ASUS GeForce ENGTX560 Ti DirectCU II Video Card Review

The ASUS GeForce GTX560 DirectCU II

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card is without a doubt one of the best all around gaming graphics cards on the market today. In our GeForce GTX560 Ti launch article we showed you how the NVIDIA reference designed card did and today we are taking a look at our very first custom designed GTX560, the ASUS GeForce GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP video card!

The card that we are looking at today is the ASUS ENGTX560 Ti DirectCU II TOP/2DI/1GD5 video card! What makes this card special is the fact that it uses a custom designed PCB and GPU cooler, plus it comes factory overclocked for an extra performance boost. The ENGTX560 Top has been sorted to ensure the card can operate flawlessly at 900MHz and that is critical for those that want to be ensured their card can overclock. To help overclockers even more ASUS uses a DirectCU GPU cooler that has three 8mm flattened copper heat-pipes that make direct contact with the GPU that helps improve cooling by 20% when compared to the NVIDIA reference design. If that isn't enough, ASUS also includes their SmartDoctor utility with VoltageTweak. This means you can bump up the GPU core voltage in just a few mouse clicks if needed.

The front of the ENGTX560 DirectCU II TOP is looks great and we thought it was plastic before we opened the box and found out that it is real metal. When it comes to appearance the ASUS GeForce GTX 560 with the DirectCU II cooling solution is hands down one of the best looking cards on the market today. This fan design won't exhaust all the hot air from the inside of your case since the shroud doesn't extend all the way to the exhaust bracket. The card measures 9.75" in length and stands at 4.4" tall.

Flipping the ASUS GeForce GTX 560 video card over we don't find too many interesting things. Notice that the fan shroud extends well past the PCB and this is to allow better airflow for the dual cooling fans. The GeForce GTX 560 graphics card does support SLI and has a single SLI bridge located along the top edge of the graphics card. The NVIDIA GTX 560 series supports two-way SLI configurations and can run NVIDIA Surround (2D) multi-panel gaming technologies. That means you can buy two of these and run games at a resolution of 5760 x 1200 across three monitors for example.

We went to take off the metal fan shroud on the ASUS ENGTX560, but found that it was screwed under the three red decals and didn't want to peel off the stickers as they'd never stick right again. If you look at the end of the card you can make out the three 8mm heat pipes that are being used.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 560 1GB GDDR5 graphics card has a pair of dual-link DVI-I outputs along with a mini-HDMI output header. ASUS does include an adapter to go from mini-HDMI-to-HDMI and another to go from DVI-to-VGA. Both the Dual-link DVI and HDMI outputs can be used to send high-definition video to an HDTV via single cable (including audio if running HDMI). A regular sized HDMI header was not used since it couldn't fit next to the pair of DVI outputs.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 560 1GB video card requires a 550 Watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 38 Amps on the +12 volt rail. It also requires that the power supply has two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors for proper connection. It should be noted that the NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. If you want to run SLI we have been told that a 650 Watt or greater power supply is suggested by NVIDIA. NVIDIA refuses to give +12V requirements for SLI, which is strange since they suggest them for single card solutions. 

Notice that ASUS has the power plugs for their GeForce GTX 560 coming off the top of the video card rather than the butt end of the card. This is great for those with small computer cases. If you are wanting to upgrade your previous generation NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB video card please note that those cards required a 450 Watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 24 Amps on the +12 volt rail. The GeForce GTX 560 does use more power, so be sure that your power supply is up to snuff before you place an order.


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