Asus GeForce GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 Review
Published on January 11th, 2014
The Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 has been in the market for a few months already. And just recently we were given a chance to test and play around with this video card. The GTX 770 belongs to the top tier or high end class video card, even though it is the only card in its class with a GK104 chip (commonly used by mainstream cards), unlike the 780, 780 Ti and Titan that are all based on GK110 chips. The GTX 770 can play modern day games, no doubt about that, since the GTX 760 can very much do the same. So today, let’s take a look on how much performance gain can we get with the Asus GTX 770-DC2OC-2GD5, if it’s still worth it considering its current price, what are the pros and cons and other details about the Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II in this review.
Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II OC Review
The Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II OC is top tier card that is using the GK104 chip. Other cards using the same chip are GTX 760, 690, 680, 670 and 660 Ti. Higher-end cards like GTX 780, 780 Ti and Titan are using the more powerful GK110 chip. Just like most of Asus’ video card, it has a non-reference design cooler, called DirectCU II, offering a more effective cooling solution compared to the reference design.
The Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II, although comes with a factory overclock speed, can still be pushed further with the help of GPU Tweak and thanks to the DIGI+ VRM with 10-phase Super Alloy Power built into this video card. The OC edition features 1110 MHz Boost clock speed for better gaming performance at higher resolution and settings. Base clock is set to 1058 MHz with 1536 CUDA cores. It comes with 2GB GDDR5 with 7010MHz effective speeds at 256-bit interface. On the other hand, a reference NVIDIA GTX 770 features a base clock of 1046MHz and 1085MHz Boost. Overall, this card generally performs better than a reference NVIDIA GTX 770 GPU.
The Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC supports GeForce Experience GPU Boost, NVIDIA Adaptive V-Sync, PhysX, SLI support, 3D Vision, DirectX 11, and is fully compatible with Windows 8 and 8.1. It’s capable of supporting up to four different display monitors via the two DVI ports, DisplayPort and HDMI port.
Asus GTX 770-DC2OC-2GD5 Specifications
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A Closer Look at the Card
The Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II OC edition has the same box design like the rest of Asus’ DirectCU II lineup video card.
The packaging actually reminds me of my old Asus GTX 660, where the card is placed inside another Black box. The package includes a manual, a driver CD and a power connector. I would suggest you use a power supply that has two 6+2 pin power connector instead of utilizing the power connector
The Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 has a familiar DirectCU II cooler design, not similar to the Asus GTX 760, but same with the old GTX 660. There is a backplate supporting the video card since it is somewhat heavy. But I noticed that after installing the card to the motherboard, it slightly bends down towards its end due to weight. A video card support bracket would be helpful in this case.
The body of the video card itself is pretty solid, it’s all metal and you could feel the “premium-ness” of the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II. But personally I like the other DirectCU II design, the one in the Asus GTX 760, I just wish that it was all metal as well similar to this one.
The picture above shows the DirectCU II metal covering along with two silent 80mm fans. The bracket of those two 80mm fans are also metal and you can remove them by unscrewing it from its sides.
The above picture shows the DirectCU II’s huge aluminum heatsink. There are three heat pipes that directly touches the video card GK104 chip. The design of the DirectCU II cooler itself is impressive and pretty solid. No wonder that not only it makes the card looks good, but it also performs great as well.
The picture above on the left side shows the power connector that is powering the two 80mm fans, and on the right side are two SLI bridge connectors if you want to scale up its performance with another Asus GTX 770 card. The SLI bridges are not included in the package, usually it comes with the motherboard, or you need to buy them separately.
The Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 draws its power from 8+6 pin power connectors. Again, I recommend that you have at least a decent rated power supply that has two native 6+2 pin power connectors. It is also recommended that you have at least a 600W power supply so that the video card would function properly. Of course, if you have lots of other PC components installed, or you overclock regularly, or you are planning to do SLI configurations later, you need a more powerful power supply to support your system.
Just near the power connectors, you can see that there are six holes where you can solder a connection and directly monitor the GPU’s memory, voltage, PLL voltage and do some volt modding. These features are for experienced and advanced PC enthusiasts or overclockers who wants more control and access to the card. I personally didn’t use this feature though.
