GeForceFX 5900 Ultra
The new fan makes the card very heavy. The noise level is finally acceptable. In operation, the card only gets lukewarm.
The most visible, or in this case audible, change compared to the "old" FX 5800 Ultra is definitely the new cooling solution. Of course the new heatsink/ fan combo also looks quite appealing, but the main attraction here is its lower noise level. As we were made painfully aware with the FX 5800 Ultra, more is definitely not better where noise is concerned. While still not exactly what we would consider quiet, the new cooler, which operates at three different speeds depending on application type, produces a much more acceptable amount of noise. In 2D mode, the cooler is practically inaudible. When a 3D application is launched, the fan spins up automatically to the next speed level, but even in the high-speed mode, which is enabled when the chip reaches a certain temperature threshold, the volume remains at comparatively comfortable and definitely acceptable levels. More importantly, the general "soundscape" that the card generates is a lot less irritating than that of the FX 5800 (check out our NV30 mp3s). Also, thanks to the lower clock speed, the board itself runs a bit cooler, as well.
The card takes up two slots in the computer and covers up the first PCI slot below the AGP.
The voltage switches are found almost exclusively at the rear of the card. The placement of the power connection is somewhat inconvenient.
The board you see here is not yet the final design. The retail boards should be slightly more compact. Nonetheless, FX 5900 Ultra cards will be rather long. Just as with its predecessor, its large cooler will also block the PCI slot next to the AGP connector.