Graphics: $100 GeForce 9600GSO by Forsa, Passively Cooled 8800GT by ECS

Forsa's GeForce 9600GSO utilized a customized cooler and sells for $100.

Forsa is one of the smaller graphics card makers that build Nvidia-based hardware, but it isn’t a premium partner. As a consequence, these manufacturers have to look for a niche to exist outside of the OEM business. Forsa took the entry-level GeForce 9 series GPU, called GeForce 9600GSO, and built a customized heat sink and cooler around it. The package is priced at “less than $100” and should deliver performance that isn’t too far away from a fully features GeForce 9600GT. The GSO is a lower-cost version with only 384 MB DDR3 memory instead of 512 MB, and with somewhat reduced clock speeds. In addition, the memory interface only runs at 192 bits instead of the common 256 bits. Forsa’s cooler of the GeForce 9600GSO is based on four copper heat pipe and aluminum fins together with an 80-mm fan. Although performance cannot match the 9600GT for obvious reasons, the cards might still have a nice margin for overclocking.

ECS GeForce 8800GT with Acelero Frezer Xtreme passive cooler

ECS showed us a GeForce 8800GT card, which is passively cooled. While we really like passive cooling solutions for entry-level and mainstream graphics solutions, we strongly urge you to pay close attention to case ventilation if you intend to run a passively cooled high-performance or enthusiast graphics board. ECS utilized a Freezer Xtreme cooler, which is provided by Acelero. The firm calls it the accelerated twin turbo, as two copper heat pipe conduct heat away from the GPU and to the huge heat sink, which is based on aluminum fins. The card has 512 MB of memory and runs at GeForce 8800GT default clock speeds. We didn’t get pricing information.