While still civilian models and not ROG products, ASUS TOP graphics cards aren’t named thus just for marketing reasons. When you see a TOP-labeled product, like the new HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP, you can rest assured that something extra has gone into the development process. The TOP designation indicates a more complex and stringent GPU selection procedure, which entails extensive certification and validation. Only a relatively small percentage of the total chips assigned ASUS pass TOP certification, and as a result these models typically ship factory-overclocked, as they prove themselves capable of running at higher clock speeds.

The research and development people are pretty tight lipped about it all, but they did give me some “guerilla” insights into the workings of TOP processing. Only a few photos, though, and not very high quality at that, so apologies in advance!

The first step involves careful and prolonged selection of all GPUs available to engineers. Once the assessors complete various software, hardware, and endurance tests, the chosen few GPUs move on to the next phase. The remainder become non-TOP models, and pass their own certification process, which isn’t as complicated as the TOP path.

They won't show us much, but I can tell they have some interesting benchmarks going on there!

The labs then use the selected GPUs to assemble complete graphics cards, with PCBs and memory. The products are put under high resolution automated optical inspection (AOI) hardware for an extended certification stage that ferrets out any defects or flaws in manufacturing (special attention given to soldering and contact points, such as data interfaces).

The automated optical inspection phase: kinda like having Skynet troubleshoot your products, I suppose

Should the cards prove TOP-worthy, they are arranged into batches by date of production, and move on to the validation stage. Here ASUS engineers put them through the wringer, subjecting products to overclocking conditions, high load, and high temperatures. All tests are carefully formulated based on empirical research data collected over prolonged periods of time, and with previous generations added to the equation for further reference. Should even one card of a batch fail the test, the entire lot gets sent back to the third party assessors for another round of selection.

Love the smell of freshly-baked graphics cards in the morning! Hey 11:55 is till morning

This process is considerably longer than the one employed for non-TOP graphics cards.

The result: extra reliable and overclockable graphics cards. Pretty impressive for non-ROG stuff!

 




Comments

chrsplmr02-14-12 03:09 PM Reply With Quote
I just had a stroke......... so thats what Heaven looks like.

Any night watchmen jobs open ??? janitorial ???
(if you want something..or in somewhere [unauthorized]
ask a trust janitorial staffer...... i mean, ill work real hard.

Excellent article...thank you Sir......may we have another ??

Side Note ***
You have apparently gained unauthorized access to the
ROG TimeShuttle .... YOUR BUSTED ... the Jul2012 pic
gave you away .... that ... or your ROG is showing..
....you will OC anything wont you?? hahaha
Chris, only the US uses a date format that is mo-day-year, the rest of the world uses day-mo-year unless they are working with a US audience
Thank you MarshallR for the glimpse into the R&D Department, I know you get to see it everyday but it's nice to let us small folk see it.
How cool would it be to work there I mean c'mon. Nice read wonder what the process for the MARS cards are like
Any info on when Asus might introduce liquid cooled GPU's??? or GPU's with factory liquid blocks
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