ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II OC
ASUS with its top end DirectCU II cards always has its special spin and tweaks to the GPUs they create. and today we have the newest on the uber high end with the GTX 780 based model which comes packed with a full custom design, cooler and components to allow for top level performance.
The GK110 Kepler Architecture
When it comes to the GPU the GK110 was originally employed on powerhouse server based processing systems designed for huge calculations and other ops where a GPU can provide huge performance. We first saw the GK110 as a consumer level part in the GTX TITAN, which was even still not the full GK110 you would see on a Tesla K20.
The GTX 780 sports GK110 that is just a little less than a TITAN as well; the TITAN will be the top end flagship single GPU card for the foreseeable future.
The GTX 780 from ASUS comes with a nice overclock but honestly it is a drop in the bucket to what I’m sure this card can actually do.
The ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II OC comes to market at $669.99 directly from Newegg at the time of writing which is quite a surprise honestly since normally a DCII model card carries a price premium but there are quite a few models that are more expensive than this one. This means that from just the marketplace appearance this could be a definite value for those looking for a top end card, but lets take a look further as to what you get for this hefty price tag.
Here you see a collaboration of the top performance features which make the DCII lineup the top cards when considering a GPU purchase.
New Aggressive Styling
Here you can see how the design for the 780 goes from the initial artistic design to the finished product and how the emphasis while being on performance also always exudes a feeling of style when picking up a DirectCU model card.
SAP (Super Alloy Power)
ASUS has great pride in the components they infuse into their graphics offerings, very much like the motherboards we have covered previously. ASUS has what’s called a SAP or Super Alloy Power, which covers the components in the very VRM we are discussing. The components are hand picked for quality and performance based around not only power delivery but efficiency as well. The components in the SAP solution are super durable for a rated lifespan of up to 2.5x what reference cards would offer.
Here we see the comparison of the reference model which has a 6 Phase VRM vs the DirectCU II OC model which employs the 8 Phase solution for enhanced power capability.
Here we see a short detailing of the SAP components and some short informational quips about how they help make for a better card. One thing here is that this is only the surface of what it is truly, as the SAP solution is a complete package of all of these components designed to work together giving not just higher power delivery than reference but also better voltage accuracy and efficiency through the digital voltage control and component selection and design.
Here is where you start to get some better detail of what each component is and what itt brings to the table so to speak. For instance the Inductors or Chokes as they are more widely known are selected for their ability to handle much higher power load while also maintaining much quieter operation as some hollow units or lower quality units you can get whats called inductor whine where when under varying loads you actually get anything from a buzz to a squeal from the unit.
Here we have some good detailing directly from ASUS, showing the improvement of the SAP choke component and how it is superior to other designs implemented presently. Other model chokes can make a whine or screeching sound due to the coil vibration, something we’re sure many enthusiasts and overclockers have heard before. The ASUS design has a sealed/filled core to inhibit vibration, which means noise free operation under extreme loading conditions. Another thing to remember is movement makes heat and friction, so less movement will mean cooler running components.
Here ASUS shows off its SAP selection for MOSFET components. These are designed to not only be more efficient but also have a higher power handling capability, which allows them to have extra head room for overclocking, should you really want to push the limit. Also note, the small package design of the SAP component as it is much smaller than the standard or generic MOSFET used on some standard or reference model cards. This allows for a larger VRM design to fit into a smaller space so that you can pack more punch without effecting the tight real estate within the chassis.
The SAP Solid state cap selection are Japanese units with a much higher MTBF than what you may see on other designs. These units are designed to have a very high expected lifetime, which allows users to rest assured that in their gaming rig with these components should have a nice happy life with a very low chance of failure for quite a long time (up to 2.5x as longer than competing components). For those of us that like to throttle our cards and really put the squeeze on them, this means we have the capability built in as the components are solid and reliable and ready to take a pounding.
DCII (Direct CU II)
ASUS DirectCU II coolers are the ASUS way of saying maximum cooling and plenty of quiet with one naming scheme. DirectCU II coolers are direct touch heatpipes to the GPU surface, ensuring the heat is wicked away from the GPU and up into the cooling fin array as quickly as possible. From there, the custom shrouded dual fans push air through the fins effectively but most important quietly to keep the GPU as cool as possible so hopefully it will never hit a temp to need a higher or noisier fan speed. The air pushing through the fin array also helps cool board components and the VRM as well, which is a nice little added bonus to this style cooler since we all know cooler components tend to run stronger, longer and with better efficiency.
