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Closer Look at Testing Participants

ASUS ENGTX570 DCII

The first card is in many ways a copy of the more advanced ASUS ENGTX580 DCII we tested earlier.

We don’t see any differences in the quality or design of the packaging except for the model name and the specs. It’s good that ASUS indicates the card’s GPU clock rate right on the box. This information is important but very few manufacturers disclose it in such a way.

The external wrapper conceals a black cardboard box with gold embossing. The graphics card lies in a foam-rubber tray. Its accessories can be found in the two smaller boxes.

  • DVI-I → D-Sub adapter;
  • 2x6-pin PCIe → 1x8-pin PCIe adapter;
  • Flexible SLI bridge;
  • Brief SpeedSetup user manual;
  • CD disk with drivers and documents.

The accessories are the same as those of the ENGTX580 DCII. The flexible SLI bridge is a must due to the nonstandard dimensions of the PCB which prevents you from using a standard rigid SLI connector. There is everything necessary to use the graphics card but we guess that such a pompous product might have come with more accessories.

The two models from ASUS’s DCII series look almost the same. They even seem to be based on the same PCB (the GTX 570 model - on the left, the GTX 580 model - on the right):

 

However, this is not exactly so, as we can see by looking at their reverse sides. And after we remove the cooler, we have no doubts whatsoever:

 

The differences are significant. Particularly, this card has 8 power phases as opposed to 10 phases on the ENGTX580 DCII. The power system employs the same controllers, though. These are an ASUS SHE ASP0907 (we still do not know the original name of this chip) and an uP6223 chip.

A 6-pin power connector is installed instead of the senior model’s 8-pin one.

The most interesting thing about this PCB is that it can be used not only for GeForce GTX 570 but also for GeForce GTX 580 as is indicated by the two empty seats for GDDR5 chips. In other words, the PCB has a 384-bit memory bus but two 32-bit channels are not used for the GeForce GTX 570 which is supposed to have a 320-bit bus. We wonder why ASUS needs such a flexible solution if the senior model of the DCII series has a different PCB.

The graphics card is equipped with K4G10325FE-HC04 memory from Samsung Semiconductor. These 1-gigabit chips are rated for a frequency of 1250 (5000) MHz but clocked at 950 (3800) MHz, which is the memory frequency of the reference GTX 570. Considering the complex wiring of the memory bus, we cannot expect the chips to set any records at overclocking, yet we should get as high as 4200-4400 MHz with some luck. There are 10 chips on board for a total of 1280 megabytes of graphics memory, which is more than enough for every modern game at any resolution.

It’s hard to make out the markings on the GPU in the photograph except for the model and revision number, but we could discern that this sample of GF110 was manufactured on the 48th week of 2010. Its clock rates are 742/1484 MHz, which is a mere 10/20 MHz above the reference card’s GPU clock rates. That’s not much in terms of factory overclocking but ASUS seems to leave it up to the user to overclock the card further or not. The GPU configuration is cut down in comparison with the GeForce GTX 580 and includes 480 active ALUs (out of the physically available 512 ALUs), 60 out of 64 texture-mapping units, and 40 out of 48 RBEs. The GPU voltage is 0.91 volts in 2D mode and 0.96 volts in 3D mode. Running a little ahead, we can tell you that this voltage is by far not the highest among the graphics cards we are going to test today.

The ASUS card’s connectivity options seem more adequate to us than those of Nvidia’s reference sample. It supports all modern interfaces, namely DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, without making you use any adapters. Analog connection is supported by means of the bundled DVI-I->D-Sub adapter. The card can work with three monitors simultaneously in SLI mode only.

The cooling system is a copy of the one we saw on the ENGTX580 DCII.

It is based around a dual-section heatsink with two 92mm fans. Five heat pipes are press-fitted into the base of one heatsink to directly contact the GPU’s heat-spreader. Judging by the thermal grease imprint, the contact is good, each of the five pipes being utilized fully. The voltage regulator’s power transistors are additionally equipped with a small heatsink, and there is also a metallic plate with elastic thermal pad on the reverse side of the PCB. The cooling system looks efficient but also bulky. Like the ENGTX580 DCII, this card needs not one but two slots for its cooler. You may even want to leave a third slot free to avoid blocking its fans. This product is definitely not meant for compact computers.

 
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