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NVIDIA GTX 600 Series: GIGABYTE or ASUS Card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 25, 2012 12:51:41 AM

So I am currently working on my first computer build and have already established that I intend to purchase an NVIDIA GTX 680 Graphics Card and it has come down to 2 different manufacturers along with several other factors. So I'll jump right in.

The conflict is between Gigabyte' non-reference card; OC Windforce
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And Asus' non-reference card; Direct CU II Top Edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I chose these primarily due to their superior cooling opposed to their reference counterparts.
My problem is:

1. I am starting with a single card and intent to go dual SLI in the future. Many people say unless you make the jump sooner than later, you never will. So with that being said, should I got with the 3-slot ASUS card or the *2-slot* GIGABYTE card incase I choose to upgrade and their is some room between each card for proper ventilation?

2. I am concerned with the weight of the ASUS card. Will the brackets at the back of the card be stable enough to hold the card in place without bending anything on the MOBO out of place? Do I need to buy a brace that mounts in one of the expansion slots? I would just like some reassurance on this issue.

3. Does Gigabyte package any type of software with their cards to modify its properties? If so, is it reliable? I know ASUS has custom software tailored for their card which is a +1 for the ASUS card off the bat.

4.Are SLI bridges modular/flexible IF there was a gap between each card approximately one PCIE slot wide?

5. Is it "okay" for two cards to be "sandwiched" together?

6. I am inclined to go with ASUS as my final decision but I need some reassurance regarding the weight of the card affecting/damaging the motherboard.

That's all I can really think of at the moment but I have nearly perfected my personal build list and this was the only decision that lingered. Overall I am thinking of going with the ASUS card; it's aesthetically pleasing, great cooling, lots of outputs, and card software. It's just SO DAMN HUGE. I have the room on my MOBO and in my case to fit a second one. I don't know. What do you think? If you require any other information regarding my build or just want to take a gander at my parts list, let me know! Any input on these questions would be greatly appreciated! This is my first post but have always come to this community for advice and knowledge so I finally decided to make an account considering my computer components are nearly ready to be purchased and built! Thanks in advance! :pt1cable: 

-Folkrod
June 25, 2012 12:57:47 AM

Ive read here and there about some issues with those Top cards. Most are the GTX670 though. Personally I think Id opt for the Gigabyte.

Galaxy and EVGA are my personal Nvidia favorites for what its worth.
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June 25, 2012 1:00:24 AM

Thanks for the quick response! I'll take a look at Galaxy and EVGA.
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June 25, 2012 1:12:02 AM

EVGA has great customer service and I almost never read about any problems with their cards. The main reason I like Galaxy is that I frequent the HardOCP forum and they have a rep that checks in there often whenever somebody is having an issue. Thats pretty cool to me. Also, they give away a lot of freebies over there too. Gotta like that! :D 
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June 25, 2012 1:19:45 AM

+1 to EVGA. Very happy with my 670 FTW which uses the 680 PCB and cooler. It's a 2 slot cooler and VERY sturdy. It replaced a Gigabyte Windforce 560ti and that card was very flimsy and sagged on the pci socket. I've also heard the 3 fan models are noisy, mine had 2 and it was quite noisy.

Hope that helps :) 
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