Meanwhile the AMD Radeon R9 270X is more interesting than the R280X because its clocks are different than the Radeon HD 7870 that shares the same silicon. Yet AMD's partners are launching custom designs only right from the beginning and in some cases didn't even bother making a new card. The Radeon R9 270X from ASUS we are going to have a look at today, for example, is physically the same as their now one year and a half old Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II Top V2.
ASUS ships its Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II Top card with the core clocked at
1'120 MHz and the memory at 1'400 MHz (5'600 effective). Compared to the R9 270X reference clocks the Top has a
shy factory overclocking, 70 MHz on the core and
nothing on the memory.
Although the R9 270X has the PowerTune Boost functionality we never saw it in
action. We mean that, though the manufacturer advertises it otherwise, the
DirectCU II Top has technically a core clock of 1'050 MHz and a boost clock of
1'120 MHz. During our testing, the card was always running at full speed of
1'120 MHz under load, we didn't experience any clockdown.
AMD themselves are being obscure on that point too, the reference R9 270X has actually a base clock set at
1'000 MHz with a boost clock of 1'050 MHz but AMD just write down "GPU Clock Speed: Up to 1'050
MHz". The latter is not wrong but it's
not exact either.
ASUS DirectCU II Top
Radeon R9 270X
Radeon HD 7870
1'400 (5'600) MHz
1'400 (5'600) MHz
1'200 (4'800) MHz
Lenght (PCB - Total)
24.3 - 27.3 cm
xx.x - xx.x cm
xx.x - xx.x cm
Height (PCB - Total)
11.2 - 13.2 cm
xx.x - xx.x cm
xx.x - xx.x cm
To cool its Radeon R9 270X ASUS makes use of the same DirectCU II cooler
you find on the Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II Top V2. When you put the two
cards one next to each other you see only one difference, which lies in the
shape of the plastic cover. Otherwise the cooler is exactly the same. In this case you get
three eight millimeter heatpipes. The
heatpipes have been nickel plated but on the bottom part in contact with the
core. Soldered to the heatpipes you find the fin stack
which is being provided with fresh air via two 75mm fans. Both fans are
identical and being manufactured by Everflow. They carry the model number
Overall the cooler is well made and finished. The thermal paste used is of pre-applied
type unlike on the R9 280X where a better quality soft paste has been spread.
Most memory chips aren't activelly cooled, there are only two and a half
chips that are being actively cooled, the ones located right above the
socket. They are in contact with the cooling unit thanks to a thermal pad.
Like most of ASUS' DirectCU II series the PCB has been completely
reworked and the power design beefed-up. The PCB and the power design are almost
identical to what powers the Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II Top V2, there are only
some minor changes. A closer look at it shows a seven phases
power implementation for the main power design where the GPU gets six (there
are five on the reference card) and the memory one. Going further we see, two additional phases for the IO and the pll.
No heatsink has been mounted on the MOSFETs, they are being passively cooled by
the airflow. The manufacturer decided to equip its 270X with only
metal reinforcement located at the top end of the card to prevent bending rather
than the full backplate + reinforcement solution. A cost efficient solution that doesn't protect the
Components wise ASUS makes use of high
quality so called Super Alloy Power components.
voltage regulation chip we find a digital multi-phase controller labelled Digi+ ASP1211
for the GPU, probably a rebranded CHiL 8228 or 8318.
There are three single phase APW7165A controllers from Anpec on this card.
The upper one takes care of the memory, the middle one takes care of the IO and
the last one takes care of the pll.
The memory chips used are made by Elpida and carry the model number
W2032BBBG-6A-F. They are specified to run at 1'500 MHz (6'000 MHz effective).
The Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II Top from ASUS is a
nice piece of hardware. It features a strong power design and a very good cooling solution. But
the card isn't perfect, it comes with a very high price tag, the bundle
is poor and ASUS could have easily pushed the factory overclocking
further. 70 MHz on the core is cool but equip the card with 1'500 MHz
rated memory chips and clock the memory at only 1'400 MHz makes us cry.
Also we have to point out that the Radeon 200 series is not currently
part of the Never Settle Forever program. This may change in the future
but at the moment you don't get any game for free buying a Radeon 200
series card unless the manufacturer specifies otherwise.
- Power Design
- Factory Overclocking
Cooling / Noise
For its Radeon R9 270X DC2T ASUS makes use of the
same cooler as on the Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II Top V2. This DirectCU II version is a very good cooler, the cooling performance is
great, the build quality is very good and it is extremely silent under load
conditions. Furthermore in idle the cooling system is noiseless, thank
god there's no CoolTech fan here.
Once inside a good case the chances are good the Radeon R9 270X DC2T
unhearable under load too.
- Cooling performance
- Noise levels
The Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II Top is a fast card.
In the in the tested games the Top is on average 4 % faster than a
reference clocked Radeon R9 270X, 10 % faster than a reference clocked
Radeon HD 7870 and almost as fast as a GeForce GTX 760.
A closer look at power consumption shows, that our test system, equipped
with the DC2T, burns 48 Watts under idle conditions and 223
Watts under load. Both results are very good, especially under
- Power consumption
Recommendation / Price
With a starting price of 222 Euros excluding
shipping costs accross the EU, the DirectCU II Top is too expensive. That's about
40 Euros on top of the cheapest R9 270X for example. Obviously such high price is because of
recent launch but still, since you can get a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition for only
30 Euros more and the latter is 30 % faster and comes with the Never Settle Forever
Bundle. The R9 270X DC2T is going to have a bad time if its selling
price remains unchanged.
We gave the Radeon R9 270X DirectCU II Top from ASUS 4 out of 5 stars.