Gainward Bliss 8800 Ultra
The Card - Close up
Gainward Bliss 8800 Ultra
The Gainward 8800 Ultra follows the stock nVidia design for the 8800 Ultra with a black plastic cooler shielding the cooling system below it. The cooling system for the 8800 Ultra is interesting in that the fan actually extends beyond the top level of the cooler, and is not flush with the cooler. After opening up the card and taking a look at the cooler I am not sure exactly why they went with this as it doesn't seem to particularly affect the cooling properties of the cooler that I could see.
Having just said that, the cooler on the 8800 Ultra is quite a lot "cooler" than that of the 8800 GTX. It also does not allow as much branding as the cooler on the 8800 GTX which means the only thing telling you this is a Gainward card is the "G" emblazoned on the middle of the fan.
Again the same as on the GTX is the chip itself. With an IHS and a shim it's pretected pretty well from being crushed by the cooler but it is one hot mother of a GPU so one wonders if this inhibits cooling a little.
The cooler is a heatpipe affair very similar to the one on the 8800 GTX
and is aluminium with a copper base. There seems to be aluminium added to the Ultra cooler which should dissapate the heat a little more, but with the core running at these blazing speeds...well you can see the results below.
Power is supplied as on the 8800 GTX by two 6 PIN PCI-e power plus connectors. Gainward have considerately included 2 x dual molex to 6 PIN PCI-e power connectors so as long as your PC has a decent PSU and a few spare molex's then you'll be ok as far as power goes.
Two dual-link, HDCP enabled DVI connectors and an S-Video out provide the card with just about every output you will need, although unlike ATI's HD2900XT
you won't see an HDMI connector in the box. Still, with the S-Video to Composite and Component connector Gainward have included in the bundle, along with dual DVI out you should be able to hook up pretty much anything to the card.
All in all nVidia and Gainward have done a solid job of outfitting their latest addition to the troup.The Cooler
The cooler is, as I have said, a dual heatpipe aluminium constructed beasty with a copper base. It's pretty solid although I don't quite know why it has that little "hump" on the top of it.
As usual, there's a whole load of TIM on the GPU itself and as usual it's probably too much. Thermal pads are also used on the memory, Samsung 0.8ns GDDR3 arranged around the GPU in a ring.
Although the card does have a slight "hump" in it, it didn't interfere during installation in my Silverstone TJ09S. Although, you have to be aware that the size of the cooler means that SATA ports may be hard to get to (and in fact were obstructed on my XFX 650i Ultra.
The fan on the 8800 Ultra is of a similar ilk to that on the 8800 GTX in that it's silent and kicks out a fair amount of air. Even when you spin it up onto full it doesn't howl at you like the Sapphire HD2900XT
Temperatures were pretty normal for the steaming hot G80 GPu, coming in at 60°C idle and 79°C load (22°C ambient). This beat out the 8800 GTX that came in 62°C idle and 80°C load - but this isn't exactly a whole lot.
Now we've taken a close look at the card, let's get onto testing...
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