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    ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB Review
    By Vince Freeman :  December 11, 2007

    The OC Gear Hardware

    One of the most important features of the ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB card is naturally its bundled OC Gear hardware. This comes in the form of a control/display device that fits into an available 5.25" drive bay. It attaches the same way a CD or DVD drive would, and matches up to the standard hole alignment.

    It interfaces to the system using a provided USB cable, which attaches to the back of the OC Gear unit and then to an open USB connector on the motherboard. The first part of the installation went smoothly, as physically attaching it to the case was very simple. Installing the USB cable is a bit more work, as the bundled cable only uses the active portion of the USB pin-out, and the system or motherboard user manual will probably be needed.

    The ASUS OC Gear hardware features a control knob and LCD display, all of which combine to offer many different tweak and monitoring capabilities. The control knob can be turned to adjust settings, while pushing it cycles through the available options, These include System Volume (default), GPU Speed, and Fan Speed. A visual indicator displays the setting you are changing, and graphical LCD bars shift with any adjustments up or down. In addition to the speed adjustments, the OPC Gear also displays information on GPU Temperature and Current FPS.

    These are all very useful features, and the way the OC Gear hardware works is in tandem with the OC Gear drivers and the ASUS SmartDoctor software program. Until these are loaded the OC Gear LCD remains dark, but after the software load, it lights up immediately on reboot. The changes performed through the OC Gear are adjusted in real-time, with no software confirmation or reboot needed. The unit is also powered through the USB connector and does not require a Molex power cable.

    The OC Gear unit looks very nice in a finished system, and offers a sweet accent for any hardcore gaming system. The ability to adjust settings in real-time is a valuable resource, especially if you start having framerate issues and need to raise (or even lower) settings immediately. Other features like the GPU temperature display and volume control are especially useful, even for those who do not overclock.

    There were some niggling issues, mostly concerning the LCD design. On one hand, ASUS gives a numerical FPS display, but any clock speed adjustments are only displayed on a graphical bar. Sure, you can load up SmartDoctor to see the actual setting, but a real-time OC function should have a numerical display for the video card's core speed. The only other quibble is the lack of a memory speed function, but as it is more of a 'set it and forget it" type deal, this can be overlooked.


    Page 1 The ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB Card
  • Page 2 The ASUS OC Gear Hardware
    Page 3 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 4 DOOM 3 and Quake 4 Performance
    Page 5 Farcry and Supreme Commander Performance
    Page 6 F.E.A.R. and Company of Heroes Performance
    Page 7 Lost Planet and Crysis Performance
    Page 8 3DMark06 Advanced Feature Performance
    Page 9 Overclocking Results and Performance
    Page 10 Benchmark Analysis, Value and Conclusion


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