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We check out the Asus HD 6770 DirectCU Silent - Part I Featured

by on14 February 2012 5733 times

gpu01Although the big news in the graphics market is AMD’s 7xxx series GPUs and the lack of Kepler from nVidia there are still things going on with some of AMD’s older Radeon products. One of these arrived in our lab a few days ago and is a very interesting product indeed. This is Asus’ HD 6770 DirectCU Silent. It is pretty much exactly what it says; you get an AMD Radeon 6770 GPU (with 1gb of GDDR5) cooled by a direct contact cooler with no moving parts. This is a great product for people looking to build a silent gaming rig or perhaps a quite HTPC. Of course there are probably going to be tradeoffs with any product like this and it is now our job to find out what they are. So, without too much of a delay let’s take a look at Asus’ EAH6770 DC SL/2D1/1GD5; otherwise known as the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent.

The Box and Goodies-
The box for the DirectCU Silent looks a little like a Molly Hatchet album cover (you will have to look that up if you do not know what that means). You have the obligatory image of a fantasy knight sitting on a large horse in armor. Our guess is that this is to indicate good gaming performance, but it could also be just to get you to look at the box. ON the front there are a few badges to get your attention as well.
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One of these is the 0db cooling badge; if you are into building silent rigs this will certainly grab your eye. Another item that is sure to catch your attention is called Super Alloy Power. This slightly ambiguous logo has images of capacitors, mosfets and chokes. Although it does not say it on the box we are going to guess this is a nod to the careful component selection that Asus has always used in their non-reference (and sometimes reference) products. Asus’ website goes into more detail and explains that this is components built with a special alloy that gives them better performance, longer life and also allows them to run cooler. The other logos are pretty simple and are what you would expect on an AMD GPU.
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The back goes into more detail and actually puts some statistics to the Super Power Alloy banner. According to Asus you are going to get 15% better performance, 2.5 times the lifespan and run 35c cooler. Asus does put in a small disclaimer stating that the 35c is in comparison to a traditional coil choke.
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One item on the back that Asus dropped in (and we comment on in our video coverage) is the location of the 6-pin PCIe power port. It is in a very cramped location, they recommend (as do we) that you use the included adapter cable to make sure you do not have any issues connecting this to power once it is in your case.
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The goodies included inside the box are a tad light, but that is ok as there is no need to stack things up in this product. You do get a couple of 6-pin adapter cables, an installation DVD, a manual, and an HDMI to DVI adapter.

The EAH6770 DC SL/2DI/1GD5 -
The first thing you will notice about this GPU after you get it out of the box is how large the cooling unit is. In comparison to the actual card it is almost 50% longer. This is a good thing though as it needs the extra surface area to keep the 6770 GPU cool.

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Asus also went for a four heat pipe system with each tube having a larger diameter than simple stacking up more heatpipes and cluttering up the cooling. As you can see each heatpipe has quite a bit of fin area to play with. This will help prevent saturation and should allow for better cooling even without massive amounts of air movement.

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Another item that will help with pulling heat away from the GPU is that each of the four heatpipes has direct contact with the GPU (this is what DirectCU means after all). We do have a complaint though, looking at the cooling system we noticed that none of the memory is being cooled by the massive heatsink. This is a little disappointing as overheating memory can lead to artifacts in your gaming as well as other video performance problems. It could be that Asus did not feel that this GPU would be put under extreme gaming loads, but still the RAM should have some form of cooling other than standard surface area, especially as there is no fan to push air down and over it during use.
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The PCB on the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent is a custom Asus design (you can tell be the rounded corners) with Asus’ hand-picked components like the Super Alloy Power components that they talk about on the box and on their site.
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For connectivity Asus gives you DVI, VGA and HDMI; you also get AMD’s HD3D technology (great for an HTPC), but unfortunately it does not look like you get support for Eyefinity.

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Conclusion-
For now we are very intrigued by this GPU from Asus; there is a potential for a silent gaming system here as well as for a powerful HTPC. We will be testing out both of these options once we get this inside of our gaming rig.

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Last modified on 14 February 2012
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