Nvidia's GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini, a mini-ITX-friendly graphics board, is now a finished product and will be launching forthwith.
Asus has finalised the design of its Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini graphics board, originally previewed early last month
, providing mini-ITX system builders with an easy way to cram high-performance graphics into their diminutive cases.
Based on a slightly-modified reference GTX 670 printed circuit board - matching the 17.5cm of Nvidia's standard design but replacing the power components with its own Super Alloy Power design - the GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini offers all the performance of its full-size counterparts: 1,344 CUDA cores from a GK104 Kepler GPU, 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit bus, and support for up to four displays natively through dual DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.
It's the cooler where the main design work has gone, Asus explains: unlike the full-length design of Nvidia's reference cooler, the GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini includes a shorter cooler that hugs the PCB far more closely, resulting in a total board length of 17.5cm compared to the stock design's 24.13cm. That drop in length doesn't correspond to a drop in cooling, either, with Asus claiming the combination of a copper vapour chamber on top of the GPU and a new CoolTech blower/axial crossover fan design means that the board hits temperatures around 20 per cent lower than Nvidia's reference design.
Asus isn't the first company to look at taking advantage of the smaller PCB size common to the GeForce GTX 670: while the reference design may use an elongated cooling system, Zotac launched its own mini-ITX-friendly design in June last year based on a modification of its TwinCooler heatsink. Sadly, that design was only ever made available in China and Japan, whereas Asus has declared that it will be launching the GTX 670 DirectCU Mini internationally.
Although watercooling entusiasts have been able to choose from a variety of 17.5cm-length full-cover waterblocks for the GeForce GTX 670 for some time, Asus will be alone in launching a compact air-cooled edition - meaning its competitors will be watching how it sells very closely, with a view to following into the mini-ITX market themselves should it prove successful.
Full UK availability and pricing for the GeForce GTX DirectCU Mini have yet to be confirmed, but buyers can expect to pay a premium over the standard Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II 2GB - currently available for around the £320 mark if you shop around.