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Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP

Five Overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Cards, Rounded-Up
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The Asus GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP is one of the test samples we had on-hand for the GeForce GTX 560 launch back in May of last year, and it remains Asus’ premium GeForce GTX 560-based offering.

With a 9” x 4” PCB and 10.25” x 5” total size (including bezel and cooler), it’s the largest card in our round-up. The sturdy metallic fan shroud and metal reinforcement lip on the top edge give the card a very solid, inflexible feel.

The company's premium GTX 560 model can be found on Newegg for $219.99.

Asus flagship is overclocked compared to the reference design, sporting 925 MHz core and 1050 MHz memory frequencies. That's a notable improvement over Nvidia's 810/1002 MHz clocks, giving this card the second-highest factory overclock in today's story. The two auxiliary six-pin power connectors sit on the top of the card where we like to see them, rather than the side, where they'd add additional length.

The DirectCU II cooler employs three 6 mm flattened heat pipes to draw thermal energy away from the GPU and into the aluminum fins. It’s interesting to note that the two 3" radial fans are not identical, but rather have a different number of blades.

Two DVI ports and a single mini-HDMI output mirror Nvidia's reference model. Of course, because Nvidia's GPU only includes two independent display pipelines, you're only able to utilize a pair of digital outputs at any given time.

Asus includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, two dual Molex-to-six-pin power adapters, a mini-HDMI-to-HDMI adapter, a driver disk, and user manual. That's a little modest given a price tag in the upper range of boards with this GPU. It might have been nice to receive a game as well.

Bundled SmartDoctor overclocking software is able to increase GPU voltage on the GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP for more aggressive overclocking. The stock 1.012 V setting can be scaled up as high as 1.112 V.

Overclocking

We went ahead and used Asus' SmartDoctor utility to increase the GF114's voltage to 1.112 V (the highest setting). Although that's a notable jump on a graphics card, it's worth mentioning that we were able to use MSI's Afterburner software to apply 1.15 V to most of the other cards in this round-up. Asus' tool has no option to alter memory voltage, although it does allow us to manually increase fan speed. For this test, we set the fans to run as fast as possible, if only as a gauge of peak overclocking potential.

At those settings, we were able to achieve a 970 MHz core and 1152 MHz memory setting with complete stability in our Battlefield 3-based benchmark. That's not a huge jump over the card’s factory overclock, but it is again quite significant compared to the 810/1002 MHz reference speeds that Nvidia originally shipped to press for its GeForce GTX 560 launch.

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