The GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB strays physically from the smaller 8800 GT first and foremost with regards its dual-slot cooling system. A bigger heatsink/fan duo was indeed necessary to maintain the quiet level of performance found on the GeForce 8800 (even if there are obviously a few variations between models). The heatsink has a copper base on top of which are placed three heat pipes that spread heat over the entire aluminium fins. The first one is cleverly placed as it forces the fans' air flow to pass closer to the base. The latter is still radial and signed by Delta but differs compared to the one found on the previous GeForce 8800 GTS and GTX (which is a good sign). It's slightly smaller (a diameter of 7 cm instead of 7.5 cm), has more blades (which traditionally optimize the air flow in slow regime), is less powerful (4.1 W instead of 5.8 W maximum) and is slightly inclined in order to send the air flow closer to the base. Even though temperatures may exceed 100°C there are no such thing as small improvements.
Sparkle's 8800 GTS 512 MB (front)
and its back... A model similar to that of the reference design
By the way, the PCB used here is the one from the GeForce 7900, which allows savings on production and development costs.
In regards to outputs, as with the 8800 GT, the two DVI-I output must be dual-linked (to manage 30" monitors and their 2560*1600 resolution) and HDCP (cryptographic norm that is becoming more and more inescapable)
DVI dual-link HDCP
PCI Express 6 pins
The card reviewed was signed by Sparkle. Aside from a sticker on the cooling system and the fan, it's bundled with a DVI-> VGA Adapter, a Molex-> PCI Express 6 pin adapter, a cable for TV and an another one for HDTV. Software wise, only the traditional driver CD is given. It's clear that this bundle is a little poor and Sparkle will have to compete in the price war in order to gain recognition.