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ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB GPU Review
ASUSTeK Computer Inc. is one of the largest and most successful computer hardware manufacturers in the world. A Taiwanbased company, it manufactures a wide variety of computer hardware, including motherboards, video cards, optical drives, notebooks, networking equipment, barebones desktop, and server systems, among many others.
On our test bench today is the brand new ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB video card. What makes this video card special Well, it has 4GB of RAM on board versus the standard 2GB. This evaluation is Part 1 of our look at the GTX 670 4GB. This initial evaluation focuses on a baseline performance under single display, and overclocking potential. We will see if the 4GB of RAM shows any difference under single display operation when pushed to the max, and then how it compares to reference GTX 670 and price equivalent AMD comparison to see if there is any advantage. Following this review, one week from now, will be Part 2 where we take two of these video cards with SLI and test at full NV Surround triple display resolutions. So stay tuned for the SLI NV Surround evaluation next week.
NVIDIA released its new GeForce GTX 670, codenamed Kepler on May 10th, 2012. The Kepler GK104 architecture is much like its Fermi predecessor. The GeForce GTX 670 has 7 SMX clusters which each have 192 CUDA cores inside and a control logic which has a reduced size. The GPU is built using 28nm technology. The GeForce GTX 670 is also built on a much smaller PCB than we have grown accustomed to.
The GeForce GTX 670 itself is comprised of 3.54 billion transistors packed into 1344 CUDA cores with a default clock speed of 915MHz. The GeForce GTX 670 also has a boost clock which it will increase to during graphically demanding applications and guarantees at least 980MHz. There are a total of 8 geometry units and 112 texture units, along with 32 ROPs. This video card also uses the new PolyMorph 2.0 Engine which NVIDIA claims has 4x the tessellation performance of the Radeon HD 7970.
The GeForce GTX 670 is designed to be paired with 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256bit bus, running at 1502MHz for a 6.0Gbps data rate and a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 192.2GB per second. The typical board power is 170W which will work with the advanced diagnostics to create more efficient and lower overall power consumption. A standard GeForce GTX 670 only requires two 6pin PCIE connectors. It can support up to 4 displays on a single video card, with one Dual Link DVII connector, one Dual Link DVID connector, one HDMI connector and one DisplayPort connector.
What makes the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB unique, is that ASUS has implemented 4GB of memory on to the board instead of only 2GB. This is great news for multidisplay gaming. Having extra memory will mean more efficient aliasing, and better performance at higher resolutions. In this evaluation we will be trying to determine whether the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB has any performance benefit compared to a reference GeForce GTX 670 with only 2GB of memory. We will be using three recently released games, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, and Sleeping Dogs. These three games have extremely demanding graphics settings. This evaluation is going to be focusing on single display performance of the video card. We will be following this review up soon with the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB in a SLI configuration. The follow up review will focus on SLI performance as well as multidisplay gaming, and how the 4GB helps handle higher resolutions and higher AA levels.
Something to keep in mind about the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB is the lack of a factory overclock. The video card ships to run at 915MHz, with a boost clock of 980MHz, the same as a reference GeForce GTX 670. The 4GB of memory is also running at the same factory default speed of 1502MHz or 6GHz GDDR5. The lack of a factory overclock does not spell doom for this video card, because ASUS usually delivers quality products with excellent overclocking capability. We will be using the ASUS GPU Tweak overclocking program in order to push the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GBs clock speeds to its highest potential.
The most common feature on the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB is the DirectCU II cooling system. We have seen this cooling system outfitted on every GeForce GTX 600 video card from ASUS. It has proved time and time again that it delivers cooler temperatures than reference models, while remaining remarkably quiet. The cooling system is made up of several components. First, there are three copper heat pipes directly contacting the GPU. These heat pipes spread to five locations on the heat sink. The heat sink is also a unique part of this system. It is elevated off the PCB so that no heat is not spread to it. This also allows more airflow beneath it to remove heat buildup. There are also two light weight, 11 blade fans. These fans are designed to push massive amounts of air over the finned heat sink, while performing silently.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB video card also sports highend Super Ally Components. One of these components is a Super Hybrid Engine that switches between high and low intensity power profiles providing a 15% performance boost. The Super Alloy Capacitors can increase the video cards lifespan to 150,000 hours about 17 years or 2.5 times longer than traditional capacitors. The Super Alloy Chokes work hand in hand with the DirectCU II cooling system to deliver 35 degree Celsius cooler operations compared to the reference design.
The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GB video card is currently available at Newegg for $439.99 after a 20 dollar rebate. This offer also includes two free games valued at $50 each Borderlands 2 and Assassins Creed 3. ASUS offers a free 3 year parts and labor warranty with this video card. You can read more about the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 4GBs specifications here.
ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB Pictures
The ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DC II 4GB is printed on a black PCB which is effectively covered by the casing around the video card. There is a black aluminum plate mounted on the back of the PCB in order to keep rear mounted components safe. It also helps to spread heat across the back of the video card. The front of the video card is covered by a black aluminum fan housing with three red stripes running through it. Mounted in this casing are the two 11 blade, light weight fans. Along the top of the video card are three heat pipes.