ASUS has experimented with quite a few passively cooled heatsinks in its time, including some rather exotic looking ones with heat pipes and adjustable radiators. Hence, the Reverse Cool system employed on the EN7600GS TOP Silent did not seem that radical to us. So what did ASUS mean by Reverse Cool? Basically, the idea was to 'reverse' the usual cooler from its traditional side to the other side of the PCB. To make sure that the Reverse Cool technology actually works a grade better than hanging a cooler on the reverse side of the graphics card, ASUS has actually re-engineered the PCB to relocate the GPU core and memory modules together with the heatsink. The reason for this unconventional layout is such that the passive heatsink (with its adjustable fins) can take advantage of the airflow generated by the nearby CPU cooler for increased heat dissipation. Whether it works as advertised, that will be revealed in our temperature test segment later. What's evident at once is of course the comfortable silence, since this GeForce 7600 GS, like the reference design, is passively cooled as a result.
Another deviation from the standard GeForce 7600 GS has to be its 512MB of DDR2 RAM, twice that of the original. We are not too sure what ASUS intended with this. Granted that the memory clock has also been increased from 800MHz to 950MHz DDR but the relatively limited 128-bit memory bus doesn't seem to deserve such a large amount of video memory. These DDR2 memory modules were from Infineon and rated at 2.0ns, meaning that they are already running close to their limits. In our opinion, faster DDR3 memory would have been the more logical choice to improve performance, not by doubling its frame buffer size. Costs of production would likely be higher and that's probably why ASUS chose to increase its memory. After all, 512MB sounds more impressive to the average consumer than DDR3, but technical folks will quickly see through this as a marketing advantage to ASUS rather than any benefit to the consumers.
Finally, the core is also running at a higher clock than the default 400MHz. ASUS has overclocked it to 550MHz, bringing it close to that of a GeForce 7600 GT (560MHz). From the increase in frequencies for both core and memory, we should find the ASUS EN7600GS TOP Silent performing better than the average GeForce 7600 GS. However, some may be disappointed by the inclusion of an analog VGA output instead of dual DVI outputs. Again, this looks like a decision to limit costs though the DVI port is a dual-link output.
The cost cutting seems to extend also to the bundle for this card. A 'bonus' game pack consisting of three budget games is the only form of entertainment in the package. The other applications found are ASUS' own utilities and tools, like its Video Security Online and GameFace Messenger. We really doubt that many consumers would be keeping these applications on their systems after initially trying them out. The accessories were also quite minimal leading us to conclude that this is one of ASUS' weaker offerings. Here's an inventory list of the items: