Gainward - Fabulous Memory
The Taiwanese company Gainward has built its reputation with the exceptionally fast memory it ships on its boards. With the new Ti line, once again, the main focus seems to have been maximum overclocking potential. We tested Gainward's new GF2 Ti bearing the confusing Ti500 moniker, as well as the GeForce3 Ti500 board carrying the equally inaccurate name Ti550 TV. Obviously, Gainward is trying to create an impression of technological superiority for its products. Nonetheless, these cards carry the same NVIDIA chips as the competition and not some newer version, as the name might imply to less informed buyers.
The models and their features:
|Gainward CARDEXpert GeForce2 Ti500 XP||GeForce2 Ti: 250 MHz64 MB, 4 ns, 400 MHzGPU FanMemory HeatsinksTV-In & -Out (SAA7108E)||Driver-CDWinDVD v3.0Ulead VideoStudio 5|
|Gainward CARDEXpert GeForce3 Ti550 TV||GeForce3 Ti500: 240 MHz64 MB, 3,8 ns, 500 MHzGPU FanMemory HeatsinksTV-Out (CX25871-13)DVI||Driver-CDWinDVD v3.0|
Gainward is taking great pains to give the cards as individual and aggressive an appearance as possible. Looking at the red PCB, the chip heatsink's fine cooling fins and the red memory heatsinks, it seems that goal has been achieved. The memory, on the other hand, is less spectacular this time around, rating at 4ns (GF2 Ti) and 3,8ns (GF3 Ti500). Nonetheless, these cards showed extraordinary overclocking potential!
Gainward is the only company offering higher clockspeeds at standard settings. Upon closer inspection, this too turns out to be nothing more than a software overclock in the drivers, as the BIOS is set to the same values as the rest of the cards. Consequently, if NVIDIA's reference driver is installed without a previous installation of Gainward's driver (including the Gainward tools), the card will not run at the higher "standard" speed, without the usual manual tweaking (NVMax, Coolbits, etc.). All benchmarks were therefore run at default speeds as set in the BIOS.
Gainward's driver package also consists of a standard NVIDIA reference driver bundled with several tools that make using the card easier and more comfortable.