Aftermarket performance for an affordable price
The DirectCU II TOP range of graphics cards from ASUS is undoubtedly in the upper echelon of elite cards on the market. While MSI’s Lightning series is often thought of as higher end, the DirectCU II delivers similar features for a more affordable price and the 7970 variant is no exception.
ASUS's huge cooler has lots of overclocking potential.
The 7970 DirectCU II is fitted with a massive, over-the-top cooler, something we’ve come to expect from the series. Interestingly, when we removed the cooler we noticed two of the five heatpipes don’t actually touch the GPU core -- presumably a problem caused by reusing the same heatsink design from its Nvidia GTX 580 DirectCU II card.
Featuring a factory-overclocked frequency of 1,000MHz core and 1,400MHz memory, a solid increase of 75MHz and 25MHz over the reference 7970, this card is built with raw power in mind. While this is still a hefty 70MHz behind MSI’s Lightning 7970, those bold enough to manually overclock their card should find themselves over 1,200MHz with relative ease.
Also of note are an abundance of output ports, with two DVI ports accompanied by four full-size DisplayPort connectors, supporting EyeFinity configurations of up to six screens from a single graphics card. Unfortunately, due to the massive form factor of the cooler, users are limited to two-way CrossFire configurations on most motherboards.
The ASUS DirectCU II TOP is a perfect candidate for those wanting the ultimate single-card gaming experience.
Special features :
Pros : Great overclocking potential, six-screen EyeFinity support.
Cons : Physically huge, large cooler limits multi-card options.
Verdict : 8 out of 10. Highly recommended!
Available from ASUS, retailing for $580.