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Asus GTX 760 DCU II review

Cooler, smaller, quicker. That's pretty much the GPU trifecta, right?

Our Verdict

For

  • Small form factor
  • Good cooling solution
  • Cheaper and quicker than HD 7950

Against

  • GK104 chip is at its limit

In spring this year, we reviewed Asus's miniature take on the GTX 670. It was the first of the cards based on that GPU to take advantage of the shortened PCB of the reference edition, and despite its crazy price premium it was a decent wee card.

The GTX 760 is plainly not so mini, but it does both share a good deal of the same silicon DNA (although thankfully not the same pricing). The standard GTX 760 has breathed life into Nvidia's mid-range GPU stack.

For the most part this newer card is at least on par with the GTX 670, but (more importantly for Nvidia) it's quicker than the competing Radeon HD 7950 from AMD.

The combination of out-performing and ultimately undercutting the opposition has put the GTX 760 on the map, and we checked out EVGA's Superclocked version last month. This more diminutive version from Asus is still overclocked, and is an even more tantalising thought.

Gene splicing

Like the GTX 670 Mini, Asus's GTX 760 is running with the cut-down PCB of the reference card, but instead of hobbling the cooling solution, it's given it the full DirectCU II treatment.

That does mean the heatsink sticks out the back of the PCB a touch, although actually that just adds a little GTi flavour to the mix. It's a bit longer too, but will still happily fit inside many mini-ITX cases, like the Lian-Li PC-Q30.

It's got a decent overclock too, boosted up over the 1GHz mark from a base of 980MHz. However, thanks to the new implementation of GPU Boost 2.0, it's rare that you'll find the clocks going that low in-game. We saw the GK104 GPU prancing along at 1,163MHz, and a good chunk of that extra clockspeed can be traced to the impressive Direct CU II cooling array.

It manages to drop the 100 per cent loaded temperature of the chip down to 69ºC from the 81ºC of the reference card. That's a couple degrees cooler than the new ACX cooler that EVGA used for its Superclocked GTX 760.

Benchmarks

DirectX 11 tessellation performance
Heaven 4.0: Frames per second: Higher is better

ASUS GTX 760 DCU II: 20.3
EVGA GTX 760 SC: 20.6
AMD HD 7950: 18.2

DirectX 11 gaming performance
BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better

ASUS GTX 760 DCU II: 39
EVGA GTX 760 SC: 40
AMD HD 7950: 32

Crysis 3: Frames per second: Higher is better
ASUS GTX 760 DCU II: 23
EVGA GTX 760 SC: 24
AMD HD 7950: 21

Verdict

In actual performance terms, little has changed. The fact that the high clockspeed barely translates into any actual fps performance gains is indicative of a second round of cards based on the same silicon. This GK104 is running at its limits in terms of the geometry it can toss about, so neither overclocked card is really worth it for any perceived improvements in overall performance.

But when the card is already performing this well that's not such a problem - and as Asus's card is only a little more expensive, you're simply getting a smaller card with a much more impressive cooling array in return.

In fact, the DirectCU II cooler is noticeably quieter in operation, too. Even if space isn't at a premium, this smaller GTX 760 still gets the nod from us.

Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerNVIDIA
Chipset ModelGTX 760
HDMIYes
Chipset LineGeForce
Chipset SeriesGTX 700
DisplayPortYes
Brand NameAsus
Standard Memory2 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 3.0 x16
HDCP SupportedYes
Bus Width256 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologySLI
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
Number of DisplayPort Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Height127 mm
Cooler TypeFan Cooler
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
Length218.4 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Memory Speed6008 MHz
Product ModelGTX760-DC2OC-2GD5
Product NameGTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 GeForce GTX 760 Graphic Card
Processor Speed1006 MHz
Manufacturer Part Number90YV04L2-M0NA00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing InformationASUS GeForce® GTX 760 DirectCU II bring sweet spot performance
  • DirectCU II achieves 20% lower temps with direct-contact copper heatpipes while running vastly quieter than reference
  • Direct Power ensures stable performance with 56% less impedance and a 17% cooler PCB
  • Super Alloy Power components increase product longevity by up to 2.5X compared to reference
  • GPU Tweak helps you modify clock speeds, voltages, fan performance and more, all via an intuitive interface
Thickness38.1 mm
API SupportedDirectX 11.1