Asus Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3GB (R9280X-DC2T-3GD5) Review
A Closer Look
Asus is using the same packaging and design for the R9 280X DirectCU II, just like in other latest Radeon and GTX graphics cards. Well except for the ROG series, Matrix and special graphics card like the Poseidon and MARS. There is also a secondary box where the graphics card and its accessories are securely placed and surrounded by padding to protect the card from impacts or bumps. The package also includes a manual, CD driver, and a CrossFire bridge.
The Asus R9 280X DirectCU II TOP is somewhat a large graphics card. Its 11.2-inch long and 5.7-inch thick. But it only consumes two PCI slots, just like any high end graphics card nowadays. It doesn’t have a backplate but there is a metal support (right picture above) which is located on one side of the card.
Honestly, I feel that Asus should make a different cooler design for Radeon cards, and another design for GeForce cards. Why? Because they all look the same, specially that they feature the same DirectCU II cooler. At least they could have put some slight changes or accents that would make them easily identifiable. Well that’s just my opinion though.
On its output panel, there’s a DVI-I port, DVI-D port, an HDMI port and a DisplayPort. You can connect up to 4 display monitors simultaneously and it also supports Eyefinity.
The Asus R9 280X DirectCU II TOP is one of Asus’ graphics card to feature a CoolTech fan. Just a though, if this fan is that good, I wonder why they only put one CoolTech fan, instead of two for better cooling performance? Perhaps to cut cost? Anyway, below is a demonstration showing the difference between a CoolTech fan and a traditional fan.
CoolTech Fan Demonstration
The card draws its power from a 6pin + 8 pin power connector, and consumes up to 300W of power. A 550W power supply is recommended to power this card. But if you are planning to install two R9 280X in CrossFireX configuration, you will need to have at least a 750W power supply.
Just like in the Asus GTX770-DC2OC-2GD5 there are also holes near the DiGi+ VRM chip, where you can hot wire it to get accurate readings, GPU’s memory, voltage , PLL voltage and do some volt modding. Usually you won’t need this, that’s why it’s not highlighted as one of its main features.
The photos above show the award winning Asus DirectCU II cooler. The top cover is made of metal, while in some lower models Asus use hard plastic. Behind the cover reveals the large heatsink with 5 heat pipes spreading the heat to the aluminum fins. If you look closely at the picture, you will see that only three heatpipes has a direct contact with the Tahiti chip, but that’s not a problem at all, since the cooler performs fantastic overall.
The photos above are the front and back PCB of the Asus Radeon R9 280X DirectCU II TOP 3GB. This card has two CrossFire fingers, meaning you can put up to 4 of these in CrossFireX configuration for the maximum performance.
The photos above shows a closer look of the heart of the R9 280X, the 28nm Tahiti chip. It features CGN shader architecture, and 4.32 billion transistors. Beside the GPU, is a photo of the GDDR5 memory manufactured by SK Hynix. These memory chips run on 1,500MHz with an effective speed of 6,000MHz.
The on the left shows a closer look at the Super Alloy Chokes, MOS and high grade capacitors. The photo on the right side is the DiGi+ VRM which controls the voltage of the graphics card.