Articles: Graphics

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Closer Look

Now let’s take an inquisitive look at the graphics card’s PCB:

You can see that the special feature of this card is the redesigned power circuit. This is meant to reduce the cost of the product and shouldn’t be a problem if the main components get stable power and the regulator can provide a higher output current and voltage when necessary (for overclocking with and without volt-modding).

We’ll see the worth of this modified PCB design in practical tests below. Right now, let’s learn more about the card’s technical characteristics.

The N73-GT revision A chip on our sample of the card is dated April 2006. It has a clock rate of 575MHz, i.e. 15MHz above the core frequency of the reference card. There is a protective frame of some porous material around the chip. This is quite an important trifle.

It’s good for the end user whereas the manufacturer reestablishes its good reputation by paying attention to such small things. As you know, there is usually no such frame on GeForce 7 series cards. Here’s a non-reference design to you: Nvidia tried to cut the manufacturing cost, but Palit makes amends for the GPU maker’s weakness.

We’ve got another and bigger surprise as we approach the memory chips. The Palit graphics card carries Samsung’s chips with a fetch time of 1.2 nanoseconds (this means a frequency of 800 (1600) MHz) instead of 1.4 nanoseconds (a frequency of 1400MHz). The four chips give you a total of 256MB; there are seats for four more chips on the reverse side of the PCB. So, the manufacturer has left some room for further maneuvering: they can release a top version of the card with 512MB of memory or use lower-density chips to make the card cheaper.

It is with the 1.2ns chips that the Sonic card differs from Palit’s ordinary GeForce 7600 GT on the same PCB design. Using better chips, the manufacturer set their frequency at 750 (1500) MHz which is higher than the reference frequency of 700 (1400) MHz. This isn’t much of a growth in comparison with the EVGA e-GeForce 7600 GT CO Superclocked, for example, but good enough, anyway.

The way the cooler is fastened to the card is interesting, too. To remove the cooler, you only have to release the four hooks that hold on to the mounting plate on the reverse side of the PCB. The whole process takes less than five seconds, that’s how fast and easy it is. However, I am personally an opponent of such fastening systems and will not change my opinion in spite of all the advantages of that mechanism.

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