Couldn't believe my eyes the first time I ran this. Proxycon actually looks like a game you could play now, and the canyon scene was breathtaking at like 60fps. Awesome! Can't wait for better drivers.
On the downside, Oblivion doesn't run that great. This card sort of chokes at 1680 x 1050 4xaa with HDR when there is a lot of foliage and trees, but better drivers could change that I suppose. It still blows me away though. I just upgraded from an X1800XT. CPU is Core2Duo E6600 @ 3.4Ghz.
Also, this is a better stock cooler than I've seen in the past. Fan control is very good, it spins up right away when under HEAVY load, and if I alt-tab out of the game it spins back down right away. Not as noisy as my Tuniq Tower 120 on high or my front intake on high. Very good stock cooler.
No appreciable change in case temps. This card does a good job of pushing the heat out of the case. That said, my case is extreme--TJ07 with two 120mm top exhausts, tuniq tower cooler with 120mm fan, isolated hard drive cages that are fan cooled with two 120mm fans, 2 80mm rear intakes for the cpu, one front 120mm intake for video card and mobo, and a pci slot cooler under the video card that I could probably take out at this point. I can't really render an opinion on how well this card will fare in a non enthusiast case. My advice is good front to back airflow. Also, don't even think about putting an aftermarket cooler on this card that doesn't exhaust the heat out the back. You need to get rid of this heat.
I don't have a frame rate number for you but it couldn't be more than 25-30 fps at the most. It gets laggy and annoying--but it isn't so bad that I couldn't see a driver update or a really good overclock fixing it, or a combination of both. I wouldn't mention it except for the fact that [H]'s review has the 8800 series cards beating the HD2900XT in this area.
What bugs me about it is that it chokes doing exactly the type of thing that would really impress me, and it irks me to think the 8800 series can pull it off but this card can't. There must be an explanation for it.
lol what do you mean? It is a pretty common case among enthusiasts. I just added a front intake, which is not featured in this picture because I just installed it today. It is the Silverstone TJ07. The empty drive bays you see are now a 120mm intake via the Scythe Kama bay. So the air gets sucked in from the front and blown to the videocard which blows it out the back, sort of like a jet engine, except you know it doesn't fly. I don't have a side intake fan though, so it isn't that extreme. lol