Yes, it’s handy and practical from a PC integrator’s point of view, but not quite from the user’s or the GPU’s standpoint. The latter finds itself in a heat bag made up by the back-plate with a layer of a porous insulation material. This is not good for the thermal conditions of the GPU not only at overclocking but also at the default frequencies.
The blower proved to be somewhat noisy at its max speed, yet it is anyway far quieter than the reference cooler many manufacturers equip their products with.
There’s a layer of white thermal grease between the cooler and the GPU:
The G73 chip on our sample of the card is dated the 8-th week of 2006.
It’s good the manufacture protected the die against physical damage. By default, there’s no protective frame on Nvidia’s GPUs on latest graphics cards.
Aluminum heatsinks are installed on the memory chips. It was easy to tear them off – they are fastened with thermal glue. It is GDDR3 memory in the progressive BGA-136 packaging, which is a big advantage over DDR2 from an overclocker’s point of view. The chips are made by Infineon and have a fetch time of 2.0 nanoseconds.
Take note that Gainward offers two models of 7600 GS based cards, according to the manufacturer’s website. Both models go under the same name of Bliss 7600 GS 256MB Golden Sample, but the other variety uses another PCB design (which differs from Nvidia’s reference design, too!), is equipped with a passive cooler and 2.5ns DDR2 memory. Make sure you’re purchasing the variety you really want!
There are three connectors on the card: Dual-Link DVI-I, D-Sub and TV-out. To use the card in SLI mode, there is an appropriate onboard connector.
The default frequencies of the Gainward Bliss 7600 GS 256MB Golden Edition are 450/500 (1000) MHz. This is higher by 50MHz (core) and 100 (200) MHz (memory) than the frequencies of the reference GeForce 7600 GS, which are 400/400 (800) MHz.
If you haven’t yet grasped what we’re dealing with, you can refer to our review of the Palit GeForce 7600 GT Sonic and compare the two cards. There’s a minimum of difference (a different memory fetch time, heatsinks on the memory chips and stickers on the PCB). This is in fact a unified PCB the manufacturer can use to release a graphics card with whatever characteristics are necessary.
I guess this is good news for people who think the frequencies of the reference GeForce 7600 GS are too low, but do not have the money or desire to buy a GeForce 7600 GT.
The next section will tell you if I am not overoptimistic.