ASUS did a terrific job with the GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5, it really is a lovely card. The brute performance that the GeForce GTX 780 is able to deliver is nice, very nice. The addition of the new cooler keeps that card a good 10 to 15 degrees Celsius lower opposed to the reference cooler whist remaining pretty silent. Armed with features like DirectCU II, CoolTech Fan technology and a DIGI+ VRM with 10-phase it gives ASUS the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. And sure, overall the GeForce GTX 780 is already a surprisingly fast card,even the reference models.
Much like we stated in our reference review, we had a great time testing this graphics card. Coming from a GeForce GTX 680 you can expect a good 30% more performance and looking down from a GeForce GTX Titan, the performance difference is only roughly less then 5% and we even have seen a win over Titan here and there thanks to the fact that this card can boost to 1053 MHz on the GPU core mostly. That has everything to do with the factory clocks of this product versus power and temperature targets versus the dynamic Boost clock.
ASUS applied their updated DirectCUII cooling solution. This revision is a dual-slot solution which I think just looks great. The PCB is customized and I can spot merely quality components, lovely. The looks, well the cooler in its all black design, the two subtle and silent fans combined with a hint of red makes this a good looking package alright. Great looking and very sturdy I must state as well, there is a metal plate at the top of the card so the card can not bend when seated horizontally in the PC.
Cooling & Noise Levels
The NVIDIA reference coolers are great, but they follow the temperature target of 80 degrees C. With the DirectCU II, CoolTech Fan technology the GPU will get 425W of cooling power thrown at it. As a result the temperature target might remain 80 degrees C, but we have never seen the card pass 66 Degrees. An added benefit of that is that the dynamic clock frequency will go higher up to the point it reached its power target. So this is why the card is so close and sometimes a small notch faster then the GTX Titan. Noise wise I (and I am truly nitpicking here) I expected total silence. Fact remains that you can hear a bit of airflow when the GPU is under stress. Now it's close to nothing, but after reading all the marketing gobble on CoolTech Fan technology I expected the cooler perform bar nothing or at least get Parrot AR drone functionality :) But it remains a cooling solution that can be compared to the competition in terms of performance. Overall though, the cooling solution is really good, no mistake there.
Again not bad, the card is rated at as having a 250 Watt TDP, we measure pretty much 230 Watts. From the top of my head that's slightly below the number as GeForce GTX 580 had a two years ago. Compared to that product you have nearly double the performance at the same wattage. That 250 Watt TDP also will make running multi-GPU solutions a bit more easy. With two card we think an 800 Watt PSU would be sufficient. So while it's not great to have a GPU sucking up 250 Watt it could have been a lot worse, really. If you look at the dual-GPU based ARES II for example, that card alone draws 500 Watt / 250 Watt per GPU. So, perspective is the word I like you to keep in mind.
The card in most scenarios will be 5% to 2% slower than the GTX Titan, comparing towards GTX 680 it seems 30% maybe 35% faster. Drivers wise we can't complain at all, we did not stumble into any issues. And with a single GPU there's no micro-stuttering (if that ever bothered you) and no multi-GPU driver issues to fight off. Performance wise really there's not one game that won't run seriously good at the very best image quality settings. The one title that is a little icky is Metro Last Light, just disable SSAA as the game already applies and enforces in-game AAA. Gaming you must do with a nice 30" monitor of course, at 2560x1440/1600. I mean Sleeping Dogs at high quality is still oozing out 67 FPS there. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 54 FPS at 2560x1440 High quality and 2xMSAA? At these resolutions the GeForce GTX 780 offers just a phenomenal gaming experience with image quality that you can only get on a PC.
With the release of GTX Titan, GTX 780 and GTX 770 a thing or two have changed, the new boost modes now also can be configured with temperature targets relative to maximum power draw and your GPU Core frequency offsets. Saying that I realize it's sounds complicated, but you'll have your things balanced out quite fast. This GPU with the ASUS DirecTCUII cooler can take 1150 MHz fairly easily really, at that stage you added another 10% performance already. Our tweak made the GPU run at 1200 MHz depending on temperature, power draw and load. For a 7 Billion transistor en-counting product that is just impressive stuff really.
I just realized something, 7 billion transistors on this GPU. If you still wonder why Intel Haswell didn't get faster then Ivy bridge, Haswell has 1.4 Billion transistors just like Ivy Bridge. Intel simply wanted a cheap to produce processor as it seems. Ah well, I am wondering off.
Silky smooth and fluid framerates is what you'll get thanks to the tremendous horsepower at hand with this ASUS GTX 780. It does so while hardly making any noise and with dynamically adjustable temperatures you can decide yourself how hot your GPU may run. The card is a nice chunk faster compared to the GeForce GTX 680, 770 and the Radeon HD 7970 GHz edition. Compared to equivalent multi-GPU products that dynamic changes though but I'm not even certain if we should compare to that. If you opt the ASUS GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5 edition, then you are in for something unique. It's quite silent and runs at Titan like performance levels (with small offsets here and there). The board offers great looks and quality components. We love the backplate btw, as it makes the card sturdy and it remains horizontal while installed inside your PC (not bending through). Next to that there still remains to be room left for tweaking. Overall the product is just impressive and has great aesthetics. The product is slowly getting available in the stores then please be careful, there will be a normal and an OC edition, our sample specifically is the GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5 SKU. The MSRP pricing for the card is EUR 559.00 excl. VAT (US $659 incl. VAT / GBP £569 incl. VAT), and sure I concur that the price remains the only obstacle for this series, as with that budget it is out of reach for many. Don't forget to check out our other GeForce GTX 780 content & related downloads.
We reward the ASUS GTX 780 DirectCUII OC edition with our top pick award.
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