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ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP - Review Benchmarks and Unboxing

ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP - Review Benchmarks and Unboxing

Introduction and Specifications

Although the R9 280X is pretty much just a rebrand of the 7970 Ghz edition, it doesn’t mean that you should put it aside. The ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP graphics card that we are looking at today is definitely a beast when it comes to price for performance.

The TOP or OC Edition of the DirectCU II cooler from ASUS is nothing new, but it sure does never get old. With its black and red color scheme, the ASUS R9 280X is definitely a card that would fit in right at home in most builds. The TOP cooler is also designed to make sure the card stays virtually silent when gaming. And yes, we couldn’t hear this card over the CPU cooler in our system even when running Heaven on loop.


The ASUS R9 280X does use an extra-wide PCB and cooler so you’ll want to make sure that it fits inside the case you plan on using. It does use a dual-fan setup with ASUS’ special CoolTech fan and the huge heat sinks ensure that your card stays cool even during the longest gaming sessions.

To power the graphics card, you’re going to need a single 8-pin PCIe and a 6-pin PCIe cable. As far as display connectivity goes, you’ll find the standard DisplayPort, HDMI port and Dual-DVI connections.

As far as specifications go, the ASUS R9 280X utilizes the “Tahiti" silicon with 2,048 stream processors, 128 texture memory units (TMUs), 32 raster operations units (ROPs), and a 384-bit memory bus with 3 GB of VRAM.

Because the ASUS R9 280X is a TOP edition card, it comes factory overclocked right out of the box. Unlike the reference 280X, the ASUS card comes clocked in at 1070 Mhz on the GPU. Not to mention, the added cooling is sure to help when it comes to further overclocking the card.


When it comes to the benchmarks, the ASUS R9 280X sat right about where we suspected. It beats the reference design and even trades blows with the GTX 770.

Battlefield 4

In Battlefield 4, the ASUS R9 280X performed relatively where we expected it to. It beat both the reference R9 280X and the GTX 770 out by 4 fps. It's important to note that this benchmark is on the DX11 version of the game and not Mantle. With Mantle, the gap would be even further.

Bioshock Infinite

It seems that for every graphics card we test in Bioshock Infinite, NVIDIA solutions seem to always come out on top. The same results appears in this test where the ASUS R9 280X finished the benchmark with 5 fps lower than the GTX 770.

Crysis 3

Heaven 4.0

In the Heaven 4.0 benchmark, the ASUS R9 280X beat the GTX 770 by about 8 fps. Considering how heavily favored Heaven used to be towards NVIDIA graphics cards, it's amazing to see how driver optimizations have leveled the playing field.


With the DirectCU II TOP cooler, the ASUS R9 280X ran cool and quiet during all of our tests. It never broke past 63C and we couldn't hear it over the CPU cooler.


In conclusion, at the price-point this graphics card hits, the ASUS R9 280X is a no brainer choice for someone looking to get a new graphics card. Although the GTX 770 does beat it in some benchmarks, it really does depend on what you plan on doing with your gaming computer. If you like to record gameplay and the features of GSYNC appeal to you, then perhaps the GTX 770 might be a better choice.

In addition, the silent operation of the card makes it viable for silent computing applications. Not everyone wants a roaring beast under their desk and this card is definitely one of the quietest cards that we’ve ever had in our lab.

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