Asus has taken the wraps off its latest graphics card product: the Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini, a compact board designed specifically for mini-ITX gaming builds.
Revealed late yesterday on the company's Republic of Gamers
site, the new board takes the compact board of Nvidia's GTX 670 reference design - just 17.5cm along its length - and pairs it with an ultra-compact version of the Asus DirectCU heatsink for a small form factor-appropriate yet surprisingly powerful graphics card.
Beneath the custom-design single-fan DirectCU Mini vapour-chamber based cooling system, which still takes up two slots despite its lack of length, is a pretty standard Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 board
- aside from the use of Asus' Super Alloy Power components, which it claims offers a lifespan some two and a half times greater than Nvidia's reference components. As a result, gamers looking for a compact design will find themselves with a board featuring 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.
If you're hoping for pricing and release information, however, you're going to be disappointed: currently, Asus has but a single prototype sample of the system, which it explains is still undergoing design tweaks and testing prior to launch. With no mass production yet on schedule, it could be a while before the compact graphics card hits the open market - even allowing for the use of a fairly stock Nvidia PCB beneath the clever custom cooler.
When it finally does launch, however, it will have some competition: rival graphics card maker Zotac announced its own mini-ITX-friendly Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 in June last year, using a modified TwinCooler heatsink featuring two 80mm fans. Sadly, though, this board was only ever released in Japan and China, while its dual-fan design means that Asus may, depending on how clever it has been with its single-fan design, have the edge in noise levels.