PCB Design, Specifications, Cooling System
ASUS’s card is no different from Nvidia’s reference sample in terms of PCB design except for the color. The EN9600GT Top 512MB is blue instead of Nvidia’s traditional green.
The placement of the power circuit elements is the same as on the reference card (i.e. as described in our Gigabyte GV-NX96T512H-B review). The card is provided additional power through a standard 6-pin PCI Express 1.0 plug.
There are eight chips of GDDR3 memory on board. These K4J52324QE-BJ1A chips have a capacity of 512Mb (16Mb x 32), 1.9V voltage, and a rated frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz. Such memory was also installed on Gigabyte GV-NX96T512H-B and Gainward Bliss 9600 GT 512MB GS cards we reviewed earlier.
Targeted at enthusiasts, the card comes with a pre-overclocked memory frequency. Instead of the reference card’s 900 (1800) MHz, the memory frequency of the ASUS card is 1000 (2000) MHz. Thus, the EN9600GT Top 512MB has a memory bandwidth of 64GBps as compared with 57.6GBps of the reference GeForce 9600 GT.
The card’s GPU is revision A1 and pre-overclocked, too. Its frequencies are 720/1800MHz (main domain/shader domain) as compared with the reference card’s 650/1625MHz. The core has a standard configuration with 64 universal scalar ALUs, 16 texture units (16 filter units and 32 address units), and 16 rasterization modules grouped in four sections.
Based on the reference design developed by Nvidia, the EN9600GT Top has the same inputs/outputs as any other such card: two dual-link DVI ports and a universal analog video output. Besides, the card has an onboard 2-pin S/PDIF connector for the sound card’s digital input in order to enable audio-over-HDMI.
The card is equipped with the Glaciator cooler developed by ASUS.
It resembles Zalman’s solutions. The heatsink is made from aluminum that makes the cooler lighter and cheaper than if it were made from copper. The large size of the heatsink ensures proper cooling performance. The cooling system is secured on the PCB with four spring-loaded screws. This fastening mechanism should be safe for the GPU die.
Despite the pre-overclocked frequency, there are no heatsinks or heat-spreaders on the memory chips. They are cooled by the air from the GPU cooler.
The Glaciator is quite massive and blocks the neighboring PCI slot. You may find it difficult to install the card into small system cases.