The Taiwan-headquartered Gainward is known for its desire to produce non-standard graphics cards. You may recall the famous CoolFX card series on NVIDIA’s chips with a water-cooling system, as an example. Right now this series is represented by models on the whole spectrum of graphics processors, from GeForce FX 5700 Ultra to GeForce 6800 Ultra. Quite naturally all these devices feature high overclockability, but they are rather costly, too. Only a well-to-do overclocker can afford a top-end water-cooled graphics card from Gainward.
So, if you’re not rich yet, you may want to look at “ordinary” solutions with more or less acceptable prices – Gainward offers products manufactured by the reference design, but with exclusive cooling systems from Gainward itself. Among these “standard” cards there are models the very name of which signifies their good overclocking properties or even initially overclocked frequencies – Gainward calls them Golden Samples.
Our today’s review is about one such product, officially named Gainward PowerPack! Ultra/2400 Golden Sample. Let’s see if this is a worthy choice for an overclocker.
Gainward PowerPack! Ultra/2400 Golden Sample
Gainward’s nomenclature of graphics cards does not allow guessing what graphics processor a given card is based on. Our model, the PowerPack! Ultra/2400 Golden Sample, belongs to a new series of products; it is based on the GeForce 6800 GT graphics processor from NVIDIA, and this is indicated on the package:
The card comes with a standard set of accessories – drivers, utilities, manual and other stuff. There’re a couple of unusual things, though: a coupon for purchasing a power-supply unit at a discount and two DVI-I-to-VGA adapters (not one, as usual) because the card is equipped with two DVI-I connectors:
The Gainward card sticks to the reference design, but features a non-standard cooling system. Instead of the ordinary fan of the GeForce 6800 GT, which is placed near the GPU heatsink and is blowing air through the heatsink ribs, this card has a large aluminum plate with two fans – it covers the heatsinks of the GPU and memory chips.
This cooling system is rather bulky, but the Gainward engineers took it easy – they just made a dual-slot bracket. Some people may kick up a fuss about that because the neighboring PCI slot is lost but there are really few computer systems where the dual-slot design poises any serious problems.