ASUS Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II TOP Overview
As the name suggests this card makes use of ASUS’s DirectCU II cooling solution. As ASUS has done for quite sometime now the card is designed with a black shroud with red accents. So it will match ASUS’s Republic of Gamers boards perfectly.
The DirectCU II cooling system makes use of two fans, but the interesting thing about it is they are two different types of fans. The first fan you see below is a hybrid type of fan ASUS is calling their CoolTech fan. It is designed with low acoustics in mind, but will offer high airflow and a wide angle airflow direction. The second fan is an axial fan that also offers low acoustics but has a lower airflow and vertical airflow direction. With this fan design ASUS says their card will be 3X quieter than a reference R9 280X. This would not surprise me at all as reference R9 280X’s are extremely loud!
If we take a look at both sides of the card we can see it uses some very thick copper heatpipes. There are 5 heatpipes total and the largest one is 10mm thick! Also on the one side of the card you will find your power connections, which are a combination of 6pin and 8pin PCI-Express power connections. There is also a small DirectCU II logo on this side, which you will be able to see if you have a window in your case.
On the back of the card we can see that all black PCB. ASUS has been using black PCB’s on their graphics cards for a while now. There is also a small retention bracket on one side of the card. This will help it from not drooping after time in your case. As far as connections on the card go you have dual DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort.
Let’s see what this DirectCU II cooler is all about. To remove that cooler from the card all you have to do is simply remove 4 screws on the back of the card and the cooler will come off. Taking a closer look you can see the large aluminum heatsink. This is a very large heat dissipation surface, actually 2.2x larger than what is on a reference R9 280X. You can also see that all of the copper heatpipes will make direct contact with the GPU.
If we take a closer look at the PCB we can see the very sexy concrete alloy chokes and solid capacitors. These will provide 20% cleaner power and a 2.5X longer life span than typical components you find on other cards. This card also features a 10 phase digital power design with 8 phases for the GPU and two phases for the memory. That is compared to the 5/2 phase design of the reference card. We can also see the ASUS is using hynix memory instead of Elpida memory that we’ve seen on most other R9 280X cards.