ASUS GeForce GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP Video Card Review

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The ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP

The name ASUS is well known as the maker of world’s best selling motherboards with the biggest market share globally.  Asus is also know as one of the top makers of video cards utilizing very high quality components and decent levels of overclocking right from the factory to eek out a bit more performance than the reference designs.  In the current GTX 500 series line up from nVidia they range from the 560, 560 Ti, 570, 580, and up to the dual GPU 590 at the extreme top end.  While most would love the performance of a GTX 590 not everyone can afford the cost, heat, and system requirements to leverage one of the fastest graphics cards on the market today.  For the rest of us we are looking for a great balance between being able to play any current game on the market with a fair amount of eye candy turned on against the amount of investment we want to make in our GPU.


Based on the same GPU used in the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, the GeForce GTX 560 is equipped with 336 CUDA Cores, 56 texture units, and 32 ROPs. And with 7 PolyMorph Engines for tessellation, the GTX 560 is ready for the most advanced DirectX 11 games.  

The version of the GeForce GTX560 that ASUS sent us is their top of the line ENGTX560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 model running at a factory overclock of 925Mhz Clock, 1820Mhz Shader, and 1050Mhz Memory.  The reference standard for the GTX560 is 810 Mhz Clock, 1620 Mhz shader , and 1002 Mhz memory.  The ENGTX560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 provides a 15%. 12%, and 5% overclock respectively beyond the reference NVIDIA design.  

ASUS has three  flavors of their GTX560 series targeted at the budget builder looking for a very capable DirectX 11 card between $185.00 and $260.00.  

ASUS NVIDIA GTX560 versions:


ENGTX560 DC/2DI/1GD5 $185.99 shipped


ENGTX560 DCII OC/2DI/1GD5 $199.99 shipped


ENGTX560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 $249.99 shipped

The main difference between these three version is the factory setting in BIOS for the default speeds of the card with the DC being a fully stock reference design at 810Mhz clock / 1620Mhz shader and the DCII TOP running at 925Mhz clock / 1820Mhz shader.

Be aware that AUSU also has a GTX560 Ti DCII TOP that retails for $249.99 shipped and when doing price searches we often saw that version come back in the results.  We are a bit confused why ASUS would price these two cards $30.00 apart.  If you are willing to pay the extra $34.00 for the TOP overclocked GTX560, you probably would pay another $30.00 for the Ti version that has 384 CUDA cores and a bit better performance.   But if every dollar counts this could be your card.

ASUS used their proven Direct CUII cooling solution which is extremely well made utilizing a full aluminum shroud (not plastic) and the  flattened copper (CU) heat pipes with direct contact with the GPU for maximum thermal transfer.  This cooling set up with the dual fans and the black PCB make for an awesome look and the dual fans are very quiet unless you manual force them to 100%.

All three version of the ASUS GTX560 have two dual link DVI ports and a single HDMI port to support two monitors at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a HDTV at up to 1920×1200.   They are all nVidia 3D vision ready and support 2-way SLI multi GPU rendering.  ASUS backs these cards with a limited 3 year warranty.

  ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP Features & Specifications:

  • Model ENGT560 DCII TOP/2DI/1GD5 
  • Graphics Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX560 
  • Bus Standard PCI Express 2.0 
  • Video Memory 1GB GDDR5 
  • Fabrication: 40 nm
  • Graphics Processor: GF114
  • Texturing Units: 56
  • PolyMorph Engines: 7
  • ROPs: 32
  • Fillrate (G-Pixel/s): 13.0
  • Triangle Rate (G/s): 1.6
  • Engine Clock 925MHz 
  • CUDA core 336 
  • Memory Clock 4200MHz (1050MHz GDDR5) 
  • Memory Interface 256 bit 
  • Open GL: 4.1
  • DVI Max. Resolution 2650 x 1600 
  • D-Sub Max. Resolution 2048 x 1536 
  • D-sub Output Yes X1 (Via DVI to D-sub adaptor 
  • DVI Output Yes X2 (Native) 
  • HDMI Output Yes X1 (Mini HDMI) 1.4a
  • HDCP Compliant Yes 
  • Adaptor Bundled: 
  • 1x mini HDMI-to HDMI adaptor
  • 1x DVI-to-D-sub adaptor
  • 1x Power Cable 
  • Software Bundled ASUS Utilities & Driver 
  • Dimension (LxBxH) 9.0’’ x 4.4’’ x 0.62’’ (note that the fan shroud actually makes this card 9 3/4″ long)
  • Maximum GPU Temperature: 99C
  • Minimum system power: 450W
  • Power requirements: 2x 6-pin PCI-E power connections
  • The front of the card looks very sleek with the dual slot cooling solution with a full aluminum frame and dual cooling fans.

    ASUSGTX Front
    This model continues with ASUS’s red stripe on black theme that we have seen in their other GPU models but again this is an aluminum shroud, not the normal plastic you find on most cards.  It really makes the card feel more rugged and very well built.  ASUS also continues their tradition of rounded corners on the PCB which seems like minor thing until one of those sharp edges cuts your hands during installation.  For you water coolers out there realize this is not a standard reference design so if you are looking for a full coverage block, verify it will work this this custom ASUS board first.

    ASUS GTX560 back
    The back of the card shows off the deep black PCB and you can see that the fan shroud over hangs the edge by .75″.  The reference card has the 6-Pin plugs facing backward where this ASUS board has them facing up so you would need more than 10″ of clearance anyway but just note the official dimensions of 9″ does not count the shroud.  

    ASUS 560 GTX Heat Pipes
    Also notice the single SLI bridge connector for 2-Way SLI configurations.  This card does support NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround at 5760×1080 resolutions meaning that in a SLI configuration with a second card it can run three monitors as a single display in HD 3D.  That does require three monitors that support 3D and NVIDIA 3D Vision glasses.

    multi display
    While the PCB does not follow the NVIDA reference the available ports are the same.  The ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP comes with two dual-link DVI ports and a mini HDMI port.  You can see from this shot that the card is the common dual slot design but that vent plate doesn’t play as much of a role as other NVIDIA designs.  We will cover more about that on the next page.

    ASUS GTX560 Ports
    The ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP requires two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors and the recommended minimum PSU is 450 Watts.  This really is a minimum as this is based on a PC with an Intel i7 CPU, single HDD, single ODD and only one GTX 560.  If you want to run SLI or have a broader range of power consuming hardware you should consider a PSU supplying 500 Watts or more.  Personally I try to run at least 650 Watts or more in any of my systems with my daily rig running a 850 Watt PSU for plenty of room to grow.

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