ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II 28nm Graphics Card Review

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Now seeming as a traditional staple of ASUS' non-reference product stack, their DirectCUII graphics cards have been well-received because they enable high performance without the acoustic footprint.  A 3-slot beast of a cooler allows only two 100cm fans to reduce thermals on the GPU by 20% while remaining 14dB quieter than the reference cards.  And while the DirectCUII technology brings along with it a prominent lineage, so too does the packed feature-set that comes in the box, both inside and outside of the large aluminum shell.  The 7970, the first GPU based upon a 28nm architecture is at the top of AMD's single-GPU product stack and supports AMD's EyeFinity technology with up to 6-display capability.

Overview

  • All-new DirectCU thermal design utilizes six all-copper heatpipes and 20% bigger dissipation area, achieving 20% cooler and 14dB quieter performance than reference.
  • Acclaimed DIGI+ VRM with 12-phase Super Alloy Power technology delivers precise digital power and enhanced durability for stable overclocking.
  • VGA Hotwire allows you to plug and solder wires on the card’s voltage regulators and accurately read and control Vcore, Vmem, and PLL voltages on a hardware level.
  • GPU Tweak utility helps you modify and tune clock speeds, voltages, and fan performance via an intuitive interface.
  • One card drives up to six screens with AMD Eyefinity™ 6
  • Dust-proof fan ensures long cooling life and reliability

*Courtesy of ASUS
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Specifications

Graphics Engine AMD Radeon HD 7970
Bus Standard PCI Express 3.0
Video Memory GDDR5 3GB
Engine Clock 925 MHz
Memory Clock 5500 MHz ( 1375 MHz GDDR5 )
RAMDAC 400 MHz
Memory Interface 384-bit
Resolution D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048x1536
DVI Max Resolution : 2560x1600
Interface DVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I), Yes x 1 (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to HDMI adaptor x 1 )
Display Port : Yes x 4 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
Accessories 1 x CrossFire cable
1 x Power cable
1 x DVI to HDMI adaptor
Power Consumption up to 300W - additional 8+8 pin PCIe power required
Software ASUS Utilities & Driver
ASUS Features DirectCU Series
Super Alloy Power
Dimensions 11 " x 5.1 " x 2.1 " Inch
Note
  • To have the best cooling performance, ASUS HD7970-DC2-3GD5 extends the fansink to 2.5 slots. Please double check you Chassis and Motherboard dimension prior to purchase to make sure it fits in your system!
  • Support for six simultaneous displays may require complementary products compatible with DisplayPort.
 *Courtesy of ASUS

 

 

Unboxing and Included Accessories

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Out of the box and neat internal packaging will emerge the beastly ASUS 7970 DCUII, the typical user's manual and driver CD, 4-pin molex to PCI-e power cable adapters, a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, a CrossFire bridge, and an additional VRM heatsink to accommodate an LN2 pot.  A pretty basic loadout for a card that is anything but basic, so let's get into the juicy details.

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Comments   

 
# Nikolaj 2013-03-08 06:17
Hi guys, nice review but what about VRM temps ?

It's a huge issue on these models. To be straight ti the point: http://www.xtremehardware.com/recensioni/schede-video/arctic-cooling-hybrid-7970-pt-ii-test-accessori-e-confronto-con-asus-7970dc2t-201211157843/?start=10

ASUS DCT2T, 60 degrees on the core and 100 degress on the VRM section. That's a huge amount and this is why they limited the Over-Voltage capabilities. If being overclocked at 1GHz with 1.112mV it generates 74/112 degrees celsius for core/VRM

note: che first setting it's blank due a graph error but as you can see in the other images it's "ASUS HD7970-DC2T-3GD 5 AUTO/40%, 1974 RPM"

The 7970, as it's shown in your review, it's a very solid performer. Good day
 
 
# Ivan 2013-03-09 07:08
please stop with this rumor, those temperature are due to an error as stated many times bu asus, if you use the correct GPU tweak you will see that they never goes over 78 degree in my case...
please avoid missinformation
 
 
# Nikolaj 2013-03-09 12:18
Quoting Ivan:
please stop with this rumor, those temperature are due to an error as stated many times bu asus, if you use the correct GPU tweak you will see that they never goes over 78 degree in my case...
please avoid missinformation


Hi Ivan

Show me something, a link to an Asus Statement or something like that. I've never heard of such clarification, would you be so kind to show it ?

If you're right, this should mean that eveery VRM sensor mounted on the Gigabyte and Asus, or even 7970 reference designs, should have some issues. As you can see from the graphs, ad stock speeds it's all right for gigabyte 797OC-3GD but if overclocked it behaves similar to the Asus one.

Have you made personal tests that proove that the sensors are broken ?

What I've posted it's what I've seen also on other designs, not only Asus and if you check the ROG forums it's full of reports, like this one (7950 DCII model, faulty design): http://www.behardware.com/news/12153/asus-hd-7950-directcu-ii-fault-report.html

It's not a ''rumour'' if it happens to an entire comunity ;)

Another link, HWINFO program tells the same story (it could be obviously the same sensor, but it's not a software related problem): http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1670759&page=22

In this lik there's a person which states what I've seen on my test lab, Gigabyte 797OC-3GB capable of heat the VRM section at 65 degrees with the stock settings.

I suggest you to read carefully hte review, the Arctic Cooling accelero Hybrid it was installed in the gigabyte 7970 797OC-3GD not the Asus DC2T.

I suppose that you're referring to the Core temps, since that GPU Tweak only reports it, and it's perfecly in-line with the temperatures reported in the review.

Before stating that what I've done is misinformation, please let us know about what you're talking about.

Many thanks in advance
 
 
# laur 2013-03-09 05:47
Nice part about the power phase current capacity, i hope you write abut it on every card reviewed on the site.- that's good info.