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PCB Design and Specifications

As opposed to the Gigabyte GV-N430OC-1GL (GV-N430OC-1GL) we reviewed earlier, the Axle AX-GT430/1GSD3P8CDI is a full-size card which will not fit into a low-profile system case unless the latter allows to turn the PCI Express slot by 90 degrees by means of an adapter.

Moreover, the Axle card has a dual-slot cooler requiring a free slot above the card's own. By the way, this particular model is not listed at the manufacturer's website. Instead, you can see an AX-GT430/1GD3P8CI model there with a completely different PCB and another cooler.

Removing the cooler, we saw a sparsely populated PCB. The power circuit is based on Richtek RT8105 and RT9259 controllers.

The GF108 being a highly economical chip, there is no need for an external power connector.

The graphics card carries eight IDSH1G-04A1F1C-16G memory chips from the defunct Qimonda AG. These DDR3 chips have a capacity of 1 gigabit (16 Mb x 16). The memory bus is 128 bits wide. The 16G suffix indicates a rated frequency of 800 (1600) MHz. This is a rather odd choice because the memory frequency of the reference GeForce GT 430 is 900 (1800) MHz. Axle must have accumulated a large stock of such chips and now have to use them somehow. This particular graphics card has a memory frequency of 700 (1400) MHz which is even lower than the rated frequency of the employed chips, let alone the official GeForce GT 430 specs. The peak memory bandwidth is only 22.4 GBps. That would be impressive for some Matrox Parhelia in 2002 but looks a very low number even for an entry-level solution today, in 2011.

As opposed to the previously reviewed model from Gigabyte, Axle’s GT 430 features a GPU frame that protects the graphics core in case the cooler is misaligned. The GPU die has the same marking as the one of the Gigabyte card, except for the date of manufacture, which is the 45th week of the last year. The GPU clock rates of 700/1400 comply with the official specs. The graphics core has a standard configuration with 96 stream processors, 16 texture-mapping units, and 4 raster back-ends. The GeForce GT 430 is inferior to the last-generation entry-level product GeForce GT 240 which has twice the number of TMUs and RBEs (32 and 8, respectively).

As is typical of inexpensive graphics cards, the Axle GeForce GT 430 is equipped with one DVI-I, one D-Sub and one HDMI connector. The PCB design provides for a DisplayPort instead of the HDMI, but we doubt such a version will ever be released. Unlike on half-height cards, the D-Sub connector is wired to the PCB in the traditional way which should ensure a higher image quality with analog connection. On the other hand, many graphics card makers do not pay much attention to this interface, focusing on the digital ones instead, so its implementation may be poor.

The cooling system is very simple. It is an aluminum heatsink fastened to the PCB with four spring-loaded nuts. It contacts the GPU die through a layer of white thermal grease.

We saw a similar heatsink on the Axle Radeon HD 5670 but the fan is smaller here: 80 rather than 92 millimeters in diameter. Considering the low power consumption of the GF108, this cooling system should be able to cope just well.

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