Performance Leap: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra

The Hardware, Continued

NVIDIA has once again opted to use a large two-slot cooling solution for the GeForce 6800 Ultra. Of course, it's up to the board partners whether they decide to use it or implement their own design. During the boot-up phase, the cards fan spins at high rpm, making it rather loud. Once the driver has loaded, however, the fan spins much more slowly, reducing the noise level to that of a GF FX 5950 Ultra. Originally, NVIDIA had planned to go with a single-slot cooling solution even for the Ultra model, but those plans were dropped literally at the last minute. The dual-slot solution described above significantly improves the cooling efficiency and also reduces the noise level. Lastly, in AGP motherboards, the size won't matter much anyway.

Taking the lid off the cooler reveals the large GPU heatsink. You can also just make out the heatpipe in the upper part of the cooler. Its job is to cool the memory modules on the top of the card.

The cooler consists of three main elements.

The heat sink for the GPU.