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NVIDIA Puts Its (New) Cards on the Table

NVIDIA's New Upper Class: The GeForce FX 5950 Ultra, Continued

Form-factor-wise, there is no mistaking the two cards. The 5950 has its massive heatsink to thank for that, which also accounts for most of the 510 grams the card's weight. Due to its height, it also blocks the first PCI slot; but then this has been the case with NVIDIA's top models ever since the 5800 appeared. Indeed, the 5950 is quite reminiscent of the 5800, at least visually. Luckily the similarity ends there, and the new cooling solution is much quieter than that of the 5800.

Which brings us to the cooling efficiency itself. During 3D operation, the back of our testing sample reached 50°C in our open test setup, which is a good 10°C cooler than the Radeon 9800 XT. So while the new heatsink/fan may not win a beauty contest, it does its job well.

The FX 5950 Ultra requires an external power supply. Directly atop the GPU sits the heatsink with its many fine fins, which stands in stark contrast to the big cooling element covering the memory chips.

The cards radial fan resides in a transparent housing. The warm exhaust air is expelled out of the computer case by way of the backplane, ensuring that it does not heat up the interior of the PC additionally. Drawback: Due to its height, the card takes up not only the AGP slot but blocks the first PCI slot as well.

Close-up of the radial fan: Reminiscent of its raucous brother found on the FX 5800, but much more mild mannered. During 2D operation, the fan's speed is reduced.