As you see above the heatpipes on this cooler come directly to the GPU and pull the heat to the large aluminum fin area where it can be dissipated to the outside air. One thing worth noting is that chassis airflow to some degree is needed to pull the air exhausted by this card out since it does exhaust most of its expelled heat into the chassis directly. Also do notice that on this card there is a special super large heatpipe coming up around the top at 10mm and this thing is massive and just goes to show how ASUS is trying to maximize the performance from an already proven cooler design.
Here you can see a stylized image courtesy of ASUS showing all of the layers that make up the DirectCU II cooling solution on the card. From the backplate to bracing to PCB to cooler and fans all of it was designed to work well with the others.
Dust proof Fan Technology
You would think that by now everyone would know that one of the number one killer of a fan is the dirt and dust it comes into contact with. Many fans simply are not sealed in such a way that it can keep dust out and in many cases they are not sealed at all, and you can see the sensitive winding area clearly exposed just by looking at the gap.
Here you can see that the ASUS solution is not just sealing the hub from dust but having 2 levels of sealing which means that over the lifespan of the cooler you can expect a much lower likelihood that you will get the grinding or simply the failing that you normally get from the unprotected fan as seen above.
We cannot count how many times we have had a perfectly good card or cooler just to have it become useless because the fan died.
Here is something pretty neat and I think ASUS deserves innovation points here is with the new Cooltech fan which from my internal discussions with them I have been told had been in development for over a year from working with it to real implementation of the unit. This fan is in essence a blower fan in the center like you have seen on reference Nvidia GPUs in the past up to present and the outer blades are flower shape blades so that you get not only the power of an axial fan but the blower as well. Thew blower fan shoots straight outward laterally while the flower blade fans tend to push air through it or down and in through the cooling grid. What this means is that now when the fan is sunk down into the cooling fin array you not only shoot air though the fins downward and onto the PCB and MOSFET components but you shoot air out laterally to utilize the cooling fin area next to the fan maximizing cooling potential.
I know some will ask why not use two of these fans so I asked ASUS and their answer was what I assumed already which is that dual blower fans will actually fight against each other as the lateral air will crash into each other and cause unnecessary noise and turbulence so therefor a single unit handles that cross-flow with a standard fan in the second position. As you can see from the ASUS supplied image with the “Rice Test” they test a standard curve bladed fan design vs the Cooltech and you can see the airflow power at same RPM and the results are excellent for the Cooltech model.
These are the kind of innovations I have come to expect from ASUS and to also clearly explain why it was done is what going the extra mile is all about.
ASUS offers its own software utility and its functionality has grown with generations just like the cards it supports. Of course the card can be overclocked but also voltages can be tweaked and within the GPU Tweak app, we can even launch the GPU info utility which is a full custom version of GPUz. This is a really cool feature and a benefit especially to benchmarkers, who we can definitely see using this card with some of the awesome tweaks we will discuss in the card overview.
There are many tools within the GPU Tweak menus some a little more hidden than others. First off directly form the GPU Tweak utility itself you can check for BIOS updates and even update from within the program. For anyone who’s ever updated a vBIOS before knows that having a tool that can do this in a mere few clicks is really handy.
The charts besides offering real time monitoring can also be setup to log thermals, voltages and clocks so that after benchmark or gaming runs you can see if there was any thermal issues or throttling that may have affected performance.
There is also a special ASUS skinned version of GPU-Z that can be accessed as seen above when pressing the “GPU Info” button.
PCI-E Power LEDs
One really cool feature is that there are status LED’s on each PCI-E connector and these help you recognize that power is actively being sent to each connector of the card. (Note: picture is for reference purposes only as the card reviewed today employs only a single PCIe connector and single red and green LEDs)
The dual greens seen above indicate everything is working well. However if the PCI-E cable is not active or is not installed at all, it will give you the red light which tells you something is wrong. We could definitely see some value in this when diagnosing multi card setups or even single card issues. A dead PCI-E power cable could cause you to pull your hair out without these kinds of indicators.
