less. Overall, ASUS has put together a video card that has an expansive feature set with great gaming performance.

 

Pros:

  • DirectCU II cooling
  • Low noise
  • Super Alloy Power
  • DIGI+ VRM

 

Cons:

  • None
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