The ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP edition card is amazingly powerful and also carries a very stout design. The card itself is extremely solid with the DirectCU II cooler and bracket tying directly to the backplate. The overall design makes for a solid card that should have little to no PCB issues when installed in the chassis. Its sturdy build ensures that it can stand up to punishment.
The feature set of the HD 7970 DirectCU II Top is vast and very usable from the basic gamer to the extreme enthusiast. The DirectCU II cooler keeps temps nice and cool, ensuring a lot of headroom should you want to overclock the card. VGA Hotwire gives the power to you to hardware mod the card without the need for trimmers or finding a voltage mod point. The HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP edition card is a triple slot design, so multi-card installation could be problematic depending on the platform. The usage of dual cards should not be much of an issue but when installing 3 way or even 4 way CrossFire, you might going to need some sort of PCI-E flexible extenders as the triple slot cooler simply makes the card far too thick to fit with proper spacing. This kind of configuaration could be achieved by placing an LN2 pot on the card and removing the IO bracket, thereby eliminating the fitment issue entirely.
The HD 7970 DirectCU II is positioned in a unique spot to take on the GTX 680 head on. With some overclocking, you could easily eclipse the GTX 680 and get some excellent gaming performance from the card.
When assessing the value of a product many things need to be considered, such as where in the market is this card targeted. Taking into consideration the target market, the feature set, and the added value of the features, the card is very well priced. It is expensive, without a doubt, but with the value gained by the features, the card is well worth the expense. However, keep in mind that as with any special edition card, availability is limited. so if you do not need the super screened TOP GPU you can get away with shaving about ten dollars off teh bill and get the standard clocked model which still carries all of the special features that the TOP does but without the guaranteed GPU binning you get from the TOP models.
|OUR VERDICT: ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP|
|Summary: The ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP is a solid performer with plenty of overclocking headroom and performance to spare. For this it receives the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.|