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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Featured, Reviews |

ASUS HD 7770 DirectCU Review

Author: Luis Felipe Castillo
Photos: Mariano Mancilla

As an iteration of the HD 7770, presents its version of this inexpensive family GPU Cape Verde. Factory overclocked, support for multiple monitors and a sink direct contact with the GPU has this ASUS DirectCU, waiting to be the new queen of the middle segment, ie, close to USD $150.

Without further ado we invite you to read our analysis of this card, which clearly wants to be one of the best in the midsize segment.

First Look

We begin with the packaging, which is small considering that the video card is not of those who need another cabinet to themselves. The information we get from the box is more geared to inform the buyer about the benefits that come with the card. ASUS HD 7770 DirectCU, a steroid Radeon image 2

The accessory pack is a CD with drivers and manual, along with a manual to take advantage of the card, a CrossFireX bridge and a DVI to VGA.

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The card in all its glory, is small compared to the bigger sisters family Radeon HD 7000, but not that by paying little. The fan is located in the center of the heat sink, so that hot air goes in two directions, outside and inside the cabinet.

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The back is uncovered and without any dissipation than air that surrounds the video card.

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On the rear panel there are four ports, two of which are mini Display Port, HDMI and DVI.

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Once we removed the heat sink consisting of two heatpipes and numerous cooling fins. Note that these heatpipes make direct contact with the GPU are copper, hence the name DirectCU.

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In one approach we can see that the dissipative and paste the above heatpipes. Now, looking at greater length, the GPU just touches one of the heatpipes, so much work it takes only one and also the piece of aluminum that acts as a support for this cooling solution.

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Once naked the card, we can see all their components, crowned by the family GPU Cape Verde in its center. Something interesting to many is that this card requires one 6-pin connector, so that the sources of the middle segment may smoothly it with this card.

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More closely, we see the power phase of the GPU on one side of this and four memory modules and 1GB GDDR5 totaling operating at a frequency of 1150 MHz for its part, the GPU is set to a frequency of 1120 MHz, well above the frequency suggested by AMD.

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Platform and Methodology

The platform we use in this case is the detail in the following table:

Test Rig
Processor Intel Core i5 3570K @ 3.4 GHz (34 x 100MHz)
Motherboard Z77A-GD65 MSI
Memoirs G.Skill PC3-14900 Z Ripjaws 4x4GB @ 1600 MHz 9-10-9-28 1.5v 1T
Video Card ASUS HD 7770 DirectCU
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Power Supply Platinum 1000W Seasonic
Processor Cooling Liquid-cooled Intel
Storage Kingston HyperX SH100S3 120GB
Monitor Viewsonic VX2835wm 28 “
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Video Drivers NVIDIA 296.10 Drivers
Catalyst 4.12
Benchmarks Futuremark 3DMark 11 1.0.3
Unigine Heaven 3.0
Games Alien vs. Predator
Far Cry 2
DiRT 3
Lost Planet 2
Resident Evil 5
STALKER: Call of Pripyat
Utilities Prime95
Futuremark 3DMark Vantage 1.0.2

Test methodology

As we have always done, we run a series of tests that include both synthetic and gaming benchmarks “real” in order to determine how the VGA playing field in question. Comparative tests will be performed 3 times (and in some cases up enough that we remain compliant) and the results are averaged to obtain reliable numbers as possible. The overclock we publish will be the most stable for our working conditions, capable of running 3DMark 11 smoothly. The temperatures will be reported for different speeds and frequency (overclock), while consumption will be evaluated in two loading conditions detailed in the respective graph by using Prime95 to load the CPU and 3DMark Vantage for the card video.

Overclocking, Temperature and Consumption

This time, we had to do overlclock about overclocking, so the margin was a bit tight, as you can appreciate in the table.

Overclock ASUS HD 7770 ASUS HD 7770 OC
Frequency GPU 1120 MHz 1150 MHz
GPU overclock percentage 0% 2.7%
Frequency Memories 1150 MHz 1190 MHz
Percentage overclock Memories 0% 3.5%

In this screenshot we show that the overclock existed as such and the 3DMark Vantage test we have in the next page show some of the performance achieved by simply moving the frequencies.

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The operating temperature of this card is not something that should worry, even with automatic RPM, even if the heatpipes would surely be better located at lower temperatures.

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On the consumption side, the HD 7770 consumes more energy while at rest and less when under load, compared with the other two exponents GeForce.

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Synthetic tests

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Between numbers, the ASUS HD 7770 comes in second, just behind the GTX 560 Ti, while the topmost is the best behavior is the physical thing is to look at and compare the differences.

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Unigine Heaven 3.0

Meanwhile, with a fairly heavy tessellation test, we have the HD 7770 behaves as a GTX in terms of maximum FPS, while the average is higher than the Radeon, but has the lowest low of the tests, which may not be the delight of all who like to play with tessellation enabled. Finally the score of the ASUS HD 7770 allows you to settle for second place in the table, just behind the GTX 560 Ti.

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Testing Games

Alien vs. Predator

In games the situation is very different and we see that the ASUS HD 7770 performs quite well when we apply filters, at least in this title.

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DiRT 3

As one of the acclaimed car there today, we see that if you want to play DiRT 3 to everything your computer can, you should choose an alternative to the Radeon, provided that the price difference is not so high as to invalidate improvement between one and another card as indicated on the graph.

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Far Cry 2

In a well-known and demanding title such as Far Cry 2, we see that the HD 7770 falls well behind its competitors, being the least productive in the table.

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Lost Planet 2

Following the games that support DirectX 11, we have that in Lost Planet 2 ASUS HD 7770 again has the lowest average number of FPS, so the choice in this case are the GeForce, but if the price does not correlate with the gain clearly the choice is ASUS.

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Resident Evil 5

With this game we see that the performance of the ASUS HD 7770 takes off and is very close to the and in turn, leaves behind the GTX 460. If you are someone who likes to play these games in different variants, it would be best to have a card like the ASUS if not enough to buy a GTX 560 Ti.

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STALKER: Call of Pripyat

In the last game we tested, we have the performance of the HD 7770 is placed again in the second place, relegating the to last place, albeit by a fairly narrow range.

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Conclusion

Considering the price, technically this ASUS HD 7770 DirectCU is slightly better because it brings factory overclock and need not do anything to give up a little more than the GTX 460. Now, if looked at from another point of view, those who are more familiar with the overclock, always prefer a card with a higher margin rate at which they can access, so all this is easier to decide to buy .

Isolating card numbers, construction has the seal of ASUS, with good quality plastics and overall a well made product. With respect to software, we could not test it that after being installed this did not run and ended all in an error, things of the software.

Finally, we have a brief breakdown of what we save in this analysis.

The Good

  • Good performance to play at Full HD resolution with high details and high.
  • Only requires a 6 pin connector.
  • In automatic mode operates silently and keeps the temperature at an acceptable level.
  • It has heatpipes in direct contact with the GPU.
  • It comes factory overclocked.

The Bad

  • We could not use software to overclock ASUS.
  • It may not be noticeably higher than the old GeForce GTX 460.
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