Everyone already knew back in early May that the Nvidia Kepler GK104 based GTX 670 is a serious contender for the price-performance crown. We re-visit that conclusion again with ASUS's factory overclocked GTX 670 fitted with their DirectCU II heatpipe cooler and run a few tests with the latest 304.79 drivers.
Quick recap on the GTX 670
As we can see from this block diagram of the GK104 die, the GTX 670 has one of eight SMX units disabled, which is a common way of putting crocked ASICs that do not meet full binning standards to good use instead of throwing them away. As a result, the GTX 670 has 12.5% less fillrate/pixel pushing performance and lower TDP than the GTX 680, much like how the HD 7950 Tahiti Pro is to the HD 7970 Taihiti XT. Given that everything else remains the same (number of ROPs, memory bus bandwidth, fancy AA algorithms and other technologies), do the loss of shaders really matter for most use cases? We find out in the following pages..
The red slash marks box design of the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP is similar to the GTX 680 we reviewed a while ago, which is not too surprising given their common heritage.
Most of the recent graphics cards with the DirectCU II coolers that we've seen recently from ASUS have reverted back to the more practical 2-slot design (rather than obtuse 3-slot), allowing for better motherboard compatibility and quad-GPU setups. Having said that, ASUS opted for their own custom PCB which is longer than the surprisingly short 7-inch board from Nvidia, presumably to accomodate the extra power circuitry.
No changes at the I/O panel from the reference GTX670/GTX680 offerings (1 x HDMI, 1 x DP, 2 x DVI).
There is also a metal backplate at the back spanning across the whole card, adding to the impression that it is a premium product. A beefy four micro-capacitors can be found behind the GPU core, which can give it more instantaneous power as opposed to two on the regular board.
Two 6-pin PCIe power inputs add 150W of power on top of the 75W supplied by the slot (GTX 670 has a 170W TDP). There are red/green LEDs to indicate if the connectors are plugged in correctly.