Existing Kepler features
GPU Boost 2.0 -Thermals
Just as we saw on the TITAN, and then the 780, the 700 series cards carry the new GPU Boost 2.0 which offers even more flexibility in overclocking and even more control over how your card runs. If you want it to only run at a max of a certain temp you simply set that in the thermal target of the EVGA precision utility and the card does the rest. However if you can live with some more heat there is potential for more performance by simply adjusting the frequency and thermal target up a little.
The GPU boosting function is controlled largely by the GPU temps, which by default means the GPU will boost volts and clocks up until the thermal target of 80 C is reached. What is nice about this is that the user can control the thermal target, so if you are fine with your card loading up to 90C, you can raise the target temp to allow for even more overclock and even voltage headroom.
GPU Boost 2.0 – Voltage
Nvidia has employed GPU boost for some time and in simple terms it allows the GPU to overclock itself in situations where there is extra thermal and voltage headroom to spare. This was quite a good feature, but clocks could in some cases be rather erratic and varied greatly depending upon operating environment. Nvidia introduced the newest iteration of the GPU boost feature in TITAN, including a new way to control your card. In the new version, boost clock and voltage levels are directly tied to GPU temps, and therefore voltages can be pushed higher than before. Previously, some GTX680 models did not have a lot of voltage control options. Nvidia corrected this oversight by opening up the GPU Boost 2.0 to enable higher overvoltage options. As you can see, you have the standard boost clock which can already go higher with the sliding scale of the thermal targets, and then you factor in the higher level overvoltage, leading to an amazing amount of headroom.
Nvidia Display Overclocking
Another cool feature from Nvidia is the ability to overclock the display, which means you can push your display to higher refresh rates for even smoother performance from a display that normally may only be at 60Hz. One word of caution: not all displays will support the overclock, and there will likely be a limit as to how far they can be pushed so it will take a bit of trial and error to find where your display is happy at.
Kepler features a dedicated H.264 video encoder called NVENC. Fermi’s video encoding was handled by the GPU’s array of CUDA cores. By having dedicated H.264 encoding circuitry, Kepler is able to reduce power consumption compared to Fermi. This is an important step for Nvidia as Intel’s Quick Sync has proven to be quite efficient at video encoding and the latest AMD HD 7000 Radeon cards also feature a new Video Codec Engine.
Nvidia lets the software manufacturers implement support for their new NVENC engine if they wish to. They can even choose to encode using both NVENC and CUDA in parallel. This is very similar to what AMD has done with the Video Codec Engine in Hybrid mode. By combining the dedicated engine with GPU, the NVENC should be much faster than CUDA and possibly even Quick Sync.
- Can encode full HD resolution (1080p) video up to 8x faster than real-time
- Support for H.264 Base, Main, and High Profile Level 4.1 (Blu-ray standard)
- Supports MVC (multiview Video Coding) for stereoscopic video
- Up to 4096×4096 encoding
According to NVIDIA, besides transcoding, NVENC will also be used in video editing, wireless display, and videoconferencing applications. NVIDIA has been working with the software manufacturers to provide the software support for NVENC. At launch, Cyberlink MediaExpresso will support NVENC, and Cyberlink PowerDirector and Arcsoft MediaConverter will also add support for NVENC later.
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Improved Software Experience
Nvidia supplied us with some really cool software and also showed us some cool stuff that we can now show off to all of you!
Here you can see the GeForce Experience program, which is actually a very cool free software for GeForce users. Once you install the program it will scan your system hardware and all installed games, and then optimize your game settings for the best experience.
This may not seem like much, but think of it this way: When you go in and just crank up the settings, are you really running the game the best that your system can? Most likely not. The GeForce Experience program is a better alternative to guessing which settings will provide a balance of performance and eye-candy. This automatically sets up your system to run well, so you don’t have to.
Do note that the GeForce Experience software has been out for BETA for some time, but as of now is moving into full user ready state.
GeForce Experience – Shadowplay
Many of us have used various different forms of recording software such as FRAPS to show our gameplay to the world. But anyone who has done this knows the limitations, as the files quickly get huge and can take up a lot of disk space very quickly.
Nvidia will be adding a feature to the GeForce Experience called ShadowPlay which is a game recording software but with a very special capability. It uses the NVENC native H.264 encoder on the Kepler based GPUs to encode the gameplay footage in real time so that the files are smaller right from the start and quality remains excellent.
The Shadowplay software is expected to be publicly available around summer 2013, so we figure a few months and we can give this thing a run.
