Asus pairs its three-slot cooling tech with a GTX 570
ASUS HAS GOTTEN a lot of mileage out of its beefy DirectCU II GPU-cooling technology. It has brought some serious overclocking chops to the GeForce GTX 580 in the form of Asus’s Matrix-branded edition, for example. The DirectCU II versions of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and the Radeon HD 6870 also sport serious overclocks, and those cards perform well in their respective classes. What’s even better is that the company doesn’t charge much of a price premium for its best cooling tech on cards below the Matrix GTX 580.
We’re scratching our heads, however, over Asus’s decision to offer this GTX 570 card in a three-slot configuration similar to its Matrix GTX 580, but running at Nvidia’s reference clock speeds. The beefy cooler delivers plenty of DIY overclocking potential, but you must assume all the risk. Since we review cards based on out-of-the-box performance, we had to benchmark this one with its 742MHz core clock and 3,800MHz (effective) memory clock.
One good thing the new cooler does provide is fewer decibels. This card isn’t whisper-quiet under load, but it generates much less noise than many of the cards in its class—particularly the Radeon HD 6970, which can get fairly loud under heavy loads.
You would think that in exchange for taking up thee PCIe slots, this card would offer superior performance, but that's not the case.
But performance matters, too, and that’s where the GTX 570 DirectCU II fails to justify its three-slot profile. With benchmark results across the board coming within a whisker of Asus’s first reference-design GTX 570 card, we need no further proof that the only difference between the two is the former’s oversize fan and heatsink.
As you can see in our benchmark chart, EVGA’s seriously overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 outpaces Asus’s GeForce GTX 570 DirectCU II in most titles. XFX’s Radeon HD 6970 also comes close to beating it while consuming less power (although, as we mentioned earlier, the 6970 is a bit louder under load).
And then there’s the fact that this card consumes three freakin’ slots! Without a factory overclock, there’s just no good reason for this card to take up so much real estate. Yes, it produces less noise than a card equipped with a reference-design cooler, but it’s only marginally quieter than the overclocked EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448. What’s the point?
Asus GeForce GTX 570 DirectCU II
Quiet; solid performance; reasonable price for its class.
Costs more than a GTX 560 Ti 448; consumes three PCIe slots.
Asus GTX 570 DirectCU II
EVGA GTX 560 Ti 448
Asus GTX 570
XFX Radeon HD 6970
3DMark 2011 Perf
3DMark Vantage Perf
Unigine Heaven 2.5 (fps)
Shogun 2/1080p (fps)
Far Cry 2/Long (fps)
HAWX 2 DX11 (fps)
STALKER: CoP DX11 (fps)
Just Cause 2 (fps)
Batman: Arkham City (fps)
Metro 2033 (fps)
Core/Memory Clocks (effective)
System Power @ idle(W)
System Power @ full throttle (W)
Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus P979X Deluxe motherboard with 16GB of Corsair DDR3/1600 and an AX1200 Corsair PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows Ultimate. All games are run at 1920x1200 with 4x AA unless otherwise noted.