The original GTX 680 graphics cards from ASUS delivered immense graphics processing power, but required three-slot accommodation which, for many people, proved quite hard to achieve. While three slots are often necessary for truly beastly graphics power it’s always great to see technology march on, and ASUS engineers have been able to revise the GTX 680 into a slimmer 2-slot form factor. This height has been standard for performance cards for several years now, and even modest mATX cases have no problem taking a card in this size range.
What’s even better is that the revised GTX 680 DirectCU II not only keeps the same high-end NVIDIA GTX 680 core, it doubles video memory to a massive 4GB. As we’ve learned this amount of GDDR5 will soon become necessary to run new PC titles as intended in all their ultra setting glory – think Crysis 3.
The DirectCU cooler here uses a new heatpipe arrangement, referred to by ASUS as “SSU”, due to the roughly twin S and one U-shaped copper pipes. This design offers better cooling as it optimises heat transference distance while ensuring high temps linger for shorter periods within the shroud. This achieves up to twice the cooling of previous DirecCU II coolers in the same space. Consequently, the dual-fan revised GTX 680 maintains ASUS DirectCU directives: around 20% and up to three times quieter than reference GTX 680s.
The core runs at 1058MHz boost so we have yet another mega card that breaks the 1GHz barrier, although now that threshold has been passed so many times I’m not even sure we can call it a barrier. The memory is speedy at 6008MHz. The card has DIGI+ VRM digital voltage regulation and Super Alloy Power components , meaning better overclocking, lower power noise for greater stability, and extended product lifespan. Those concrete-core chokes and other strong power delivery parts mean cards that last up to 2.5 times compared to reference. GPU Tweak is included in the box for easy overclocking and general card tuning, plus there’s a limited edition version of this product that qualifies for the recently-announced Ubisoft game promotion.
OK, shall we look at some pics?
Look at this beauty…4GB! Once a pipe dream, now a reality!
Note the bottom left corner of the back of the packaging which clearly shows the new 2-slot height. Otherwise, we can see main feature highlights here.
The sturdy box opens up to show the accessory tray, tough packing foam and finally the card itself in its anti-static bag.
And here’s the card which measures 10.7″ long. The cooler of course maintains the ASUS DirectCU look and colour scheme.
Close look at the PCI Express 3.0 slot and part of the heatpipes.
The fans are carefully picked and adjusted to ensure minimised noise generation, hence the up to three times quieter than reference figures. That also includes the fact that DirectCU cards run cooler, so the fans don’t need to spin as fast.
The other side of the card shows more of the heatpipes, as well as the SLI fingers for those of you looking for multi-GPU setups.
Two slot form factor at last as requested by the community! And of course, several output options so you can hook up monitors: HDMI, DisplayPort, two DVI.
Very impressive backplate as befits a card of this stature, doubling as PCB protector/reinforcement, plus an extra layer of cooling (note the vents which allow for air flow between the PCB and the plate).
Now that the GTX 680 from ASUS is available in two slots with a monstrous 4GB of GDDR5, this is definitely something to consider if you’re thinking ahead. Easy to fit in nearly nearly every case, this top of the line card is just the ticket for a beefy setup that will last you some time to come.