The MSI R3870X2-T2D1G OC carries the reference cooler developed by ATI’s engineers. This cooler consists of two independent heatsinks, one for each GPU. The chip that is closer to the fan is cooled with an aluminum heatsink. The more distant chip has a copper heatsink. The aluminum heatsink should reduce the overall weight of the card. Each heatsink has a jut at the spot where it has contact with the GPU die. Traditional dark-gray thermal grease ensures proper thermal contact. The heatsinks are not mechanically connected with the base and are fastened to the PCB directly by means of four screws and a spring-loaded back-plate.
The other elements are cooled with the massive red-painted aluminum base. It also carries a fan and a casing made from red translucent plastic. Part of the base is something like a needle heatsink. Two types of thermal pads are used to ensure thermal contact with the memory chips, PCI Express switch and the load-bearing elements of the power circuit: elastic “sandwiches” with a layer of thermal grease between two pink lozenges, and soft pads. The cooler’s base is fastened to the PCB with 8 screws separately from the heatsinks. The memory chips on the reverse side of the PCB are cooled with an individual aluminum plate.
This cooling system should cope with its job quite well considering the relatively low heat dissipation of the RV670 chip even at 850MHz, yet we’ve got some apprehensions concerning the GPU which is farther from the fan. As for the noise characteristics, you’ll learn them in the next section.