At the beginning of last month we learned that ASUS was working on a strikingly small GeForce GTX 670 graphics card intended for Mini ITX systems. Since then ASUS sent us a sample of the GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini OC, so we of course tested it and compared it to previously tested GTX 670s and 680s.
The reference design of the GeForce GTX 670 already has a relatively short PCB, but because of the standard cooler they're not that compact. For the GTX 670 DirectCU Mini ASUS developed a 17 cm PCB with a 5-phase VRM, and instead of two 6-pin connectors it's equipped with a single 8-pin one.
To make the graphics card as compact as possible ASUS has to make the cooler small as well, which probably posed a greater challenge. It's as long as the PCB and features large, aluminium fins for dissipating heat. It's a massive cooler, weighing in at 600 grams which is quite a bit for a 17 cm card. The fan measures 8 cm, and it's designed in a way that it blows air in multiple directions in order to create enough airflow.
Nevertheless, the card comes overclocked, running at 928 MHz with 1006 MHz boost clock, compared to the standard 915 MHz with 980 MHz boost clock. Not a huge difference, but still. The 2 GB of video RAM that's connected via a 256-bit bus runs at the standard clock frequency of 1502 MHz.
The card has two SLI connectors, even though Mini ITX systems usually can't fit more than one card. Monitor connectors consist of two DVI ports, HDMI and DisplayPort. The ASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini is expected to be available later this month.