ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC Graphics Card Review

Continuing our cadre of GTX 760 cards, we’re back today with ASUS’ offering, the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II, OC Edition. It is overclocked slightly over the base GTX 760, but not quite as far as the EVGA card we looked at before. Let’s see what ASUS has to offer!

Specifications & Features

The GTX 760 DirectCU II OC (technically, the GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5, occasionally referred to hereinafter as GTX 760 DCU II) comes with a base clock of 1006 MHz and a rated boost of 1072 MHz. Of course, like nearly all GPU Boost and Boost 2.0 cards, the actual operating frequency will be higher. 1072 MHz is the frequency the card is guaranteed to boost to.

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Specifications

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC Specifications

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Specs

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC Specs

Aside from the increased GPU clocks, the technical specifications are just like the reference GTX 760 design.

Meet the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC

ASUS always packages their cards well, and the GTX 760 is no exception. The box continues their interesting ‘something clawed this!’ motif.

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box Rear

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Box Rear

Box Opened Up

Box Opened Up

The accessories aren’t plentiful with the GTX 760 DCU II, consisting of a speed setup guide, driver disc & single power adapter.

Accessories

Accessories

Now we get to the card itself, which is a good looking card. Coming with ASUS’ tried and true red & black color scheme, we have an updated look to the DirectCU II cooler shroud.

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II

More photos!

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Unlike the EVGA card, which had two power plugs, the ASUS GTX 760 DCU II OC comes with a single, 8-pin PCIe power plug. That should be fine on a card with this relatively low TDP and is actually a very good thing for people with smaller power supplies.

Single 8-pin PCIe Power Plug

Single 8-pin PCIe Power Plug

The video outputs are standard NVIDIA fare, with outputs including two DVI, one HDMI and one full size Display Port.

Video Outputs

Video Outputs

Externally, it’s a good looking card. Let’s take that DirectCU II cooler off and have a look underneath.

Under the Hood

Pulling the heatsink off, you can see we have the same problem we did with the ACX cooler – the GPU’s too small for the heatpipes. The outer heatpipes don’t contact the GPU at all. This isn’t a huge problem, as some heat will be moved about by the aluminum structure into which the heatpipes are mounted, but the middle two will be doing most of the heavy lifting.

Cooler Removed

Cooler Removed

ASUS gave some thought to MOSFET cooling as well, installing a separate heatsink on those.

MOSFET Heatsink

MOSFET Heatsink

Here we have the bare card and both heatsinks removed.

Both Heatsinks Removed

Both Heatsinks Removed

The PCB on this card is substantially smaller than its cooler. Stick a water block on this thing and you’ve got the perfect ultra-small form factor card. Even with its cooler, it doesn’t quite extend the full width of an ATX motherboard.

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II PCB

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II PCB

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II PCB Rear

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II PCB Rear

The DirectCU II heatsink has four heatpipes and its sole job is to cool the GPU. It doesn’t make contact with any RAM nor the MOSFET heatsink, though its fans help cool the latter underneath.

DirectCU II Heatsink

DirectCU II Heatsink

DirectCU II Heatsink

DirectCU II Heatsink

For a compact design, this version of the DirectCU II heatsink packs a punch, with four heatpipes cooled by a good stack of aluminum fins and two 100 mm fans. The fans are ASUS’ dust proof fan.

DirectCU II Heatsink & Fans

DirectCU II Heatsink & Fans

Dust Proof Fans

Dust Proof Fans

The smaller power heatsink had good contact with all of the MOSFETs

MOSFET Heatsink

MOSFET Heatsink

As mentioned, there is a single 8-pin PCIe power connector on the GTX 760 DCU II.

Single 8-pin PCIe Power

Single 8-pin PCIe Power

The power section on this card isn’t huge, but ASUS makes up for it with some stronger chokes. There are four phases for the GPU and one for the memory.

Power Section

Power Section

Power Section

Power Section

Power Section

Power Section

ASUS has plenty to say about their Super Alloy Power design. You can read as well as I can regurgitate it to you, so please feel free to go through the slides. Long story short – the chokes, caps & MOSFETs are upgraded.

There is also ASUS’ new “Direct Power”, a bus bar of sorts that’s supposed to decrease impedance for power delivery, which is reported to decrease heat and allow for more stable power delivery. That is probably not going to do a whole lot to help, but it’s better to have manufacturers innovating and trying new things than having them just pass on reference designs.

