First and foremost I would like to say this card surpassed my expectations in all areas.
Asus have done a very good job designing the packaging, which has different compartments for the various items within. The entire package is held inside a larger box which I have used to keep spare computer parts in. The card itself is placed inside an anti-static foam mould which is in its own compartment. Accessories include: a DVI to VGA adapter, mini HDMI to HDMI adapter, Molex to 6Pin PCIe Power adapters, driver CD (with tweaking software) and a manual.
The card itself fairly long, about 10inches from the backplate to the front end of the heatsink shroud. It takes up two expansion slots. The backplate features two DVI-D connectors, an HDMI connector and an airflow outlet. Due to the design of the heatsink, only a small portion of air flows out of the back, most is exhausted within the case. The PCB is of a matte black finish, with two green power LEDs situated about one inch in from the 6Pin connectors. There is one SLI finger at the back end of the card which allows for a two-way SLI configuration. There is no SLI bridge bundled with the card. The heatsink itself is mainly aluminium, with three copper heat-pipes dissipating heat from the core to the front end of the card. Situated directly above the GPU die is a solid aluminium heatsink. This is cooled by an 8mm PWM fan. The three copper heatpipes make direct contact with the GPU die and spread out to a second tight finned aluminium heatsink situated at the front of the card. This is also cooled by an 8mm PWM fan. In total there are two 8mm PWM fans. The entire heatsink is shrouded with a matte black metal plate which has red accent lines. In my opinion this styling is tasteful and not over-the-top. The PCB is reinforced by a metal bar that runs most of the way down the card. This prevent the card sagging inside the case. Both the metal reinforcement and the heatsink shroud have an embossed silver ASUS logo on them.
As far as performance goes, this card is in a league of its own. This is the 'pound/performance sweetspot' where you get the most performance per £ you spend. Although the card comes pre-overclocked to 830mhz on the core (only a 10mhz overclock above the standard clock), this card is easily able to reach clocks just shy of 1GHz on the core and over 2GHz on the shader. A moderate increase in voltage is needed, but this is handled well by the direct air cooled power MOSFETS. Even at these high clock speeds, in a well ventilated case, the heatsink comes into its own. When I tested, temperatures never exceeded 85 degrees centigrade in an ambient temperature of 25 degrees.
I currently run this card overclocked stably at 900Mhz core and 1800Mhz shader. You need not increase the voltage to achieve this overclock, and temperatures never exceed 72 degrees centigrade. The rest of noteworthy PC specs are as follows: Asus M4N98TD EVO SLI motherboard, AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU, 4GB OCZ Obsidian 1600MHz DDR3 RAM, Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775W PSU, 1TB Samsung F3 HDD. All of these parts are relatively inexpensive and make for a great gaming setup. The possibility of adding another GTX 560 Ti in SLI mode means you can keep on gaming for longer into the future.
With this setup all new games are playable at 1080p with maximum settings and usually anti aliasing set to 4x. Framerates in games like Crysis 2, Mafia 2 and Metro 2033 are all above 30fps on maximum settings.
So all in all, if you are looking for a great value card, with overclocking performance that is rivalled only by the very expensive cards, THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU!
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