Removing the DirectCU II cooler and the protective backplate will reveal the PCB of the Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5.
And there it is guys, the NVIDIA GK104-425-A2 chip, that is the heart of this video card. The graphics processor is paired with GDDR5 memory made by Samsung with model number K4G20325FD-FC28. These memory chips are designed to run at 1750 MHz, 7000 MHz effective speed.
The picture on the above left shows the DIGI+ VRM voltage controller. This is responsible for maximizing the power efficiency of the video card, as well as reducing the power loss that it may encounter. On the right side are the Super Alloy Capacitors (just below the Super Alloy Choke) that increases the cards maximum voltage threshold by 30% and its lifespan to 150,000 hours.
Here we see the Super Alloy Chokes and more capacitors, and a heatsink which is responsible for cooling the Super Alloy MOS underneath it. On the right side we see the Super Alloy MOS without its heatsink. These Super Alloy Chokes, MOS and Capacitors helps the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC maintain its stability, specially when it is overclocked further from its factory presets.
Like I said earlier, the Asus GTX 770-DC2OC-2GD5 comes with a factory overclock settings, meaning it’s base and boost clock are higher compared to reference GTX 770 cards. But Asus only overclocked the card a tad higher than the reference speeds, this means you can still push the settings higher via the GPU Tweak. This involves a stable and powerful power supply, a good mix of the clock speed, voltage and fan speed. In this review, I haven’t overclocked the Asus GTX 770 any further since my PSU might not be able to carry more load; and so that we would know how good this card is out of the box.
Below are the following components I used to test the Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5:
Operating System: Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Motherboard: Asus P8H67-M EVO
Processor: Intel Core i5-2500K (Sandy Bridge) slightly OC to 3.3GHz
Memory: 2x 4GB G.Skill RipJaws X and 1x 4GB Corsair Vengeance (total 12GB)
video card: Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 2GB
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 128GB for the OS, and Seagate 320GB where the games are installed
Power Supply: Corsair HX650 80 Plus Gold
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM
Case Fans Installed: 3x Cooler Master SickleFlow 120mm, 1x Corsair SP 120 High Performance 120mm (for CPU), 1x stock Cooler Master 200mm fan
The system that I am using is quite old, but this only proves that if you are still coming from a Sandy Bridge setup with similar specifications, and your major purpose is for gaming alone, then there is no need to upgrade to Ivy Bridge or even Haswell just yet. Upgrading to the latest video card would be sufficient. Just don’t pair a fast video card with a slow processor, otherwise you will hit bottleneck and would cripple the video card’s performance.
For the software, I used FRAPS and TechPowerUp’s GPU-Z to monitor and record the card’s temperature, min/max/average frames per second, power consumption, fan speed and other statistics. This time I am using a newer version of driver since NVIDIA recently rolled out an update. I have updated the driver to NVIDIA ForceWare 331.82 or nvlddmkm 220.127.116.1182 for Windows 8 64-bit operating system. Upgrading to the latest driver will help your video card perform better.
Asus GTX 770-DC2OC-2GD5 Benchmarks
In benchmarking the performance of the Asus GTX 770-DC2OC-2GD5 I used 3DMark Advanced (with Ice Storm, Cloud Gate and Fire Strike/Extreme). I also used Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn’s official benchmark (character creation). For the real world gaming performance, I used the graphics extensive game Crysis 3, and other modern day games such as Tomb Raider, Medal of Honor, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Crysis 2.
All games are in their maximum possible settings but I decided to turn off V-Sync since it cripples the performance of the video card and lowers the FPS produced. I’m using a 23-inch Samsung monitor with native/max Full HD resolution 1920×1080 at 60Hz. I did observed some stuttering or tearing on the screen while playing with the V-Sync turned off, but not to the point that it would be annoying or distracting to the eyes. Turning on the V-sync would remove screen tearing but it would also decrease the video card’s performance.
Comparing the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC with the Asus GTX 760, we see an improvement in the Fire Strike Benchmark, from 5323 point to 6506 points. Same goes with the Fire Strike Extreme benchmark, from 2876 points to 3373 points. But it didn’t scored well in Ice Storm and Cloud Gate. I’m not really sure why, but I’m pretty sure you will get better results if you have the latest components in your system.