A Closer Look at the GTX 780 DirectCU II OC
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The ASUS box comes like the last few generation of TOP and OC cards with the red claw mark graphic, and a few key spec words to let you know whats up. the rear carries some key spec detailing but all in all pretty simple just some insight as to the key features.
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The accessories with the card are simple and to the point having a dual PCIe 6 pin to single 8 pin connector. This is in case you have an older PSU with only 6-pin connectors. You will use three total 6 pins to power the card: one with the onboard 6 pin connector and two via this adapter. However most modern PSU’s have at least a combo of one 8 pin PCIe and one 6 pin PCIe connector to service just this kind of setup. also there is an extended SLI bridge in case you are running a pair of these cards on a long spacing board you are ready for that and of course the DVD/Manuals.
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The card overall has the full fan shroud like many other DirectCU II cards we have seen in the past with dual fans ready to blast heat away. You can see some of the huge heatpipes peeking out form the cooler shroud those are used to carry heat away from the GPU and keep the card really cool just remember that alot of that heat goes into the case so have some airflow to get it knocked out.
One thing worth noting is to notice the difference between fans as the one closest to the IO is the Cooltech model which is the one we discussed earlier which is a combo of flower blade and a hub that is a blower fan. The further out fan is a standard blade axial fan which works together for maximum cooling performance.
The display connectivity is about standard for what we have seen on the Kepler based lineup:
- 2x DVI
- 1x HDMI
- 1x Displayport
This all-digital connector arrangement allows for maxing out the GPU with up to 4 displays and even a surround plus accessory display array should the need arise.
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Like the GTX 770 DCII the 780 Comes fully equipped with a functional backplate designed and mounted directly to the PCB itself to offer extra stiffness to the card. By stiffening the PCB it prevents the card from drooping or flexing during operation when installed. Otherwise you can get poor contact with cooling components which will lead to higher temps. Also notice that the cooler screws pass right thru the backplate so that removal of the cooler for cleaning does not require removal of the backplate.
At the end of the card you find a small 6 pack array of holes which are not exactly mentioned much, but these are for the VGA Hotwire function. When wires are soldered into these, a VGA Hotwire-enabled motherboard can control the GPU at a hardware level for more fine adjustments and control than software can offer.
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As always, we did a card teardown to see what lay underneath the cooler. Any of you who have seen our teardowns before know that the cooler base of the DCII cooler is very nice with large direct touch heatpipes, and a super smooth and flat cooler base. It is also worth noting that the cooler comes off with just 4 screws, which means if you ever want to remove it, it is not hard at all. Do notice the extra large heatpipe comeing from up top as this has to be one of the largest heatpipes I have ever seen used at this point.
The PCB itself is a custom design from ASUS and you can see the VRM is quite sizable but all we see are caps and chokes due to the large MOSFET cooling in place. This large MOSFET cooler is good since under loads like Heaven-looping the VRM can get quite warm. Having this cooler in place, paired with the airflow from the DCII cooler keeps things much cooler not just the GPU.
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Here you see that after pulling the card apart we took the backplate off just to see how involved it was and how much rigidity it added to the card. It is held to the card at 13 points with specific areas that touch at the rear of the GPU area just to help stiffen it as the cooler is pressing from the other side. A lighter grey silk screening on the backplate denotes the card as a ASUS DCII unit, which is directed in such a way that when installed in a system is readable. We do wish they had actually written the model of the card, for those who like to show off their hardware through windowed cases.
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Here you now see the bare card with the MOSFET cooler removed and the backplate pulled as well. You can see the large 10 Phase VRM in place with the top choice components for the DIGI+ VRM and also the placement of the digital controller. All of this is fed by the supplemental 6 and 8 pin PCIe connectors which must both be connected for proper function.
The VRM here you get a close look at the component lineup and you can see the whole monster VRM including the high performance 5K caps ready to push this GPU to the limits.
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The DIGI+ controller works its magic to allow ultra precise control of the power going into the card to ensure excellent and super tight power regulation while also allowing plenty of power once again at precise control being fed when pushing the clocks to ensure the card will exhibit excellent stability like you would expect from a custom built ASUS card.
The memory on the ASUS card is Samsung K4G20325FD-FC03 which are rated at 6GHz actual frequency and this card ensures it will do every bit of that and then some.
