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.
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.
The accessories aren’t plentiful with the GTX 760 DCU II, consisting of a speed setup guide, driver disc & single power adapter.
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.
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.
The video outputs are standard NVIDIA fare, with outputs including two DVI, one HDMI and one full size Display Port.
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.
ASUS gave some thought to MOSFET cooling as well, installing a separate heatsink on those.
Here we have the bare card and 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.
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.
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.
The smaller power heatsink had good contact with all of the MOSFETs
As mentioned, there is a single 8-pin PCIe power connector on the GTX 760 DCU II.
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.
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.
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).
Last, but not least, we have the GK104 GPU itself.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
All benchmarks and games passed at these frequencies and again we’ll show 3DMark Fire Strike as our example.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.