In late March Nvidia introduced its current flagship GPU, the GeForce GTX 680. The first GTX 680 cards to hit the market in March were nothing more than reference cards with a different sticker attached. In the meantime a number of manufacturers have come up with their own unique designs. Asus recently sent us their DirectCU II Top version of the GeForce GTX 680, the Asus GTX680-DC2T-2GD5. We analysed the differences between it and the reference card.
Asus' own GeForce GTX 680 is an impressive sight. The DirectCU II cooler that Asus used takes up three entire expansion slots. The cooler consists of two large heatsinks, each with a 92mm fan. Five heatpipes are directly connected to the GPU and transfer the heat to the heatsinks. Asus has even put small heatsinks on the memory chips.
It's not just the cooler fans that differ from Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680 reference card - the PCB has also been redesigned by Asus. Whereas the standard GeForce GTX 680 has two 6-pin PEG connectors, the ASUS one has a 6-pin and an 8-pin instead. This means that you can potentially get more current to the GPU. Asus' own PCB design has handy soldering points to take advantage of the VGA hotwire capability of the Asus Rampage IV.
The "Top" part of the name implies that the graphics card is standard overclocked. Where the GTX 680 runs standard at 1,006MHz, the DirectCU II Top runs at 1,137MHz, which is an impressive standard overclock of 13 per cent. The Turbo clock frequency has been raised by 131MHz to 1,202MHz. Asus has left the memory clock frequency the same as on the reference card; the 2GB GDDDR5 memory chips also run at 1,502MHz.
In terms of connectors the GTX680-DC2T-2GD5 is identical to the reference GTX 680: two DVI, two HDMI and two DisplayPort connectors. The price difference with a standard GTX 680 is minimal, which is nice. You can read the rest of ASUS GTX680 DirectCU II Top preview on Hardware.info.