Oh how I've missed you ASUS, what a card! - Three slots is so overkill, but with onboard gigabit, decent quality audio and RAID, the need for multiple expansion cards isn't nearly as necessary as years past, which means that taking up an extra slot on top of the normal two doesn't really seem like all that much of a deal.
The cooler is fantastic. Sure, it's massive, and while it might run a little warmer than something like the Twin Frozr II MSI we recently looked at, this thing is just dead silent. It pretty much offers the noise of a passive cooled card with the performance of a good aftermarket cooler. There's not much more you can ask for from a cooler, well, maybe that it takes up two slots, but who cares?
Outside of that, though, we've got an "overclock", and I say "overclock" in quotation marks because it's annoying me a bit lately that companies push the core up 10MHz and throw the "overclock" tag on it, but none the less we still have it. More importantly, one of the big stand out features is the connectivity line-up with four DisplayPorts.
I'm all four DisplayPort (get it, see how I said "four"?). Get rid of DVI and HDMI and bring in the future of connectivity. It frustrates me as someone who owns three 27" DisplayPort monitors in Eyefinity that I still have to use a DVI cable because the HD 6950 I have only supports two mini-DP connectors.
The triple slot nature of the card has to be noted, it's going to be an important factor for some people. If it's not to you, though, and you want something that is pretty much silent, this is just a killer card. The performance of the cooler is even more exciting when you consider the fact we had the card clocked to its maximum speed in overdrive, and we were still able to achieve near silent numbers.
Just a really strong HD 6950 at a little over $300 USD, and to be honest you can see why ASUS is throwing the DirectCU II cooler on all these higher end models. It's nice to get something so meaty in the cooling department without the need to own a $600 USD model.
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