The Direct CU family in ASUS’ lineup consists of both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, with the company redesigning the circuit boards, VRM phase layout and just about everything else to allow enthusiasts to change voltages on the card to allow for higher overclocks.
While similar to MSI’s Power Edition family, Direct CU has been around for ages and was one of the first card families to allow for voltage changes within Windows. The company recently announced the inclusion of two new AMD HD7000 cards to the family’s lineup. More info after the jump.
The Radeon HD7000 series now joins the lineup of the V2 cards. Version 1 Direct CU cards were part of two generations of ASUS’ design and approach to overclocking, labeled Direct CU I and Direct CU II. With the V2 versions a new heatsink and fan design is employed, showing ASUS’ confidence that the new generations of GPUs are much more easily cooled using their new setup.
The Radeon HD 7870 (pictured above) joins the parts with a dual-slot heatsink and a reference design PCB length. The HD7870 TOP 2GB ships with core clocks at 1.1Ghz and memory speeds at 5GHz DDR5 on a 256-bit bus. The regular HD7870 Direct CU V2 ships with core clocks at 1GHz and RAM sitting pretty at 4.8GHz, easily giving the card room to match the TOP version if you’d like to same some money by overclocking it.
The HD7950 Direct CU V2 TOP is the more interesting out of the two. Sporting 3GB of RAM on a 384-bit interface, the card is shorter than the reference design and sports a huge cooler that eats up three PCI-Express slots inside your chassis. In the same way that push-up bras attract more attention by having more skin in view, this card simply dwarfs everything else out there in a similar price range with a cooler sporting more than five heatpipes and two rear exhaust vents. Clock speeds are set at 900MHz for the core and 5GHz for the RAM and the card still uses two PCI-Express 6-pin connectors. The interesting thing about the cooler design is that it looks like it vents air out in two directions – hot air should get exhausted out the chassis towards the PCI bracket while it looks like the vents at the bottom near the PCI slot will channel cool air downwards.
Either that or they’re just there for show, like the slits on the sides of car bonnets that don’t actually allow any air inside. Or push-up bras. Prices of the new cards haven’t been announced so keep an eye on this space if you’re keen to buy one.