My Experience w/ XFX DD Black Ed. vs. ASUS DirectCUII 7970's

yenniedn

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
2,059
This is going to be a long post so feel free to skip it if you get bored easily . . . the TLDR summary: BizLink adapters are the devil, XFX DD Black Ed. 7970 is pretty sweet and Asus DirectCU II's are disappointing!

Up until a couple of months ago I have 2x MSI 6970 Lightnings in my FT02 Red running my 3x30" Dell 3008WFP's and everything was fairly awesome. Then the video feed to one of the LCD's died so only two were working. I strongly suspected it was the dumbass BizLink miniDP to DVI active USB adapter that died but there was a remote chance it could've been one of the video cards . . . so that was the perfect excuse to upgrade to some 7970's!!!

I was excited to get an XFX Dual Dissipation Black Edition 1000MHz HD7970 from a member here and swapped out the 6970 CrossFire setup for the single 7970. The XFX DD BE was awesome - it looked even better than the 6970 lightnings, matched my FT02 Red perfectly and wasn't ridiculously long like the Lightnings! I tried the third 30" again through the BizLink - and sure enough, it's the BizLink POS that's dead (no surprise b/c that thing truly is the worst POS I've ever HAD to use in any of my systems)! Here is a pic of the XFX in the FT02 Red:

ft02priortoX2000F.jpg


I didn't want to fork over another $100 for another BizLink so I THOUGHT I had to buy the Asus DirectCU II 7970 in order to run my three 30's through those native DP ports without needing any adapters. So I placed an order for a DCII on Amazon while they were on a long backorder and waited . . . and waited.

In the meantime, I found ANOTHER XFX DD BE on eBay for $500 shipped (good deal at that time) so I nabbed that one too. I also got a deal on a Lian Li PC-X2000F case so I moved everything over to the X2000F case and put the two XFX cards into CFX (still not running the third LCD at this time). Here is a pic of the two XFX's CrossFired in the X2000F:

x2000f1.jpg


I quickly found out that the second XFX had intermitten (but very noticeable) coil whine . . . now we know why it was sold to me so cheaply! Secondly, 7970 CFX with these XFX cards is a bad idea - at least in the X2000F anyways - since the top card would run up to 90*C in BF3 @ 2560x1600 (ultra) before crashing. The X2000F doesn't cool GPU's nearly as well as the FT02 does so the XFX's idle temps increased 6-8*C in the X2000F (52-54*C) as opposed to the FT02 (~46*C). [NOTE: all cards mentioned here were run at 1125MHz/1575MHz on stock voltage through CCC.] The Corsair H80 I have on the back exhaust position also doesn't help much to expel much of the hot air so things heat up pretty quickly. I quickly got rid of the second XFX DD. If you're going to run CFX on these 7970's I think you're much better off with the reference coolers that exhaust out the back of the card.

While waiting for the DCII, I discovered that the XFX DD would run all three of my 30's without the BizLink just by doing 2x mini-DP to DP and the third screen on the dual-link DVI. It worked like a charm and much, much better than the damned BizLink ever did - I was so happy about this because that meant I would never need to deal with that damned BizLink ever again!!!

It also meant that I didn't really need the DCII - but a couple days later, Amazon tells me my ASUS DCII card has shipped. Shortly after that, the same [H] that sold me my XFX 7970 hooks me up with another DCII card for almost a $100 less than my Amazon price so I end up with two triple slotted DCII's a few days later. I never intended to CrossFireX the DCII's because I figured the 3-slot setup would fare even worse than the XFX DD's did. So even though I didn't need these cards anymore, I figured why not put them through their paces just to see what they're all about since these were the first DCII's I'd ever had in my system. Here's a pic with the DCII installed and what I found:

dcii7970.jpg


DCII #1 (from [H] member) ran pretty well and idled at the same 52-54*C as the XFX DD but ran cooler and MUCH more quietly under BF3 load - topping out at about 70*C (104*C VRM) under automatic fan control. Manual fan control would of course lower those temps at the cost of more fan noise. BF3 ran very well and only crashed once during a longer session - BUT, there was intermitten artificating even when I just first launch the game and could come and go randomly. The strangest thing was that I also occasionally got some snow artifacting in Windows 2D after resume from sleep - though it only happened twice. I also thought I notice some (less frequent and less noticeable) coil whine on this card . . . so I took it out and swapped in the other DCII:

DCII #2 (from Amazon) sucked balls. Again, at 1125/1575MHz on stock voltage, it would run at the same idle/load/VRM temps as the first DCII but BF3 would crash back to Windows constantly. Manually increasing fan speed only bought me a little more time before a hard crash to BSOD. But hey, at least this card had to perceivable coil whine or artifacting!!! Yay! I didn't bother trying to run this card at stock speeds because I don't buy $600 GPU's to run them at stock speeds. This card got yanked and is on its way back to Amazon.

As it stands, I put DCII #1 back into the X2000F and have to put up with the artifacts for now. It's pretty disappointing that BOTH of these $600 top of the line Asus cards had their own issues! I guess my experience could've been added to this 38 page and growing thread here that documents the many and various problems others have been having with the DCII cards:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1670759

When I get some more time, I'm likely going to move everything back into the FT02 and put the single XFX DD Black Edition back in as well. DCII #1 will likely get RMA'ed back to Asus. I guess I could say the moral of the story would be that sometimes it doesn't pay to fiddle around too much . . . but then again, what fun would your custom built system be if you couldn't continually and obsessively tweak with it???
 