Super Alloy Power

Super Alloy Power

Super Alloy Chokes

Super Alloy Chokes

5K Capacitors

5K Capacitors

Super Alloy MOSFETs

Super Alloy MOSFETs

Direct Power

Direct Power

Recap

Recap

The GTX 760 line all comes with memory from Hynix, model number H5GQ2H24AFR, rated at 1.5 V and 6008 MHz (quad-pumped 1502 MHz).

SK hynix Memory

SK hynix Memory

Last, but not least, we have the GK104 GPU itself.

GK 104 GPU

GK104 GPU

GK 104 GPU

GK104 GPU

The GTX 760 DirectCU II’s PCB is compact but powerful. For a card at this level, I’d rather see a more tightly packed PCB like this than the spread out almost-blank PCB extension on EVGA’s card. This PCB fits this level of card perfectly.

Test Setup

Like all our new test setups, this one comes with an i7 4770K Haswell CPU clocked at 4.0 GHz and RAM at DDR3-1866/9-9-9-24. There is plenty of competition for today’s review too, with two different GTX 760′s plus several other competing cards.

CPU i7 4770K @ 4.0 GHz
MB ASUS Maximus VI Extreme
RAM G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2600 @ 1866MHz 9-9-9-24
GPUs ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC
EVGA GTX 760 SC
MSI GTX 760 OC
NVIDIA GTX 770
HIS HD 7950 IceQ X2
NVIDIA GTX 780
ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP
OS Windows 7 Professional x64

This card is perfect for SFF (small form factor) gaming and HTPC systems, fitting well within the profile of a regular ATX board.

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Installed

ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II Installed

Stock Boost 2.0 Frequency

Of course, rated boost clock on these cards (in this case, 1072 MHz) isn’t typically what the card will run. This GTX 760 DCU II boosts to 1136.6 MHz at stock.

Stock Boost Frequency

Stock Boost Frequency

As you can see, the DirectCU II cooler had no problem keeping the GPU from its default target temperature, so you get a constant boost throughout.

Overclocking

Overclocking comes to the GTX 760 DCU II courtesy of ASUS’ GPU Tweak software. For those used to overclocking NVIDIA with offsets, they conveniently include both offset and actual measures on these screens. This sample managed a 24/7 stable +125 MHz GPU offset and +1200 MHz (300 MHz actual) memory offset, not bad at all.

GPU Tweak Overclocked Settings

GPU Tweak Overclocked Settings

ASUS GTX 760 DCU II Overclocked

ASUS GTX 760 DCU II Overclocked

What “1196 MHz” in GPU Tweak actually means in real life is a not-too-shabby 1267.3 MHz throughout the benchmarks, with temperatures not even close to the 94 °C target temperature.

Overclocked Boost Frequency

Overclocked Boost Frequency

All benchmarks and games passed at these frequencies and again we’ll show 3DMark Fire Strike as our example.

3DMark Fire Strike @ 24/7 Overclock

3DMark Fire Strike @ 24/7 Overclock

Solid stock and overclocked frequencies are looking good fso far.

Temperature and Power Consumption

Now that I’ve put two cards through the ringer, we can bring you graphs for temperature and power consumption. Starting with temperature, you can see the ASUS DirectCU II cooler does a slightly better job cooling the GPU than the ACX cooler on EVGA’s offering. This difference may have been introduced partially because the MOSFETs on the EVGA card are cooled by the overall ACX cooler and the DirectCU II cooler is focused solely on the GPU itself.

GPU Temperatures

GPU Temperatures

Interestingly, the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II pulls more power than the EVGA GTX 760 SC. It’s not much more, but it is indeed more.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Even with slightly increased wattage, these cards are still quite efficient for their performance. There’s nothing to complain about for the GTX 760 DirectCU IIs power consumption or cooling ability.

Performance Results

Performance measurements come courtesy our new and improved GPU Testing Procedures. Long story short: the benchmarks are run at their default performance settings and games are run with every available setting cranked to the max at 1080p.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Since this was benched before we officially dropped 3DMark03 from our testing, it will be included one last time. Now I’m all nostalgic! Anyway, this bench is very long in the tooth and doesn’t do a whole lot for real-world comparisons nowadays. Looks like both the MSI and EVGA cards come out ahead in 03 at stock, which you’ll see throughout, as they both have higher rated base & boost clocks. Overclocked, the GTX 760 DCU II pulls ahead as it should.

