Gainward BLISS 8800GTS 1024 Mb
Recently, we've often come up against the issue of lack of onboard memory in video cards for modern games, and this issue has proved to be most topical for Windows Vista. This issue primarily relates to powerful video cards since it comes up mainly when FSAA is enabled, which will be a hard nut to crack for weak video cards. Recently, we tested ASUS GeForce 8800GT 1Gb with 1024 MB of video memory, but that didn't give any gain to it. The cause of that is a relatively weak graphic processor which was unable to boost the video card in the modes where 1024 MB is in demand. Today's video card in question - Gainward BLISS 8800GTS 1024 Mb - equipped with a more powerful GPU and runs at higher clock speeds, is quite a different thing. The task of our today's review is just to find out how "different" it is. OK then. Off we go!
The face of Gainward video cards is some strange-looking girl against a gloomy Marcian landscape with which there is something "wrong". All this picture is crowned with the label "Goes Like Hell". Apart from images and labels, the box displays the key specifications of the video card and bonus items of the package bundle. There is also a label regarding the factory overclocking, and no details at all.
On the reverse side of the box, there is information customary for NVIDIA video cards, and nothing remarkable.
The package bundle of the video card is rich:
- power supply adapter for PCI-Express video cards;
- S-Video/Component out adapter;
- S-Video > RCA adapter;
- DVI -> D-Sub adapter;
- DVI -> HDMI adapter;
- Game Tomb Raider Anniversary;
- CD with software for DVD;
- drivers CD;
- brief installation guide.
The front side of the video card is covered with a black plastic housing with vent holes, with a fan in the center.
The video card is closed from behind as well - this time it is a metal plate that serves like a radiator for additional memory chips.
Upon dismantling the cooling system, it becomes clear that we've got a video card by Palit. We already reviewed a video card based on almost the same PCB, with the difference in that it was green and offered twice as few memory chips. Note that to provide better cooling to the components of the power supply subsystem, the developers installed a separate radiator positioned to the right in the tailing part of the video card.
The new product by Gainward has its additional memory chips positioned on the reverse side of the board. There are 16 memory chips on board Gainward BLISS 8800GTS, eight per each side, which makes the capacity 1024 MB altogether. We note the fact that the developers could have followed a different way through installation of the customary eight chips but of twice as much capacity. That is the way ASUS did with its EN8800GT 1Gb.
The memory chips are made by Samsung and offer 0.8 ns access time, which is equivalent to the effective clock speed 2400 MHz. The same chips are also used in GeForce 9800GTX, but unlike it our chips failed to run at 2400 MHz. That is not the video memory chips to blame for, but the video card or perhaps its design. That hasn't made the video card worse, but the unrevealed capability is somehow annoying.
The cooling system is made up of three parts, without the radiator on the power supply subsystem components. The video memory chips on the front side of the video card are cooled by an aluminum plate, and the graphic processor - with a radiator made up of an aluminum part, two heat pipes and a copper insert.
Heat from the copper insert that contacts directly the graphic chip is distributed over the aluminum plates with two heat pipes.
The plates are blown with a fan, but not all is as smooth about that as we wished. It is well seen on the photo that almost the whole area of plates under the fan is a dead-end, that is, it can't be blown throughout. The shortcoming is in that not only hot air but dust will stagnate in there. We will certainly verify how that affected the efficiency of the cooling system.
Lastly, there is a photo of the flaw on the reverse side of the PCB. The plate that covers the reverse side of the video card sagged the PCB down and damaged the track at the point of the screw fastening. That wouldn't have happened if the manufacturer had put a washer like that under the caps of all the screws.
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