With the announcement of the R9 and R7 series of graphics cards; AMD have upped the ante in their long standing rivalry with Nvidia. Asus thankfully have done away with AMD’s basic heatsink design and pretty much added almost every iteration of Nvidia and AMD card to their Direct CU II brand of heatsinks, hence we have the Direct CU II OC R9 270 in for review.
The R9 270 comes in the standard Direct CU II box with a diagram of the cooler and basic specifications mentioned in the front along with the brand and model. The back contains more detailed information about the card and its features and supported software. The card comes with a driver disc, DVI to VGA converter and Crossfire connector.
The Graphics Card
The Direct CU II OC R9 270 comes in a standard Direct CU II designed cooler with two fans directing the heat out of the vent in the I/O bracket. The curious thing is there is some distance between the heatsink and the bracket which makes you wonder whether any of that heat might blow into the case instead of out of the vent. The card requires a 6-pin connector from the PSU and the I/O bracket has two DVI connectors, one HDMI and one DisplayPort. A Crossfire connector is provided as well should you wish to go for a dual graphics setup.
The card runs at an overclocked speed of 925MHz core, 975MHz boost and effective memory is clocked at 5600MHz of 2GB of DDR5 RAM running on a 256bit memory bus. While the memory is clocked at reference speeds, the core and boost are both overclocked by 50MHz each.
For testing we used our core i7 Sandy Bridge testbed with 2 x 4GB of Gskill Ripjaws RAM in an MSI Z77 motherboard hooked up to a Thortech 850W power supply. For comparison we used the Asus Direct CU II OC GTX 760. 13.12 Catalyst drivers were used on the R9 270 while 331.65 drivers were used on the GTX 760.
Using Asus own GPU Tweak the R9 270 managed a modest overclock of 1100MHz and 6000MHz for core and memory respectively. Running 3DMark Extreme got us a score of 2920 which is a reasonable bump in performance over the factory overclocked benchmark. It should also be noted that temperatures did not exceed 63C even when overclocked so you won’t face issues with heat here.
The Asus Direct CU II OC R9 270 didn’t fare well against the GTX 760 but it is considered a slightly slower card, however, it didn’t do too badly in our gaming benchmarks with the average FPS staying above 25. At $220US on Amazon it’s $100 cheaper than the 270X from Asus but other brands offer the faster 270X at only $30-40 more than the 270. It’s decent card for the casual gamer who wouldn’t mind sacrificing a few features for 1080p gaming but you could spend a little more and get a better card.