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October 01, 2014

Unboxing & Review: ASUS STRIX GTX 780 OC Edition


If you've been following us on the ASUS Master DIY LAN Party, you'll be sure to notice the STRIX Series graphic cards made its first debut during the day 2 product briefing.  STRIX series is ASUS's latest move to approach the silent cooling market and lucky us, ASUS has sent us their STRIX GTX 780 for today's review - thank you ASUS!

ASUS took the name Strix, which means owl in Greek; known to be an adapt nocturnal hunter capable of silent flight and attack its prey without being noticed - silent is the keyword here. The ASUS STRIX GTX 780 comes with a hefty price tag of RM 2149, but let's have our attention on what does the new STRIX series graphics card has to offer aside of causing our wallet to bleed.


Specifications




 Unboxing

The retail packaging is pretty much similar to the previous DirectCU II models, especially for the notable ripped metal design. You'll get a preview of the STRIX cooler at the middle left of the box, looks pretty much the same as the other directCU II coolers except for the shroud and fans that comes with stickers the resembles a pair of glowing red eyes of an owl. The features of the card can be clearly seen across the bottom of the box:

  • 6GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 0 dB Fan silent cooling solution
  • DIGI+ VRM and Super Alloy Power for stable overclocking
  • GPU Tweak for overclocking


Aside the small image of how the card is going to look like, there's brief but detailed description of the ASUS STRIX GTX 780's prominent features printed at back of the box as well. Similar to any graphics card from ASUS, the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 comes with a limited 3 year warranty - as stated at the bottom right of the box.

Accessories

The ASUS STRIX GTX 780 comes with a user's guide, driver CD, DVI-I to VGA converter, a Dual 6-pin PCIe to 8-pin PCIe adapter and a piece of SLI cable that seems to be longer than most common SLI cable we've seen.


Our first impression of the ASUS STRIX GTX 780? A pair of glowing red eyes. The red stickers represents the pupil with the fan blades represents the iris of the eye of an owl. Feature wise, 0 dB fan technology isn't what we're expecting for. Instead of fans that spins silently, ASUS's came up with a rather odd design where the fan remains stationary when the temperature is below 65°C and will only spins when the temperature hits above 65°C - a little impractical we'd say.


4 shiny nickel plated copper heatpipes can be seen at the side of the card, these heatpipes plays a very important role in heat dissipation.



The ASUS STRIX GTX 780 is powered by a 6-pin PCIe and 8-pin PCIe power connector.



A quick overview on the DirectCU II cooler, the base of the cooler is made up of 5 pieces of nickel plated copper heatpipes than runs through a total of 53 aluminum fins for optimal heat dissipating performance.


The 10-phase DIGI+ VRM power design with Super Alloy Power technology that comes with ASUS's custom PCB design that is able to deliver sable power source for overclocking


The main component of the card, NVIDIA GK110 that yields 2304 CUDA cores, 192 texture units, 48 ROPs and 384-bit memory interface.


The SK Hynix H5GC4H24MFR is used on the ASUS STRIX GTX 780.




At the bottom of the ASUS STRIX GTX 780, you'll find an awesome looking backplate that provide extra protection to the card by improving the rigidity of the card itself, reducing the common sagging or PCB bending issue.


SLI fingers for multiple NVIDIA GPU configuration - up to 4 GPU.



The ASUS STRIX GTX 780 comes with a total of 4 output display connector to satisfy your needs for multiple display monitor - DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI-D and DVI-I.



Performance Test
Test Bench Configuration
CPU Cooler
Corsair H100i
CPU
Intel CoreI7 4790K @4.5 GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1
Memory
Corsair Vengeance Pro @ 2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply
SilverStone ST60F-P 600W
Chassis
Vector Bench Case

We've conducted our test by installing the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 to our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room with 31C° ambient temperature.

Performance
We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark in our possession at the resolution of 1920 x 1080, 4x Anti-aliasing.The final result of each benchmark is presented in the form of the graph below:


Overclocking and Temperatures
Due limited voltage adjustment, we've only managed to push the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 to its highest stable clock that is able to complete each benchmark with the following values:
  • 1168 MHz on the base clock (maximum boost 1254 MHz)
  • 7206 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.2V on the voltage for GPU

There's not much performance gain, but here's the difference that we've observed in each benchmark after overclocking the ASUS STRIX GTX 780:
  • GRID 2: 11.9%
  • Tomb Raider: 15.1%
  • Crysis 3: 34.1%
  • Far Cry 3: 24.6%
  • Battlefield 3: 23.7%
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0: 26.2%
Temperature wise, the idle temperature hovers around 48°C ~ 50°C and the highest temperature that we hit from all these benchmarks are:
ASUS STRIX GTX 780: 70°C ~ 72°C
ASUS STRIX GTX 780 (OC): 71°C ~ 74°C


Final Thoughts
Our final thoughts on the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 would be somewhat an unique experience but the 0dB fan technology is somewhat questionable. The idle temperature is rather high but doesn't pose any risk of burning the card, but here's the question; wouldn't turning down the fan to a speed which is inaudible a better solution compared to having the fan on and off in an annoying loop?

Performance and overclocking wise, we find there's still plenty of headroom for overclocking as we're able to achieve a stable overclocking of 1254 MHz on GPU clock and 7204 MHz on the memory clock even though being held back by the limited voltage adjustment set by NVIDIA.

Down to the price tag, the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 is really a good graphics card with excellent overclocking potential but pay RM 2149 only for the silent cooling solution might not be a wise decision as adding a little bit extra of cash could get you something which is far more powerful than a GTX 780, i.e: Leadtek WinFast GTX 780 Ti OC Triple Fan retailed at RM 2399, ZOTAC GeForce GTX780 Ti AMP! Edition retailed at RM 1999.

Pros
  • Aesthetic appearance
  • Factory overclocked
  • Use of high quality components with good overclocking potential
  • Comes with a metal backplate for enhanced rigidity and protection against PCB sagging
  • Able to maintain temperature around 48°C to 50°C at idle without cooling support from fans

Cons
  • Hefty price tag
  • Limited overclocking capability due to NVIDIA's Green Light Program


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