Real World Game Benchmarks
When I run the Final Fantasy XIV A Real Reborn Official Benchmark, not only did I see a noticeable improvement in the graphics visuals of the game, but there is also an improvement in the score from 9702 points of the GTX 760 to 10826 points. Now let’s take a look how well does the Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 when it comes to real world gaming.
Based on the graph above, the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC can very much handle any modern days games as expected. If we compare the Asus GTX 770 with the Asus GTX 760 DirectCU II OC edition we reviewed last time, there is a noticeable increase of performance and frame rates produced. But it is still struggling in the graphics extensive game Crysis 3, specially in some missions involving large area and a lot of visuals. 30 frames per second is okay, but not great, 60 frames per second and above are better.
The Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 also remained silent and cool during the tests and gaming sessions. Idle to little load temperature or during desktop operations are around 40 to 45 degrees Celsius. Take note that room temperature and the casing’s cooling performance also affects the card’s temperature. In full load, or 99% GPU Load, the temperature goes up to 78 degrees Celsius with its fan rotating at 85% or 2850 RPM. You can hear some noise at this point if you focus your attention on the card’s fans and not on your game, but generally it is still quite. But fan noise becomes noticeable when you set it manually to 100% full speed.
Price and Availability
UPDATE January 2014: The Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC 2GD5 is now only $349.99 after rebates. That’s already a $50 mark down on its price, and it’s becoming a good deal already.
As of to date, the Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 is priced at $399.99 after rebates. Price is significantly higher compared to its predecessor, the Asus GTX 760 DC2 OC which is currently at $249.99 only after rebates, since this is already considered as a top tier video card. Meanwhile its AMD counterpart, the Asus Radeon R9 280X (ASUS R9280X-DC2T-3GD5) is currently priced at around $350 only. The Asus R9 280X is not only on par or slightly better in terms of performance, but it’s also cheaper. No wonder the R9 280X cards are really popular nowadays.
The Asus GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II OC Edition is no doubt a better card than its predecessors. It’s at the top of the GK104-based video card. It’s fast, solid and a stable video card. It still has room for overclocking thanks to its DirectCU II cooler and Super Alloy components built into this video card. But this card is already getting old and newer competitions are coming out armed with latest technology.
For a typical PC gamer who is not really particular about the frame rates produced as long as he/she can play modern day games smoothly at max settings, one might ask if this will be a good or practical investment or not. Performance wise, there no doubt that the GeForce GTX 770 is the fastest card using the GK104 chip, and Asus’ GTX 770 DirectCU II is even faster compared to the reference card, thanks to its factory overclocked settings.
But when it we put the price as one deciding factor, it becomes less attractive. An Asus GTX760-DC2OC-2GD5 can very much handle modern day games at full HD resolution. And anyone who is playing games like DOTA, Diablo III, BF3, BF4 or even Crysis 3, Assassin’s Creed and the likes would be happy with its performance at 1080p resolution. The Asus GTX770-DC2O-2GD5 would only make sense if you are using multiple displays or a gaming monitor with a resolution larger than 1080p. Otherwise, you are better off getting the new R9 280X that has a more attractive price to performance ratio. Or if you can stretch your budget a little more, get the Asus GTX 780 DirectCU II OC Edition instead which is based on a newer and faster GK110 chip.
Faster than the GTX 760 and GTX 670
Silent even on load, not to mention extremely silent on idle
Still has room for overclocking despite already overclocked out of the box
Excellent body and design
Great cooling performance
Supports up to 4 display monitors
Its current pricing
One final thing, the Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC is not a bad video card, in fact its a fantastic card and I would recommend this. Its price was just right until the R9 280X showed up. If Asus could lessen its price by around $50, then that would be great. It would also be great if new games where bundled with this card.
UPDATE: Asus has already drop this video card’s price by $50, making it a really good deal already. It’s now only $349.99 after rebates.
Summary: The Asus GTX 770 DirectCU II OC Editions (GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5) offers the best performance based on the GK104 Kepler Chip. It's fast, stable and silent, perfect for gamers who are looking for a great performing graphics card.