3DMark03

3DMark03

To save you some reading, I’ll sum up the rest of the benchmarks right here. With the MSI and ASUS GTX 760s clocked similarly, you’ll see them benchmarking near one another, with the MSI’s higher stock clocks coming ahead by a little bit. The EVGA card’s very strong stock boost clock shows it is the most powerful of the three. The GTX 760 DCU II overclocked well though and came out near where you can expect most GTX 760s to end up.

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage

3DMark 11

3DMark 11

3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike

HWBot Heaven Xtreme

HWBot Heaven Xtreme

Game Testing

Game tests are even closer than benchmarks, with the ASUS and MSI GTX 760s very close to one another. The EVGA offering is a stronger card and does separate itself a bit more on occasion. The ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC overclocked well though and saw the ~10+ FPS gains we saw with the EVGA offering. The stock-to-overclocked gains on these cards are impressive. Even on the most demanding Metro 2033 and Crysis 3 it gained six and three FPS, respectively.

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark

Aliens vs. Predator DX11 Benchmark

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3

Civilization 5

Civilization 5

Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Crysis 3

Crysis 3

For gaming, the GTX 760 DirectCU II OC is a great card for the money.

Pushing the Limits

For this section, I pushed the 4770K to 4.9-5.0 GHz (depending on the bench) and then turned the screws on the GPU as far as they would go. Some (Vantage, Heaven) didn’t go any farther than the 24/7 overclock. 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Fire Strike were both able to push an extra 15 MHz out of the GPU.

3DMark Vantage - 36957

3DMark Vantage – 36957

HWBot Heaven Xtreme - 2069.529

HWBot Heaven Xtreme – 2069.529

3DMark 11 - 9743

3DMark 11 – 9743

3DMark Fire Strike - 6466

3DMark Fire Strike – 6466

Final Thoughts & Conclusion

The ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC is a solid offering from ASUS. It’s priced right where it should be, coming in at $259.99. For that price, you get a solid cooler and something some other GTX 760s don’t give you – the ability to fit in smaller form factors than some other GTX 760s.

While the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II OC may not overclock quite as far as the EVGA GTX 760 SC, it’s difficult to fault the card for that. GPUs are just like CPUs with their overclocking capabilities and every one will be different.

Where this card will really shine is in SFF / HTPC systems. It’s at the perfect price point for people that need a smaller card with a solid amount of power. Its size (smaller than an ATX motherboard) is great as well, and can get even smaller if you decide to water cool it. If you want to game at 1080p on, say, your 50″ living room HDTV, this is a good choice for you.

Mainstream gamers also appreciate the abilities of the GTX 760s out there and this is another good offering for the frugal gamers out there.

With good cooling, solid clocks and at a size anybody can appreciate, the ASUS GTX 760 DirectCU II is easily Overclockers Approved.

Overclockers_clear_approved

Jeremy Vaughan (hokiealumnus)

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Discussion
  1. Think the cheapest 7950 in my country is ~350$, about 50$ more and a 7970 could be gotten, so its not a good price/performance (about mid range). Made a chart so the stuff can be seen the easy way.

    Raw price (low to high) (taking into account it can be hard to make such a spec "ultimate" because vendors got big influence, so i tried to find the best prices i can find):

    Note: This is my countrys best price, not Newegg. Newegg for example is 300 $ for 7950, making it a very good budget card in theory (still weaker than 760), however, most of the other cards are more or less in the correct chart order.

    660 TI (no OC): <230 $

    760: <260 $

    7870: <270 $

    660TI (factory OC): <270 $

    7950: <350 $

    670: <370 $ (price recently dropped a lot but still way to less, because other cards dropped even more. Probably because 670 GTX is very popular so the price is "pushed")

    7970 (GHz): <400 $

    680: <430 $

    770 <450 $

    Raw Performance (low to high) (taking into account that all may have around same OC potential, using newest drivers of course):

    660 Ti = 7870 (comparable)

    760 +15%

    670 = 7950 (comparable) +10%

    680 +10%

    7970 (GHz) +5%

    770 +5%

    Of course in term a "weaker" card is a good OCer, nowadays its no problem to reach the performance of the next higher card, because the performance steps are to minor and most of them OCs pretty well. So, luck of the draw can achieve "comparable" performance for lesser price but thats a lottery and not a "given performance". The flagships are no true flagships anymore, so the decision for getting cutting edge may be hard and price/performance is currently a high focus for most people.

