ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC graphics card

This high-end graphics card has heaps of power, but isn’t very expensive

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ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC

Pros

  • Excellent 1080p and 1440p performance
  • Quiet, cool GPU even under load
  • Attractive price tag

Cons

  • Stiff competition from newly-cheaper GTX 680 and 670

Bottom Line

ASUS’ hotted-up variant of the new Nvidia GTX 770 boasts an incredibly fast GPU and 2GB of even faster RAM. It’s a truly excellent card for high-end single- and multi-screen gaming, with great benchmark figures that aren’t hindered by a loud cooler or high temperatures.

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The just-announced Nvidia GTX 770 is the next step down in the company’s constantly-updated graphics card line-up. It sits below the Titan and the new GTX 780, but doesn’t trade off much performance for the massive price drop it enjoys.

Asus is first out of the gate with a better-than standard version in the GTX 770 DirectCU II OC. It should be in stores from today, with Asus projecting a street price of around $489 around Australia.

ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC: Design, features, and setup

Sitting below the Titan and GTX 780 means that while those cards get Nvidia’s new supercomputer-grade GK110 GPU, the GTX 770 makes do with last year’s GK104 — at just on 14 months old, it’s the same GPU that was used in the then-range-topping GTX 680 and hobbled for the GTX 670.

The standard-spec GTX 770 has GPU base and boost speeds of 1046MHz and 1085MHz respectively — already very fast for a card of its third-place spot in Nvidia’s performance line-up. Asus’s GTX 770 (both the standard DirectCU II and the OC) run at a slightly higher maximum boost clock of 1110MHz, giving results that the company says is 3 per cent higher than reference. The card’s 2GB of memory runs at an absolutely-blazingly-fast 7010MHz (1752.5MHz at the GDDR5 quad data rate).

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Like the GTX 680 it supersedes, the GTX 770 has eight SMX units with 1536 CUDA cores, and a 256-bit memory interface. The main difference between the two cards is the massively boosted memory bandwidth and slightly higher core clocks.

Asus has taken the liberty of dropping a redesigned version of its tried-and-tested DirectCU II cooler on Nvidia’s reference GTX 770 board. The Taiwanese giant claims a 20 percent reduction in temperatures over Nvidia’s reference cooler, which also has a reputation for getting more than a little loud at full power — conveniently, Asus claims DirectCU II is three times quieter. Heatpipes fanning out from the hottest part of the card — directly over the GPU — keep heat evenly distributed across the aluminium fins below the two 80mm fans.

As you’d expect, the ASUS GTX 770 is a PCI-E 3.0 X16 card, and it requires one six-pin and one eight-pin PCI-E ancillary power connector. This is a jump from the two six-pin connectors needed on the GTX 680 and 670, representing the extra power that the 770 can draw under heavy load. One DVI-I, one DVI-D, one HDMI and one DisplayPort connector means that practically any monitor configuration should be supported.

The GTX 770’s TDP of 230 Watts is a significant drop from the GTX 680’s 300 Watts, more in line with the superseded GTX 670’s 225 Watt maximum power consumption. To see these significant increases in clock speeds for the 770’s processor and RAM along with a reduction in power consumption is excellent — and a welcome drop from the 300W TDP of the GTX 780 and Titan.

ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC: Performance and benchmarks

We ran Asus’ GTX 770 DirectCU II OC board through a battery of benchmarks on a Intel Core i7-3770K system clocked at 4.3GHz, running off a ASUS Maximus V Extreme motherboard, a Crucial M4 256GB solid-state drive, 16GB of DDR3-2400 RAM and a Corsair AX-1200 1200W power supply.

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3DMark 11 returned a Performance preset result of P10890 and an Extreme preset result of X3910, handily beating out the results of last year’s GTX 680 by around 10 per cent. Battlefield 3’s Ultra quality at 1440p sat happily at an average of 69FPS during our benchmark, Crysis 2 hit 51FPS and the still-demanding Metro 2033 achieved an average of 71FPS. Skyrim was a little up-and-down but the average result of 89FPS is more than enough to run the game smoothly at the most demanding single-screen quality settings possible.

These results are excellent given the GTX 770’s derivation from a year-old chipset and its similarity to the GTX 680.

Probably the most useful aspect of the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC over competing cards is the GPU Tweak software that’s bundled with the card — it’s a no-brainer to use, giving you information on the card’s current clock speeds and specs through GPU-Z, and letting you adjust the usual overclocking necessities like GPU clock, voltage, memory clocks and fan speed. It’ll also keep track of the latest GeForce drivers and any updated firmware for the GTX 770. There are no games bundled though — look to AMD’s cards if you want a swathe of freebies.

ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II OC: Conclusion

The most attractive thing about Asus’ GTX 770 is its price tag. This kind of performance cost $650-plus last year, and there are still plenty of GTX 680s available for this kind of money. Dropping the GTX 770 into the market at $489 — where the less-powerful GTX 670 is sitting currently — should shake things up significantly.

If you’re looking to play the most recent games at high or very high quality settings on a single 1080p screen, the GTX 770 is the way to go. You’ll even find 1440p performance more than adequate. Step up to the GTX 780 if you want to run multiple high-res displays, but we think that as a single card for a single screen, the GTX 770 means simultaneously great performance and great value.

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