The card itself is a very impressive beast to behold. The angular heatsink gives it the look of a shield of armour and it’s well built too. A metal plate runs alongside the top of the PCB that some standard cards have too. This helps to keeps the card secure in the case but it also serves to hold the power cable than runs from the plug at one end to the external power connector on the rear bracket. Yes, you read that right – external power. With two 7800GTs on hand, Asus provides an 80 Watt external power brick so that you can use this card, in case your own PSU isn’t up to the job.
Specs wise the GPUs offer a bit more than the norm. Each one is clocked at 430MHz; that’s 30MHz more than the standard reference cards. Now other manufacturers have also clocked their 7800 GTs to 430MHz, but what’s harder is clocking the memory, which makes more of a difference to performance when pushing things at very high resolutions.
There’s 512MB of memory on the Dual Asus in total but it’s actually 256MB of RAM per GPU, which isn’t the same a shared pool of frame buffer RAM. The memory runs at 600MHz (1,200MHz effective), which is up from the 500MHz, (1,000MHz effective) on most 7800 GT cards. Most cards won’t overclock past 1.10 though, or if you’re lucky 1.15GHz, so to get both cores at 1.20GHz stock will already make hardened overclockers sits up and take notice.
What cooler though is that thanks to the serious heatsink, fan and external power that the Asus Dual card has further headroom for some overclocking. In fact, I managed to take it up to 480MHz on the GPU and an amazing 1,300MHz effective on the memory. I didn’t run an exhaustive amount of benchmarks at these figures but I did run quite several, and there were no locks-up or artefacts to report.
Remembering that this card will run quieter than any other dual card combination out there and there starts to be some sense to what on the face of it seems sheer techno-madness.