Asus ENGTX460 DirectCU TOPAsus quickly got a custom and overclocked GeForce GTX 460 on the market with the ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP 1 GB, on sale at €195. Note that the non-TOP versions as well as the TOP 768 MB version uses a slightly different, less evolved cooling system.
As usual with the Asus TOP variants, it is overclocked, with clocks of 775 MHz for the GPU and 1000 MHz for the memory against 675 MHz and 900 MHz for stock boards.
For this card, Asus has developed its own PCB, which differs from the reference board mainly in terms of the power stage. Asus has however retained the same connectivity as the reference board with 2 DVI Dual-Link outs and a mini-HDMI out.
For the cooling system, Asus has gone for a fairly long double slot, longer than the card itself, from its DirectCU models. This one is based on a big copper heatsink from which come 3 copper pipes which are in contact with the GPU heatspreader. A central fan takes care of cooling all this and a casing to channel the air as well as finish off the overall look. A small heatsink has been positioned on the sensitive components on the power stage on the front of the PCB and a small plate is positionned at the back of the PCB.
Given that this cooling system, though quite large, is only fixed on by four screws around the GPU, Asus has added a bar to strengthen it so as to ensure the rigidity of the board as a whole.
A CD with drivers and a manual, a quick installation guide, a DVI to VGA adaptor, a DVI to HDMI adaptor, a double molex to 6-pin PCI Express power supply cable convertor and a disk holder came with the Asus card.
The card is guaranteed for three years in Europe.
Asus also supplies the SmartDoctor overclocking/tweaking software. This allows you to control the fan and the protection mechanisms as well as modify the GPU voltage, on top of the overclocking of course.
Graphics card at idle.
Graphics card in load.
System at idle.
System in load.
The ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP is relatively well cooled though, like on the reference board, the power stage is rather hot in load.
Temperature and noise readings
Overall, the Asus model is pretty well managed with similar temperature levels to the reference model, though no hot air at all is expelled from the casing. It is however pretty noisy, whether at idle or in load, where it becomes quite annoying
With the ENGTX460 DirectCU TOP, Asus hasn’t really managed to do any better than the reference model. The cooling system is too noisy and takes up too much space, when you see what it gives in terms of results.