It's not uncommon to pay a bit more for an ASUS Video Card when compared to some of the competition and at $366.99 US after rebate at the moment it's one of the more expensive HD 6970s on the market. Out of the box, FPS for FPS it performs in line with any other HD 6970 that carries with it the reference clock speeds.
Performance of the card on an FPS side of things is only part of the picture. What makes the card stand out so much is the DirectCU II cooler. Sure, it takes up three slots, but it's such a small price to pay for anyone interested in having a card that is able to output loads of power at low noise levels.
The appeal over it when compared to the GTX 580 as well from ASUS which comes in a DirectCU II version is the fact that this card comes in a lot cheaper than the NVIDIA offering. Depending on what you want to spend, you can get a triple slot DCU II cooled card at a wide range of budgets as you start to hit the upper bracket of cards.
Of course, if you want to spend slightly less and don't need the power that's on offer from the HD 6970, you always have the option to move to the DirectCU II version of the HD 6950.
ASUS ultimately have just created a great cooler and made it a feature on these high end models from both NVIDIA and AMD. The main thing you need to answer now is, can you handle the card taking up three slots?
The thing is, it's not even really that, but more so whether or not you can handle the card taking up an extra slot, because we know that any high end card is going to take up two slots as it is. While going CrossFire might be a little difficult depending on the board you've got, in single form most people will probably find themselves happy to sacrifice another slot for the card. Especially as we see great onboard components these days.
All in all, we've just got another great version of the HD 6970 and another great model that sits in the DirectCU II series. What we ultimately see the HD 6970 DirectCU II do is let us know that you don't have to sacrifice your ear drums or immense heat for the cost of raw GPU power.