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PCB Design and Technical Characteristics

Nvidia and AMD/ATI do not require that mainstream graphics cards based on their GPUs be exactly compliant with the reference designs. This card from Gigabyte is a good illustration of this point because its PCB has got a unique design.

 

Using a blue solder mask, this PCB is smaller than the reference one and hardly has any point of similarity with it at all. Even the memory chips are rotated by 90 degrees here. The power circuit is very simple since the card gets all the power it needs from the PCI Express slot alone and does not have an external power connector. The load capacity of the slot is 75W while the power consumption of the GeForce 8600 GTS is much lower, not reaching 50W even. We only wonder why Nvidia put an additional power connector on the reference card while they could have done without it, making the whole design cheaper. We doubt that even an overclocked GeForce 8600 GTS can surpass the load capacity of the PCI Express slot.

The card carries a revision 400-A2 G84 chip with support of HDCP and dated the 10th week of 2007. The GPU configuration is standard with 32 unified shader processors, 2 texture-mapping units with 8 address and 8 filter units in each, and 8 raster operators. The GPU is clocked at the reference frequencies of 675MHz for the main domain and 1450MHz for the shader domain. To be exact, the latter frequency is actually 1458MHz (which is exactly divisible by 9, 18, 27, and 54) due to the specifics of the GeForce 8 clock generator.

Like the reference card, the Gigabyte is equipped with Samsung K4J52324QE-BJ1А memory working at 1.9V voltage. Four such 512Mb chips provide a total of 256MB of graphics memory with a 128-bit memory bus. The memory frequency is 1000 (2000) MHz, which is the standard for GeForce 8600 GTS and the rated frequency of the chips.

The PCB design developed by Gigabyte allows to install a HDMI connector instead of the top DVI-I port. It is a logical solution since HDMI is currently gaining more popularity while the support of hardware decoding of H.264 video format by the G84 and G86 processors makes them suitable for use in a home multimedia center. The Gigabyte card also suits this application perfectly with its noiseless cooling system we will describe shortly.

Every connector, including the MIO interface, is covered with a protective plastic cap.

 
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