Last edited:

Tirilwen

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
124
Sorry, I skimmed most of that, but I do remember something about the XFX DD 7970s having a vapor chamber cooling system (which their other DD models don't). As well, the ASUS 7970 DirectCU reportedly has some sort of problem with seating. I'm happy to report that the 7870 DirectCU works wonders (hit over 1250/1600). There's a new review about it at TPU.
 

Porter_

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
8,424
you can't buy a card, overclock it 20% on stock voltage, and then call it a piece of shit because it artifacts or crashes. either up the voltage or lower your overclock.
 

yenniedn

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
2,059
you can't buy a card, overclock it 20% on stock voltage, and then call it a piece of shit because it artifacts or crashes. either up the voltage or lower your overclock.

Valid point . . . I'm comparing the DCII to the XFX DD BE, which does considerably better at stock settings. And it's a 12.5% OC - pretty mild relatively speaking.

My next step was to up the voltage on the DCII card but hadn't gotten around to it having spent too much time swapping stuff back at forth comparing the cards. I'll see how the remaining DCII does with increased voltage.
 

Stanfiem

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 21, 2011
Messages
364
It must be nice to be able to just buy a 600 dollar, and another 500 dollar card, and another 400 dollar card, and another 600 dollar card, and a new case, all because you got a little impatient/ were not sure if your Bizlink cable was malfunctioning. If one of your other cards looks at you wrong or leaves the toilet seat up just send him my way I will straighten 'em riiiight up. :)

Seriously though, like you, I would have expected more from a card with an "aftermarket" cooler like the Asus DirectCUII. Good read and I envy you.
 

yenniedn

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
2,059
It must be nice to be able to just buy a 600 dollar, and another 500 dollar card, and another 400 dollar card, and another 600 dollar card, and a new case, all because you got a little impatient/ were not sure if your Bizlink cable was malfunctioning. If one of your other cards looks at you wrong or leaves the toilet seat up just send him my way I will straighten 'em riiiight up. :)

Seriously though, like you, I would have expected more from a card with an "aftermarket" cooler like the Asus DirectCUII. Good read and I envy you.

LOL - I typically do this with most of my upgrades mainly because once the dust settles, I know that I got the best item(s) for my taste and usage. I don't have stupid money to waste so the key is to always buy as low as you can, do your experimenting and flip the unwanted pieces as quickly as possible to net as much of your purchase price as you can.

It's also the nagging curiosity that gets me everytime too. In this case, I still absolutely love my FT02 but had been using it for about 1.5 years, which is about 9 months beyond the point where I start to get the upgrade itch. So I HAD to try to find something new and the only thing that looked intriguing was the X2000F. Having used the X2000F now for the last month, I'm fairly sure that I'll be going back to the FT02. The X2000F has its charm, is a very well built and a very nice case overall but the FT02 just simply cools my particular setup much, much better. So I'll probably take a $25-$50 hit on moving the X2000F but that's money well spent to satisy my curiosity.

As for the DCII, I played around with the remaining card for the last two days and found no improvement. At 1125/1575MHz, no amount of increased voltage would get rid of the artificating. At a 5% voltage increase in CCC, artificating was present immediately at BF3 launch (which wasn't always the case with it at stock voltage). At 10% increase, artifacting was also immediate and ridiculously worse (as in unplayably bad). At 20%, artifacting was delayed and at about the same severity as stock voltage . . . but card now idled at 58-59*C (load temps remained the same as before). At stock speeds, there was no artifacting. Bottom line: this DCII doesn't like to be run at 1125/1575MHz regardless of how much voltage is increased. I think others had complained about this same issue in the other thread I referenced in the OP.

So this is supposed to be Asus's top of the line and a presumably premium binned product yet it can't run at speeds the many/most reference models can. Can I call it a P.O.S. now???
 

Porter_

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 10, 2007
Messages
8,424
As for the DCII, I played around with the remaining card for the last two days and found no improvement. At 1125/1575MHz, no amount of increased voltage would get rid of the artificating. At a 5% voltage increase in CCC, artificating was present immediately at BF3 launch (which wasn't always the case with it at stock voltage). At 10% increase, artifacting was also immediate and ridiculously worse (as in unplayably bad). At 20%, artifacting was delayed and at about the same severity as stock voltage . . . but card now idled at 58-59*C (load temps remained the same as before). At stock speeds, there was no artifacting. Bottom line: this DCII doesn't like to be run at 1125/1575MHz regardless of how much voltage is increased. I think others had complained about this same issue in the other thread I referenced in the OP.

So this is supposed to be Asus's top of the line and a presumably premium binned product yet it can't run at speeds the many/most reference models can. Can I call it a P.O.S. now???

no because there's no rule guaranteeing you 1125/1575. overclocking is luck of the draw regardless of any claimed binning process. also you weren't adjusting voltages through CCC you were adjusting PowerTune. if you want to adjust voltage use something like Afterburner (along with setting PowerTune to +20%). you're not guaranteed 1125/1575 even with voltage adjustment and in my mind that still wouldn't justify calling the card a POS. that's subjective though.
 
Top