    Finally the price/performance chart:

    1. 760

    2. 660 Ti

    3. 7870

    4. 7950

    5. 7970 (GHz) = 670 (comparable)

    6. 770

    7. 680 (sad to see but apparently true)

    Note: In term the 7970 is same price/performance such as a 670 GTX but stronger at raw performance, then the 7970 is at advantage. People mainly chose a 670 GTX because apparently lesser "microstudder", a matter im trying to investigate (true or not, problematic or not). Considering the "Skyrim issue" im unable to find a solid proof that the Radeon could be inferior. The frame time variance would be able to show the microstudder value and the 7970 was very good at that spec. It could probably become a issue when Crossfired but for single GPU users there should not be a difference (making the 7970 the better choice).

    As the final note: Nvidia in the past was almost never good at price/performance, it was usualy a consumer market AMD is maintaining. Nowadays, Nvidia is in overall at least head to head with AMD considering that spec, which is kinda a surprise and a good proof that Nvidia is now trying to attack AMD way harder than they ever did. So we somewhat have a harsh battle. Nvidia is still trying to continue with theyr "old mentality" but just for the "super high end series", GTX 780 + Titan.
    Sure. price/performance is what most people look for,not everyone will upgrade the graphic card every generation, the 760 is the best budget card along with 7950 at least for 1080p resolution and for a new build, but for upgrades i think the line may come at 560ti to 580,anything below may need an urgent upgrade. or have to go for SLI if the card is still visible on the charts:) with a low priced older card the yearly upgrade may come possible for allot of people like myself and night gamers
    The stuff making me amazed the most is the great price/performance ratio of the 760, it even beats all the 600 series cards as far as i can see. So Nvidia attacking theyr own series? OK why not... old is finally old but in usual the new series was way more pricy than the old series. Nowadays the battle with AMD is that hard that Nvidia apparently is changing theyr usual mentality and is even creating some great "price/performance" cards. The GTX 760 is rendering all the 600 series cards at mid range (660/670) close to useless, because its simply the better price at comparable peformance. Means Nvidia probably stopped production of 600 series or is not having lot of chips left, else it would not make much sense attacking them.

    260 $ isnt much for a card of those specs (when OC it can challenge a 7950/ GTX 670), but still not truly worth it when already owning a 7870 (to less performance difference, prehaps 10-15%). But it surely is awesome deal in term someone got a card with more than 20% weaker performance and may need the performance gain. In my country the price for a 7870 equipped with DCII cooler is about same such as this GTX 760 card (reviewed one), so it even beats the 7870 at price/performance. Just to bad i already got a 7870 and not truly worth it to upgrade (i enjoy a proven card and usualy only switch when i see more than 20% gain).

    Would love to see more cards to compare with and not just a bunch, but its sufficient to see a good estimation where it stands (OC, non OC)

    Finally, the 660 Ti OC is about 270+$ in my country, about same price. The GTX 760 at OC clearly beats the 660 Ti OC and thus the price/performance isnt any worse and the 660 Ti OC simply the inferior choice (considering its older achitecture). A non OC 660 Ti is about 30 $ lesser but still inferior price/performance ratio than a 760 OC. The GTX 670 itself is totaly demolished when it comes to price/performance.

    Some people do not consider "price/performance" a important value, in that term no need to look at a GTX 760, just buy a Titan or GTX 780... powerful stuff is always overpriced but at least "powerful" for a few months (no one knows how fast a even faster card is released, thinking about AMDs 8000/9000 series). In my view its not always worth it going for "max performance" because that kind of spec is sometimes demolished faster than i enjoy, but its usualy always worth it going for price/performance (taking the 20% upgrade into account).
    IMO nothing beats rear-exhaust cards for SLI/CFX, everything else recirculates hot air right back into the fans if there isn't a ton of case airflow.

    Asus does a pretty good job on coolers though usually.
    It's a 2-slot card. Airflow won't be any worse than any two slot card abutting another two slot card. The cooler isn't any thicker (and is just slightly thinner) than the PCIe bracket.



    Most motherboards leave a slot between SLI/CFX slots so there will be plenty of room for airflow.
    I've looked at this card and seen the profile...i know the cooler doesn't jut out above the card...but the images just keep telling me that 2 of these in SLI could obstruct airflow worse than most with that hideous, bulky fan.
    Coming up from a gigabyte 660ti on a 1080p monitor,, which is a gk104 and i have it overclocked to 1228mhz stable with 6500 on the vram,i cannot see the improvement with the gtx 760,the only big difference is the 780, that it may worth the upgrade,thanks for the nice review guys.