Coolest graphics card in town


With high-end 3D games all the rage now, 3D graphics chips are fast- and hot. As in they sizzle up the temperature in your CPU and GPU. One of these new chips or graphics process units( GPU ) can consume as much as 200 watts of electricity- thrice the amount of a mid-range Intel dual-core Core 2 chip. This requires unusual cooling solutions to avoid overheating both the graphics card and the system around it. Enter the Asus EN8800GTX Aquatank- a very powerful and very large GPU “water block” for cooling the main components on the card. This cooling system consists of an extra fan and -via two tubes- a separate block containing the liquid reservoir with a pump to handle the water flow, as well as another heat radiator with its own fan. That’s almost four slots of space taken-instead of the usual two for cooling.

All this circuitry needs a lot of power. For instance, not only must you connect the standard two six-pin power connectors for the card, you also need two additional old-style, four-pin connectors for the extra GPU fan and for the water block. But what you get from all these add-ons is extra performance. Compared to the standard 575 MHz GPU and 900 MHz DDR memory clocks, this Aquatank is set at much higher 630 MHz GPU, and 1030 MHz DDR memory speed. The card in the very same dual-core Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 system running at 3.333 GHz CPU and FSB1333, with 2GB of corsair Dominator 6400CL3 memory, one of the fastest low-latency modules in the market. The goal was to compare the 3DMark results of the standard and over-clocked version on various resolution common in gaming. The Asus card was easily around 10 percent faster than the standard one. For gamers, this translates to improved frame rates when playing demanding new-generation games. In fact, another 3 to 4 percent of speed is possible if you push the card to the limit- around 650 MHz GPU and 1050 MHz memory clocks.

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