Is there anything sexy about PC components? For about 99% of the population, the answer is probably no. But since you're reading this, chances are that you've fallen in love with the design of a component at least once. Maybe the draw was strong enough to reel you into the world of enthusiast computing, where the skill of overclocking is revered, cable management is a compulsion, and upgraded cooling is not just an option, it's a necessity.
For sure, we've seen our fair share of hot deigns throughout the years, but few have spoken to our inner enthusiast quite like the DirectCU II product line from industry heavyweight, Asus. At first glance, you can tell these cards were spawned specifically for discriminating users who appreciate the finer details that make one product stand out from another. Aggressive design? Check. Black PCB? Yup. Red racing stripes? Yes they did. Triple slot cooler? Whoa.
Today, we're looking at five DirectCU graphics cards from Asus: the GTX 580, GTX 570, HD 6970, HD 6950, and HD 6870. They span the high-end and mid-range spectrum within the GPU market, with representatives from both NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon product lines. Of course, all come factory overclocked while sporting massive coolers with redesigned PCBs and enhanced components. If you're into enthusiast level hardware, especially graphics cards, you don't want to miss this article. Read on to find out what DirectCU is all about and if one of these cards has what it takes to be your next upgrade...
Dig the look of these cards? Well, we bet you'll like their price tags even more. Generally speaking, overclocked models of video cards, or any PC component, usually command significantly higher prices due to their improved features and performance. But here, Asus has bucked that trend and set their entire DirectCU line at or close to the cost of stock cards. For example, re-badged reference design GTX 580s go for $499 online. The Asus DirectCU II GTX 580 also sells for the same price, but includes several enhanced features including higher clock speeds and and upgraded cooling solution. Let's take a closer look at these features and how well they perform in various benchmarks.