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Gainward's CoolFX Ultra/2600 Runs Water Cool and Performance Hot

Gainward Ultra/2600

The layout of the Gainward Ultra/2600 matches that of the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra reference card. The test sample provided by Gainward still uses a green board, and not one in Gainward's standard-issue red. The labeling on the board reveals that the AGP 8x card is an NVIDIA-produced reference sample.

The Innovatek cooler on the GeForce 6800 Ultra card.

The card is equipped with your standard 1.6 ns Samsung GDDR3 memory modules. Its RAM allotment is 256 MB. The clock speeds are defined in BIOS as 400 MHz for the GRAPHICS PROCESSOR and 1100 MHz (550 DDR) for RAM. As is usual for Gainward, the advertised clock speeds (450 MHz core and 1200 MHz for memory) can only be activated using the utility ExperTool, which is included with the board.

The backside of the card with a small heatsink on the back of the graphics processor core.

Two DVI-I monitor output ports let you digitally connect up to two TFT displays. Adapters are provided for analog monitors. Video-out is possible via Composite or S-VHS. The card does not have any video input ports.

The cooler is higher than a standard cooler and makes the card a dual-slot solution.

A pre-installed Innovatek water cooler takes care of the cooling for both the graphics processor and the memory modules. A clampdown plate on the back of the card provides additional passive cooling. The height of the heat sink renders the first PCI slot of the motherboard unusable. The length of the board and the power connectors running out back can in some PC cases (e.g., Chieftec) cause space problems for any hard drives installed behind it.

The card gobbles up a considerable amount of power. Although NVIDIA lowered the power-supply requirements of the GeForce 6800 Ultra down to 350 watts, it recommends 480 watts when overclocking boards like the CoolFX Ultra/2600 in order to supply enough power to both connectors. Both connectors should be attached to a separate, exclusive cable section of the power supply unit. However, we had no problems using the same cable section to supply power to the water pump and the radiator fan.