VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

Inno3D Tornado GeForceFX 5800

The Tornado GeForceFX 5800 is based on NVIDIA's GeForceFX 5800, a.k.a. NV30, chip, which was replaced shortly after its market launch by the FX 5900 from NVIDIA, a.k.a. NV35. NV30 cards suffer from the narrow 128 bit memory bus, which creates a bottleneck despite its fast DDR II memory. What's more, DDR II modules get very hot and therefore require costly cooling. The card is equipped with FBGA GDDR II memory modules from Samsung (maximum clock speed is unknown, as the speed index "1k" is not listed on Samsung's website). The board is clocked using NVIDIA's reference specifications (400 MHz core, 400 MHz memory).

The card is based on NVIDIA's reference design. The board is green, which is unusual for Inno3D. The amount of heat generated by its GPU and memory requires costly cooling. The NVIDIA reference fan turns at two speeds for 2D and 3D. The fan noise is actually rather low in 2D mode: here, the fan is turned off completely. In 3D it runs very slowly, but is accompanied by an annoyingly shrill, and very loud, high-pitched whine. Passive heat sinks are built on the memory modules and on the back of the card. Because of the tall fan, the card covers the first PCI slot. Even with very costly and heavy cooling, the card generates a considerable amount of heat when it is in use.