Here you see the overall card stripped of cooler just to give you an idea of the clean and simple layout even for a advanced custom model like this.
The OS we use is Windows 8 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows Vista occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
We ran each test a total of 3 times, and reported the average score from all three scores. Benchmark screenshots are of the median result. Anomalous results were discounted and the benchmarks were rerun.
Please note that due to new driver releases with performance improvements, we rebenched every card shown in the results section. The results here will be different than previous reviews due to the performance increases in drivers.
|CPUs||Intel XEON E5-2687W|
|Motherboards||ASUS Rampage IV Extreme|
|Ram||Kingston HyperX Beast 64GB (8x8GB) 2133Mhz 11-12-11 Quad-Channel Kit|
|CPU Cooler||Custom Liquid Cooling|
|Hard Drives||8x Western Digital RE4 2TB 7200RPM 3Gb/s Hard Drives (Raid 5)|
|SSD||3x Kingston HyperX 240GB SATA III 6Gb/s SSD|
|GPU||ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC 3GB Video CardNvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video CardNvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB Video CardNvidia GeForce GTX 680 2GB Video CardNvidia GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB Video CardNvidia GeForce GTX 690 4GB Video Card|
|GeForce Drivers||320.14 (GTX 680, 690 and TITAN) 320.18 (GTX 780, 770)|
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475W Gold|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Theron Gaming Mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS Meks G1 Illuminated|
Synthetic Benchmarks & Games
We will use the following applications to benchmark the performance of the ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC video card.
|Far Cry 3|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0|
|Batman Arkham City|
|Dirt 3 Showdown|
|Metro Last Light|
|Sniper Elite V2|
Here you can see in 3DMark 11 the ASUS GTX 780 pulls a nice lead over the reference card and thats with only a mild clock out of the box.
In 3DMark Firestrike and Extreme, the ASUS 780 pulls easy leads as well and holds a nice lead across both testing environments.
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.
Heaven shows a quite good jump for the ASUS 780 gets a little over 1 FPS over the reference card and about 14+FPS over the last gen GTX 680 flagship card.
Far Cry 3
Moving over to Far Cry 3, we used a pre determined path and re-ran each card to monitor average FPS across the complete run. Each run was completed multiple times to ensure continuity and accuracy. The ASUS 780 easily keeps over 30 FPS and stays perfectly playable with no noticeable hitches or stutters whatsoever at maximum possible graphics settings.
Even after many years, Metro 2033 is still one of the most demanding DX11 video games available to really push the limits of your system. Here the ASUS 780 runs beautifully which is amazing since I remember the 5 series GTX 580′s which simply could not even think of running metro at max settings.
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham City is a fun game and utilizes FXAA fully. It is nice to see the full screen anti-aliasing getting picked up by popular titles. When it comes to performance, the ASUS 780 pulls a full FPS over the reference card and 8 FPS over the previous gen top Single GPU Nvidia card.
Crysis 3 is much like the original Crysis in that playing it at max settings is painful for even the highest end hardware. The ASUS 780 here pulls in just behind the TITAN and I am betting that with a little overclocking you will see it possibly even surpass the TITAN which is excellent due to the 300 dollar plus cost savings by choosing a 780.
Metro Last Light
Here we have Metro Last Light which is a brand new game added to our testing platform as it just came out. If you thought Metro 2033 was stressful, you have seen nothing yet. The particles and lighting, as well as the PhysX effects all add up to an amazing looking game that can put a stun even the most powerful system in its tracks. Here the ASUS 780 sees a very fair average but it still gets dips into lower areas where small stutters can happen so I would say once again for Metro Last Light at absolute top settings you’re gonna want a second card to ensure you have the GPU power to drive Last Light to the way its meant to be seen.
Sniper Elite V2
Sniper Elite V2 is a fun game which, when first released, was quite stressful but still playable on most higher end cards. By now, most cards have surpassed it, and all of the cards we are testing here today break the 100 FPS mark. The ASUS 780 pulls well over the 100 FPS mark and not even a hint of a stutter is seen here.
Dirt 3 Showdown
Dirt 3 Showdown is a visually beautiful game with excellent lighting and overall motion blurring creating a real visual spectacle of a game. The ASUS 780 shows over 80 FPS easily and is super smooth. The game is beautiful and the 780 has no issue at full settings to show the game just as its meant to be seen.
