Samsung’s memory chips are marked as K4N56163QF-GC37 and this gives us some thinking matter, too. The company does not manufacture such GDDR2 chips anymore, offering K4N56163QF-GC36 chips with a higher rated frequency instead – 275(550) MHz against 266(533) MHz of the older version.
PowerColor must have employed GDDR2 because it had such obsolete chips in stock or because they managed to get a big lot of such chips at a discount. It also means that the PowerColor Bravo X700 graphics card has a reduced memory frequency as compared with the reference RADEON X700 that works at 350 (700) MHz. The PowerStrip utility agrees with us, showing that the memory of the PowerColor Bravo X700 really works at 266 (533) MHz, i.e. at its rated frequency. This Samsung memory isn’t very overclocker-friendly, so we don’t have much hope to reach even 350 (700) MHz – we’ll check this in the appropriate section of the review. As for the graphics processor, it works at 400MHz, like on the reference RADEON X700.
It’s not the first time we meet products from PowerColor with down-clocked frequencies – see our article called Mainstream PCI Express Graphics Cards Review: PowerColor X600 XT vs. Albatron Trinity PCX 5750 , for example. We don’t approve of this practice since the customer is misled, even though unintentionally. Yet you shouldn’t forget that many versions of the RADEON X700 come even with TSOP-packaged DDR memory clocked at 250 (500) MHz frequency. The PowerColor Bravo X700 looks preferable to such products, of course.
The cooling system deployed on the PowerColor Bravo X700 closely resembles the passive Thermaltake CL-G0003 cooler (for details see our article called Thermaltake CL-G0003 Passive VGA Cooler Review ) and even has the same number of heat pipes. The heatsinks are smaller here, however, so the total heat dissipation area is smaller, too. Yet it is big enough for cooling the RV410 chip manufactured on 0.11-micron tech process and working at a relatively low frequency. If your system case is small or badly ventilated, you can install the enclosed 60mm fan (or any other fan of an appropriate size) on the reverse-side heatsink. You should do so if you are going to overclock the card or are just not content with the efficiency of the passive cooler.
The heatsinks are rather massive, and there are special rubber pads between them and the card’s PCB to prevent the heatsinks from shifting aside and damaging the device. Against our expectations we found no thermal interface between the memory chips and the heatsinks. If there’s poor ventilation inside the system case, the lack of such interface may lead to overheat. The GPU die contacts the heatsink base through a layer of pink-colored thermoplastic material. There is no protecting frame on the GPU. The heatsink isn’t polished well – you don’t only see the traces of the milling machine, but can even feel them with your fingers. As for the spots where the heat pipes are fastened, they are all generously covered with silicone thermal paste. So, the Bravo X700 is equipped with a classic system on heat pipes. Such solutions have long proved their efficiency.