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Asus’ card shares the same 9" x 4 ½" PCB as Zotac's board. It's heavier, and feels a little sturdier, perhaps due to the DirectCU II metal fan shroud. Core and memory clocks of 925 and 1050 MHz are significantly higher than the 810/1002 MHz reference specification.
The dual PCIe power connectors are on the top edge of the card, enabling convenient access. Well done, Asus!
Asus’ DirectCU II cooler sports three 6 mm flattened heatpipes that pull heat away from the core and toward cooling fins and a fan on the right of the card. The company claims that this arrangement runs 20% cooler than a "generic" GeForce GTX 560 (whatever that is). We'll put the claim to the test shortly in our thermal tests.
Two DVI outputs and one mini-HDMI connector aren't at all surprising. But they satisfy the requisite connectors we'd want to see on a card like this.
A DVI-to-VGA adapter, two Molex-to-6-pin-PCIe power adapters, a mini-HDMI-to-HDMI adapter, a driver disk, and user manual are all part of the bundle.
What’s noteworthy is that the included SmartDoctor software is capable of raising the GPU voltage on premium Asus cards with voltage tweak technology, and the GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP happens to be one of those cards. This is a powerful tool for overclockers.
Asus’ GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP has a $220 MSRP, just like Zotac's board. Notice a pattern here? Nvidia is aiming for the $200 price range, but partners are sending out pricier overclocked cards for performance comparisons. Will that skew the value comparison? It'll undoubtedly have some effect.