The graphics card features an exclusive cooling system called DirectCU II. As its name indicates, the cooler implements the direct-contact technology which has become very popular among the manufacturers of top-end cooling systems.
The point of the mentioned technology is simple. The cooler’s heat pipes have direct contact with the GPU chip instead of using any intermediary materials. The technology works right only if implemented properly. Judging by the thermal grease imprint, the ENGTX580 DCII is such a case. Each of the five heat pipes serving the two sections of the large aluminum heatsink is put to work. There are two 92mm fans blowing at the two heatsink sections.
The power transistors of the voltage regulators are equipped with an additional small aluminum heatsink whereas the metallic back-plate cools them via an elastic thermal pad. Thus, the cooling system of the ASUS ENGTX580 DirectCU II is high quality but there was one problem with our sample of the card. The impeller of one fan was brushing against the edge of the cooler casing and we had to bend it a little to correct that.
It would be quite inappropriate for such an advanced cooler to work with much noise. The ENGTX580 DCII is indeed rather quiet and comparable to the GeForce GTX 570 in this respect in 3D applications. The speed of its fans, according to the tachometer, varies from 1200 to 1830 RPM. With the large heatsinks and the properly implemented direct-touch technology, there is no need for the fans to get faster unless at overclocking.
The temperature of the card is not very low, yet it is surely cooled more effectively than Nvidia’s reference sample in idle mode and as effectively as the latter in 3D mode. Overall, the cooling system of the ENGTX580 DCII is very good, but its large dimensions are a downside. The cooler requires at least two more slots besides the one occupied by the graphics card proper. And we’d even recommend leaving a third slot empty, so that the cooler’s fans could get fresh air. You should also keep it in mind that the DirectCU II cooler doesn’t exhaust the hot air out of the system case, so the latter must be properly ventilated.