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::>Graphics cards > 2014 > 10 > ASUS STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5

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Republish review

23-10-2014


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Motherboard ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC: review and testing

It is logical that ASUS did not maintain aloofness from the announcement and the start of sales of new graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, having extending the already well-known to us the lineup ASUS STRIX by own modification of the above model - ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC -4GD5).

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

As the name implies, it has received not only the factory overclocking, but also a proprietary cooling system DirectCU II. Also note the traditionally high quality of the circuitry, enhanced power subsystem and technology 0dB FAN, which allows the use cooling system in the passive mode at low load. But before proceeding to a detailed familiarity with the novelty, we recall that all the features of microarchitecture NVIDIA Maxwell can be found in a separate article.

Model

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC

(ASUS STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM204-200-A1 (Maxwell)

Quantity of universal shader processors (CUDA-core)

1664

Technologies and API support

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Frequency of graphics core, MHz

1114 (1253 with technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0)

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1753 (7012)

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB

224,4

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening  interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х DVI-D

1 х HDMI

1 х DisplayPort

Support of HDCP and decoding of HD-video

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

280 х 140

(294 х 144)

Drivers

Drivers can be download from ASUS or  GPU

Website

ASUS

As you can see, the nominal and dynamic clock frequency of the GPU was increased at the factory from 1050/1178 MHz to 1114/1253 MHz, respectively. This ensures an additional performance boost. The video memory runs at reference speed.

Packaging and content

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5 is shipped in volume cardboard box and decorated with high-quality and very original typographic style of lineup ASUS STRIX. In addition to the manufacturer and model of the device, do note the reference about the capacity and type of video memory and the ownership of the solution to the lineup «OC» (factory overclocked graphics cards). Also in the bottom right corner there is a support of technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The main advantages are: a proprietary cooling technology DirectCU II c 0dB FAN, digital power subsystem DIGI+ VRM and improved circuitry made in accordance with the concept of Super Alloy Power. It includes:

  • solid capacitors with increased service life;
  • chokes with ferrite core;
  • tantalum-polymer capacitors POSCAP, which have a high level of stability and efficiency, even during extreme overclocking.

As for everyday use, the described above advantages make it possible to increase by 15% the energy efficiency, to reduce in noise power elements by 30% and increase in the service life of the graphics adapter by 2.5 times.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the benefits listed on the front side. Also here is a schematic diagram of the interface board and the mention about the capabilities of proprietary utility GPU Tweak with function Online Streaming.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

A list of system requirements is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system should have a capacity of at least 500 W and provide a minimum of 38 A on the +12V line. As for the additional power connectors, the tested model requires to connect only one 8-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

In the set of delivery of the graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC we found only the standard documentation and CD with software. At first glance, such a kit may seem insufficient, but if you think about it, almost all modern compliant power supplies are equipped with at least one 8-pin connector PCIe. And monitors often have at their disposal more than one digital interface. Therefore, for many users additional power cables and adapters were unclaimed.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

To display an image the novelty uses quite a standard set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DisplayPort.

In this case, it differs significantly from the standard configuration, which includes five video outputs: three DisplayPort, one HDMI and one DVI-I.
The following resolutions:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Analog up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Graphics card is made on the original circuit board, which is allocated by a special area with connectors for bridges NVIDIA SLI. Despite the unique design, the arrangement of key elements is quite standard: eight video memory chips are soldered around the GPU, while the components of the power subsystem are on the left side of it.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Power supply of model ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC is performed by enhanced six-phase scheme. Another additional phase is used for memory chips. Let’s recall that the reference version includes only the five phases (four for the GPU and one for the memory chips). Used circuitry is consistent with the concept Super Alloy Power, including exceptionally high quality components: solid capacitors, ferrite core chokes, and tantalum-polymer capacitors POSCAP. This helps improve the stability and reliability of the graphics card as a whole, as well as to extend its service life.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The power subsystem of core is implemented on a digital PWM controller DIGI+ VRM ASP1212 manufactured by International Rectifier, which supports an active control of eight phases, and also has a number of security technologies: OVP (over-voltage), UVP (under voltage), OCP (overload current) and the OTP (over-temperature).

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

In addition to slot PCI Express 3.0 x16, supplying is provided through a reinforced 8-pin version. The reference adapter uses two 6-pin PCIe sockets. Separately we note that the cooler does not interfere with the process of connecting and disconnecting the power cord.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

For the operation of technology NVIDIA SLI ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC uses two connectors for connecting the respective bridges. They allow to combine two to four graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effects.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The reverse side of the PCB, originally protected by a massive base plate, is notable for the presence of the previously mentioned tantalum-polymer solid capacitors POSCAP and other electrical components.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The basis of the test model is the graphics chip NVIDIA GM204-200-A1 (Maxwell), produced by the 28-nm technology process. It includes 1664 unified shader pipelines (CUDA cores in the terminology of NVIDIA), 64 Rops and 104 texture units. As we have said, the graphics card is distinguished by the factory overclocking of the graphics core with clock rate 1114 and 1253 MHz for the nominal and dynamic modes respectively.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Memory of ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC with total capacity of 4GB is collected with the help of 8 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity of 512MB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7 GHz. Exchange of data between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 256-bit bus, which is capable of passing 224.4 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Graphics card with installed cooling system DirectCU II takes up two expansion slots and has a total length of 280 mm according to the official website of ASUS (294 mm measured in our lab).

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The cooler consists of a massive heat sink, which includes 45 aluminum plates, two 95-mm fans with support of 0dB FAN, and the metal casing that covers the entire structure.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

The fans are made by company FirstDo and have marking «FD9015U12S». Judging by the letter «S» in the title, they are built on the sleeve bearing.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

For uniform distribution of heat over the entire area of the radiator three copper heat pipes of different diameters with are used: two 8 mm and a 10 mm. Note that the cooling fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the decrease in the efficiency of cooling system during operation caused by the oxidation of metals. Standard item for coolers DirectCU II is scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

To improve the efficiency of heat transfer the heat pipes are securely soldered to the aluminum radiator fins and copper base.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Since the main cooling system is not in contact directly with either force elements of power stabilization module or memory chips, to cool the first a single element in the form of a low-profile heatsink with thermal interface on the back side is used. But the memory chips, unfortunately have no any additional cooling.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Mounted on the back side of the accelerator the stiffness plate has no any thermal interface. Nevertheless, it is quite hot during the test, thus participating in the removal of excess heat.

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

During automatic speed control of the fan blades, the maximum load, the graphics core was warmed up to 64 degrees and cooler according the monitoring operated on 33% of its maximum capacity. The noise level at the same time can be described as a "very quiet".

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

Under the maximum speed of the fan blades, the GPU temperature dropped to 43 degrees. In this case noise level was increased, which can be characterized as "above average".

ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5)

In case of absence of load the frequencies of the graphics core and memory were automatically lowered, allowing to reduce the power consumption and heat generation of graphics core. In this mode, the GPU temperature does not exceed 45 degrees because the fans generally stop to rotate and the cooling system operates in a fully passive mode. Namely here the above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN is active. It provides silent operation of graphics card at low loads.


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