The problem with silent graphics cards is that they historically subscribe to the underpowered variety, but with the march of technology, ASUS is now showing off the new HD 6770 DirectCU Silent card. This one is a good balance of two things: one, it’s a silent card with no fan, so it’s perfect for users who want to keep their environments quiet (multimedia, home entertainment PC, or just people with a preference for the tranquil, which is quite understandable). On the other hand, the more efficient AMD Radeon technology within means the GPU can hold its own in proper gaming, unlike older silent cards, which were usually only good for garden variety multimedia. The HD 6770 DirectCU Silent packs the 6770 core, which has an impressive 800 stream processors and 40 texture units. That’s more than the previous gen HD 5750, for example, which as we know was a very capable gaming part. With the 6770’s more efficient power design and lower energy draw, you can expect even better gaming performance at less the energy requirements. It also comes with 1GB of GDDR5, which is obviously the standard at the moment, and lest we forget this is a DirectX 11 card.
Like a lot of previous ASUS graphics cards, the new HD 6770 has DirectCU cooling, which uses all-copper heat pipes that touch the GPU core directly. Copper is a great heat conductor, and the direct contact means heat is removed as soon as it builds up. While there have been other silent DirectCU cards from ASUS before, this one offers the benefit of better material research and forming. Its heat sink is roughly 95% bigger than the reference HD 6770 silent design, and has been demonstrated to run on average 16% cooler, even under stress. The heat sink design makes sure the surface area is put to full use, allowing the more powerful GPU to function well even without a fan. This is a major step forward. In previous generations of graphics cards, you’d have to settle for true entry-level parts if you wanted to go silent, but now technology allows us to enjoy a genuine mid-range GPU without a fan cooler.
Additionally, there’s ASUS Super Alloy Power, which we’ve talked about before. This specially-formulated alloy is inside the capacitors, chokes and MOSFETs of the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent, helping it perform better and stay cooler beyond the DirectCU architecture. Super Alloy Power averages a 15% performance boost compared to reference, and theoretically extends the card’s lifespan by as much as a factor of 2.5 thanks to better heat resistance and tolerance.
For a 0dB passive-cooled card, this 6770 is quite impressive. It has no problem running new games in 720p or 1366 x 768 with mid to high settings, which is quite an accomplishment for a fanless design. If you crank up the resolution to 1080p, then you may have to settle for lower settings, but it’s still very much doable. Remember this kind of gaming was unheard of with passive cards over the last five-six years, and realize just how significant the new 6770 is. Of course, it also supports AMD Eyefinity and HD3D technologies, and as you can see the outputs include HDMI, VGA and DVI.
You can expect this card to reach retailers early next week (i.e. early August), so check it out then and let us know what you think!