ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II OC Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: August 26, 2013
Product Name: GTX 780 DirectCU II OC
Part Number: GTX780-DC2OC-3GD5
Warranty: 3 Years
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Under the Heatsink; SAP Components Galore

ASUS has gone all out in the design department for their GTX 780 DirectCU II OC and thereís no other area more evident of this focus than the PCBís component selection. It all starts with massive goliath-like PCB thatís been expanded to house an 8 phase GPU all-digital PWM alongside two dedicated phases for the GDDR5 memory. Thatís a major distinguishing factor since very few competitors (other than the Galaxy HoF and MSI Lightning) can lay claim to a similar feature set.

We also canít forget that ASUS has taken it upon themselves to offer up a ground-up custom design. All of the components and PCB layout are of their own making which means a strict control over quality and longevity.

One of the cornerstones of ASUSí approach is what they call Super Alloy Power or SAP components. When taken at face value, it is no different from MSIís Military Class or Gigabyteís Ultra Durable initiative but thereís much more to it.

Like its competitorsí options, SAP aims to equip ASUSí higher end graphics cards with PWM components that provide better performance, lower operating temperatures and a longer lifespan than a reference design. However, SAP actually takes things to the next level by specifying distinct, ASUS-designed items which are spread across the MOSFETs, capacitors and chokes. Super Alloy Power isnít just a fancy marketing term either since there are some noteworthy enhancements packed into this design.

The three aforementioned component categories (caps, MOSFETs and chokes) play an important part role in GPU design and power delivery. In this case, the chokes ASUS has chosen use a special reinforced core which not only reduces coil whine but also delivers superior performance, improved power output, reduced temperatures and additional protection against electronic interference. To a layman, these aspects may not have a direct impact upon performance but everything from overclocking stability to the cardís lifespan may be improved.

Other than the chokes, SAP also includes capacitors with a titanic 150,000 hour MTBF that increases the maximum voltage threshold and power output by about 30%. Thereís also the upgraded MOSFETs the lower operating temperature and enhance power delivery, thus enhancing overclocking headroom. ASUS has even installed a specialized SAP CAP behind the GPU core which further augments input stability.

So what is the result of all of this haute technology? A number of things of which some may be experienced firsthand while others are slightly more intrinsic in nature. For example, as we can see above, the enhanced chokes and MOSFETs have a significant impact upon PCB temperatures.

With all of the enhancements, component-destroying ripple has also been decreased by a significant amount, particularly when the card is working at higher voltages. Even efficiency has been given a boost.

On the flip side of that coin, many of ASUSí other features will be stymied by NVIDIAís GPU Boost limits which clamp down hard on overclocking headroom. Granted, SAP will likely allow you to remain at higher frequencies well into the cardís life but initially, very few will experience much difference between this card and a reference version.

For anyone who wants to push their card to the limit via custom BIOSes that throw out NVIDIAís predetermined limits, ASUSí SAP will likely be invaluable. Itís simply up to the end user to determine how far theyíre willing to push things.

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