When we first took out the ASUS EN7900GS TOP from its humongous box packaging, we had no clue about its aggressive clock speeds. And you can't blame us for that, as the ASUS looks identical to the reference model with no indications on the packaging or the card. It's not like the XpertVision GeForce 7900GS Sonic and its large cooler fan. The cooler on the ASUS was petite in comparison, though you would recognize that it is the same as NVIDIA's default. The memory chips were left to fend for themselves, which is a little bizarre when even the overclocked Leadtek Extreme and the EVGA had larger main cooling units that took care of this aspect. However, it's not all that bad as the cooler's exhaust does blow over the memory chips to assist in some form.
Upon installing the drivers, we were quite startled to find the true clock speeds of the ASUS EN7900GS TOP. At a core clock of 590MHz and a memory frequency of 1440MHz DDR, this is the fastest that we have seen in our experience with pre-overclocked GeForce 7900 GS cards so far and looking at the competition out there, it might be the fastest of them all. In contrast, the Leadtek WinFast PX7900GS TDH Extreme, the fastest we have encountered to-date out of the box, only had a 520MHz core. ASUS must be very confident of the NVIDIA reference design to attempt such aggressive clock speeds without further enhancements or perhaps these were handpicked cores that could maintain these clock speeds.
Besides the impressive clock speeds, ASUS did not join in the trend of including HDCP support on its GeForce 7900 GS. Although this feature is not required for the GeForce 7900 GS, many vendors have chosen to include it to differentiate from the competition. On paper, it's a future-proofing feature that's of limited use to consumers now and considering the average two to three year lifespan of graphics cards, it is not really necessary to have this feature at the moment. Of course, when your rivals are doing it, it may put pressure on ASUS to at least offer the same features to keep up, but it looks like they've kept their cool on their decision. And it's fine by us since that would add to the cost in addition of the TOP edition status.
It used to be King Kong but it seems like ASUS is into Tom Clancy nowadays. The game and in fact the theme of the box art has morphed from the giant gorilla to the soldiers in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. Since this is a very new game that appropriately enough, should tax a high-end graphics card, it is a good choice by ASUS to bundle this game. The usual ASUS programs were also found and some of you may try them out though we felt that their utilities were situational at best. Notably, there was no DVD playback application and for a high-end card, the accessories should have been better. Here then are all the items in the ASUS EN7900GS TOP: