ASUS is using a new cooler that is designed to combine low fan noise and cooling performance at an affordable price. You can immediately see the heatpipes coming out of the thermal assembly, conveying a feeling of cooling power.
Just like the reference design, the ASUS EAH5850 TOP DirectCU uses two slots in your system.
The card has one DVI port, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. This is just one of many output configurations that are possible on the new cards, thanks to the overhauled display output logic. Basically the card can drive six TMDS signals that can be combined in any way (a dual-link DVI consumes two TMDS lines). Personally I would have preferred a DVI connector instead of the DP, because more people can potentially use that.
For HDMI Audio, NVIDIA requires you to feed an external audio source, for example from your motherboard's on-board audio, to the card via SPDIF cable. AMD on the other hand has integrated a sound device inside their GPUs which is the easier solution for most users. Also AMD's integrated sound device has been upgraded to support HDMI 1.3a which includes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, AC-3, DTS and up to 7.1 channel audio with 192 kHz / 24-bit.
CrossFire configurations are supported to improve performance even further.
Here are the front and the back of the card, high-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods etc, please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.