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Asus' EN7900GT TOP
ModelEN7900GT TOP
Price (Street)
TOP of the class?

Asus actually sells two versions of its EN7900GT. Both are based on NVIDIA's GeForce 7900 GT, and although the EN7900GT runs at stock speeds, Asus also makes an "overclocked" version that it calls the EN7900GT TOP. The TOP boosts the 7900 GT's core and memory clocks to 520 MHz and 720 MHz, respectively—healthy margins on both fronts.

About $30 separates the EN7900GT TOP from its stock-clocked cousin, but there are more differences between the cards than just price tags and clock speeds. The TOP, for example, replaces NVIDIA's tiny GeForce 7900 GT reference cooler with something a little chunkier.

Fortunately, the cooler is a single-slot design, so it shouldn't interfere with other cards in a system. It's much wider and longer than NVIDIA's reference cooler, and it has additional surface area that could contribute to lower GPU temperatures or allow the fan to spin at a slower, quieter speed. Then again, the extra surface area could also be necessary to keep the card's 520 MHz core from overheating.

Apart form its King Kong cooler, the EN7900GT TOP appears to follow NVIDIA's reference design for the GeForce 7900 GT. Users are treated to a pair of DVI outputs—a must-have on a card in this price range—in addition to a video output port that handles composite, S-Video, and component HD output.

Oddly, Asus only includes a component video dongle in the box. That should be fine for anyone looking to hook the card up to a high-definition TV, but those hoping to use the composite output will need an adapter. At least Asus throws in a pair of DVI-to-VGA adapters and a Molex pass-through cable to supply the card's auxiliary six-pin PCI Express power connector.

There's more to the bundle than just cables, though. Asus also includes copies of Xpand Rally and King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie. Neither are must-have titles, but both received generally good reviews. King Kong is a relatively recent release, too, and it's not included with the stock-clocked version of the EN7900GT. If the games don't interest you, the EN7900GT TOP's software bundle also includes CyberLink Media Show SE 2.0, PowerDirector 3DE, and VirtualDrive 9 alongside a number of Asus-branded utilities.

All told, the EN7900GT TOP includes more than what's packaged with the other GeForce 7900 GT cards in this round-up. However, Asus only covers the card with a three-year warranty. That's certainly respectable, especially given the effective lifespan of your average high-end graphics card. Still, three years of coverage doesn't look quite as impressive as the lifetime warranties offered by several other manufacturers.

But Asus does give you a really big box. Seriously, it's huge.

For reasons I can only begin to imagine, Asus ships the EN7900GT TOP in a massive cardboard box. The box is significantly larger than what Asus uses to package its motherboards, which doesn't make sense considering that mobos are much larger and come with all sorts of extra cables, brackets, and the like. I don't get it, but I'm going to start collecting egregiously large boxes like this. One day, I'm going to build a fort.