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Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview

Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview

Manufacturer: Asus

The Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II might appear to be just a mammoth cooler strapped to Nvidia's fastest graphics card to date. While it does command a considerable three-slot thickness, but like many high-end graphics cards Asus has also gone to the extent of re-engineering the PCB beyond the reference design as well.

Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview
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With the red stripes on the black shroud, that large cooler follows the aesthetic design of other DirectCU cards, although instead of a plastic shroud this one is all metal. There are also two fans rather than the usual one, and at 100mm a pop they can shift some serious air. Asus likes to quantify this as '600 per cent more than stock.' Unlike the GeForce GTX 480 1.5GB though, the GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB thankfully runs quite a bit cooler so the 4-pin PWM fans automatically turn themselves down.

Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview
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On the flip side, Asus has covered the rear of the card with a big black grille that doubles as a heatsink for the backside of the VRMs. However, we're not sure whether the big Asus logo is to everyone's taste. We suppose if you paid big money for such a card, at least you get to show it off, as the fancy cooler will face the floor anyway.

Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview
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The card requires two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors, up from 6-pin and 8-pin arrangement of standard cards - this arrangement is not unheard of on ultra-high end graphics cards. Remember that 8-pin PCI Express power connectors provide extra grounding rather than additional power rails. At least the card doesn't require an addition 6-pin connector like the MSI GTX 480 Lightning does, although the Lightning did offer features such as voltage readout points, where the Asus does not.

Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview Asus GeForce GTX 580 DirectCU II Preview
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On the output bracket there's the usual mix of HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI ports, but as ever (due to Nvidia's output engine limitation) only two of these can be used at once. A full-size HDMI output is always welcome over the typical mini-HDMI of most current-generation Nvidia cards. The exhaust vents are also nicely spaced to allow hot air to escape, although the metal shroud doesn't exactly direct the airflow towards it.