The new Kepler Architecture with GPU boost has been a bit of a bear when it comes to pushing the clocks. This is due to the throttling mechanisms put in place and the fact that it dynamically clocks. Unlike 500 series where we could set a static clock and it just applied the card, Kepler clocks according to many variables, which means that much more care must be shown when applying overclock settings and even monitoring it during the run.
Things such as the thermal target can play a big role in stonewalling your performance during an overclock session, as everything has to be adjusted accordingly to ensure expected performance levels are met.
The ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II card had no issues and jumped from a standard boost clock setting of 941 to 1150 without as much as a hiccup and it accomplished this with a maximum observed boost clock of 1241 MHz which is huge.and allows for even better performance. What is did find very cool is that even with the overclock reaching this high of a state the max observed thermal from the GPU was 66C which means there is plenty of headroom there but I am betting the GPU would simply require sub ambient cooling long before you reach the limit of the DirectCU II Cooler.
The memory jumped to a super high clock of 7300MHz with full stability and that is not bad at all for 6GHz rated IC’s. The memory clock helped push out 3DMark Xtreme score to over 5600 to a final score of X5640 as you can see above and that in itself is quite impressive as well since you know you have a very large margin for improved performance if you want to take the time and find where your card will go and be happy at.
To measure the temperature of the video card, we used ASUS GPU Tweak (Validated with EVGA Precision X) and ran Heaven Benchmark in a loop to find the Load temperatures for the video cards. The highest temperature was recorded. After looping for 10 minutes, Heaven was turned off and we let the computer sit at the desktop for another 10 minutes before we measured the idle temperatures.
|GPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|Nvidia GTX 690||32C/81C|
|Nvidia GTX TITAN||31C/67C|
|Nvidia GTX 680||31C/72C|
|Nvidia GTX 780||30C/65C|
|Nvidia GTX 770||34C/79C|
|ASUS GTX 780 DCII OC||30C/62C|
The DirectCU II cooler on the 780 surprised me as the GPU never topped 62C but for very small spikes and even when overclocked topped at 66C. Now this is with the fan at auto and I’m sure that with the fan full tilt it could do better but in reality how many people are going to game that way?
This is amazing that the cooler can keep such good thermals even at top air clocks, but also at the same time I am not super surprised as I have used many DCII cards at this point and their performance being awesome does not really jump out to me like it used to as its just what I have come to expect. However this is a double edged sword as I now expect other custom solutions to do the same and sometimes they cannot so that is something that other manufacturers need to learn from is how to balance comfort and performance for a top card.
To get our power consumption numbers, we plugged in our Kill A Watt power measurement device and took the Idle reading at the desktop during our temperature readings. We left it at the desktop for about 15 minutes and took the idle reading. Then we ran Heaven Benchmark for a few minutes minutes and recorded the highest power usage.
Here the ASUS 780 pulled a bit more than the reference 780. But for the performance you get a couple watts is not gonna be a deal killer here. Normally I have seen where ASUS cards pull a bit less than reference but in this case it pulls slightly more.
Our Final Thoughts
ASUS always finds a way to add a special twist to its GPU offerings. Whether it is a specially designed cooler, PCB or even something like the Direct Power device found on some recent cards they always find what are issues that don’t necessarily cause a huge problem but in the strive for perfection they simply cannot leave it alone and must make sure the up most potential is available.
This kind of innovation I have seen from ASUS consistently and not just with GPUs but also with Motherboard offerings via the ROG line. Now to see such things as the inclusion of a single Cooltech fan just to ensure the cooling fins to the side of the fan was being used to its fullest os really cool and just another way ASUS shows its ability to innovate and think of new ways to push the performance envelope just a little further.
The addition of the VGA Hotwire connectivity on the 780 tells me that ASUS wants to continue the ability to fully modify and push the limits of the top end products for some time to come as they push to innovate new ways to offer better performance to extreme enthusiasts. With the 8 series chipset and the introduction of the OC Panel now you have a tool that can perform the VGAHotwire control over GPUs on a remote device which means that it will be open to a lot more users rather than having it stuck only on a top end 300+ dollar board.
Anyone looking to jump into the GK110 based cards and not wanting to spend 1K on a TITAN the 780 is a great card and the ASUS model is even better with so many tweaks and so much capability just waiting to be exploited, if you’re looking for the next level in your game, you have now met it so grab one up and see what you can do.