Asus EAH 6770 DC £118
27th Oct 2011 | 15:59
The fastest silent graphics card around
Asus EAH 6770 DC: Overview
Asus has released the highest-clocked passively-cooled graphics card around in this, the Asus EAH 6770 DC.
And it's whisper quiet too.
There was a time, not too long ago, when if you wanted to build a silent or very quiet PC you knew you were going to have to sacrifice any notion of serious gameplay to get the quietness needed for the system you were building.
Well, helping to kick that idea out of touch, Asus has introduced the EAH6770 DC SL/2DI/1GD5. A really snappy name to remember that mouthful is.
No matter, the card combines AMD's HD6770 core with, it must be said, a pretty massive passive heatsink and cooling array.
It's created a passive card that makes a pretty good fist of playing today's demanding games even at high resolutions.
Although size-wise it's not a card for the more compact of PC cases.
Asus EAH 6770 DC: Benchmarks
As you can see from the test results the days of having to compromise between graphics performance over quietness are over, the EAH6770 DC SL/2DI/1GD5 suffers very little when compared to a normally cooled card (all be it with a non-reference cooler design) like Sapphire's Vapor-X HD6770.
DirectX 11 gaming performance
DirectX 10 gaming performance
Asus EAH 6770 DC: Verdict
On looks alone the EAH6770 DC is an impressive beast.
The passive dual slot cooler dwarfs the PCB it sits on to such an extent that should you have sausages for fingers you may find it a wee bit awkward to connect up the PCIe 6-pin power connector.
To give you an idea of just how big the cooler makes the card, the PCB itself is just 183mm long, while the whole thing measures 290 x 170 x 50mm, making it almost as big as some top of the range dual-GPU cards like the AMD HD 6990.
The cooler uses four 8mm Direct Contact heatpipes to dissipate the heat thorough the huge multi finned cooling array.
Direct Contact cooling just means that the heatpipes are flattened and form the part of, or as in this case the whole of, the contact plate instead of the pipes passing through the contact plate as in a normal design.
But having four such massive heatpipes in this case appears to be a bit of overkill as only two actually cover the diminutive Juniper XT core that the HD6770 uses.
Also helping to keep the card's temperature in check are the special alloy formula parts Asus has used in the cards power design.
Asus has left the core clock speed on the EAH6770 DC the same as the reference design; 850MHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory is clocked back a little at 1000MHz (4000MHz effective).
There's no down-clocking done to cope with the lack of active cooling which keeps this Asus card competitive. Performance wise the EAH6770 DC proves that a card being passively cooled doesn't have to have the life strangled out of it as it keeps pace quite happily with a normal, active-cooled HD6770.
The only real thing against the card is the sheer size of it, which rules it out of a lot of situations where a decent passive graphics card would be an ideal addition, for example in a small quiet/silent PC.
That massive passive heatsink on the EAH6770 DC does work extremely well though; even after a couple of hours using it to play Just Cause 2 at 1080p the heatpipes were hardly warm to the touch. Admittedly our test system is an open platform but even so that's some impressive cooling right there.
The fact the Asus EAH 6770 DC is only a fraction behind a seriously active-cooled card like it's Vapor-X chilled brethren in performance terms is fantastic. That's a shot in the arm for the noise police.
The sheer size of the beast is a worry. With that massive passive cooling array taking up so much space this isn't a card you can drop into your small form factor living room PC.
If you're looking for decent game play and silence from a discrete graphics card then look no more.