ASUS GTX 780 STRIX OC 6GB Review
NVIDIA’s GTX 780 may not be the newest card on the block but from a price / performance standpoint it is still one of the best options available. ASUS is aiming to capitalize upon the affordability factor by introducing a product family into the GTX 780 lineup dubbed the STRIX.
Alongside the DirectCU II, Matrix, Striker, Poseidon, MARS and a number of other products, ASUS’ product lineup has begun to look increasingly unwieldy as of late. However, like its siblings, the STRIX nameplate has been created in an effort to put a name to some new technology. In this case ASUS is billing the GTX 780 STRIX OC as one of the first truly “silent” high end graphics cards on the market, in some scenarios at least. That’s right; due to the advanced cooling design being used the STRIX has the capability to completely shut off its fans provided the core remains below a 65°C temperature threshold. As you can imagine that has some serious implications for any gamers looking for a quiet rig.
Adding an advanced heatsink and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it anymore so ASUS ensured the STRIX would stand out in a number of other aspects as well. While not the fastest overclock around, its core speeds parallel those found on the DirectCU II OC edition but remain far behinds the likes of MSI Lightning, GIGABYTE’s WindForce OC and EVGA’s ACX SC edition. There is however plenty of room to overclock and NVIDIA’s Boost algorithms do take advantage of the extra cooling potential ASUS provided.
Backstopping these numbers is 6GB of GDDR5 memory which doubles up on the reference design’s 3GB. It remains at reference speeds but the additional capacity should help performance in some scenarios.
While the GTX 780 STRIX OC Edition hasn’t quite seen a widespread launch yet, its price is supposed to hit the $580 mark. That’s a pretty hefty $100 premium over ASUS’ own GTX 780 DirectCU II OC (which currently goes for $479 after rebates) but is actually a bit less expensive than other 6GB GTX 780 cards from EVGA and MSI.
On paper at least the STRIX is no different from most other custom GTX 780 cards despite its inclusion of additional memory. However, in this case ASUS has done a massive amount of legwork to ensure it is the quietest running high end card on the market. To that end, they have added a large heatsink which sits atop an expanded PCB.
Despite housing a significant amount of cooling power (which is necessary considering the card can run without any fans rotating) the STRIX is actually quite compact. At 11.3” long, it should have no trouble fitting into smaller enclosures, though its large 5.8” width may hamper installation into thinner chassis.
As you might expect, that heatsink is one of ASUS’ major selling points and even though it uses the same DirectCU II moniker as past cards, there are plenty of changes. It consists of two large 92mm fans that sit atop a 4112cm˛ fin array which is being fed by five 10mm direct-contact copper heatipipes. That equates a stunning 425W of heat dissipation power which is more than ASUS’ classic DirectCU II design and goes a long way towards granting this card an ability to run fanless in certain situations.
Flipping the GTX 780 STRIX over reveals an extensive backplate that covers a wider-than-reference PCB and the rear-mounted GDDR5 memory modules. ASUS has also rolled their Digi+ VRM and Super Alloy Power technologies into this card, granting it a claimed 30% cleaner power (essential for overclocking stability) and roughly 2.5x the lifespan of a reference design. It achieves these numbers through the use of an all-digital 8-phase VRM, concrete-core chokes and a dedicated SAP CAP behind the GPU core to provide additional overclocking capacity.
The inclusion of voltage read points is now a ubiquitous feature on nearly every single custom GPU so their appearance here isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Some overclockers will appreciate them though.
What is interesting is the manner in which ASUS designed their SLI connectors. Since the heatsink exceeds the PCB by a significant amount, accessing them in a standard position would have proven to be challenging in some instances. How did ASUS overcome this? By simply attaching the connectors to a PCB outcropping so they’re in-ling with the heatsink shroud’s leading edge. It’s a brilliant solution; albeit one that looks a bit odd.
Connectivity is a straightforward affair with this card. It uses a 6+8 pin power input that’s backstopped by ASUS handy LED indicators that shine green for a good connection and red when a power cable isn’t plugged in properly. Meanwhile, the GTX 780 STRIX’s backplate retains NVIDIA’s reference design with a pair of DVI outputs alongside connectors for HDMI and DisplayPort.
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