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PCB Design and Cooling System

Today’s graphics cards need massive cooling systems. The reference Radeon HD 6770 cooler is quite efficient and quiet, but original cooling solutions are more attractive in users’ eyes.

So, PowerColor's Radeon HD 6770 comes with the Vortex II cooler which consists of a copper base, two heat pipes and an aluminum heatsink. The latter is rather massive and covers almost the entire PCB. A 92mm fan is set to blow at the heatsink. The fan is located as far from the PCB as possible (within the dual-slot form-factor) in order to get more of fresh air.

You can even pull the fan out by an extra centimeter if you've got free expansion slots next to the graphics card. This improves the intake of cold air and reduces the size of the dead spot right below the fan.

Aerodynamic properties are as important for graphics card coolers as for aircraft or cars. Turbulence, dead zones, accumulated dust are but some of the factors that can negatively affect the efficiency of an air-based cooler. The simple and elegant solution by PowerColor engineers should help to get rid of the low-pressure zone right behind the fan impeller. Thanks to the small holes at the base of the impeller blades the air flow is improved by 13%.

This innovative cooler has one downside, though. It does not cool the memory chips. This is rather odd for a graphics card which is targeted at overclockers and enthusiasts.

The PCB is painted PowerColor’s traditional red. There is quite a lot of empty space on it because the 128-bit memory bus simplifies the PCB design. PowerColor claims to employ high-quality components, though.

There are eight W1032888G-50-F memory chips from Elpida on the PCB. Each has a capacity of 1 gigabit (32 Mb x 32) for a total of 1024 megabytes. The 50-F suffix denotes a rated frequency of 1250 (5000) MHz, but the card's actual memory frequency in 3D mode is 1225 (4900) MHz, which is 25 (100) MHz higher than that of the reference card.

We didn’t expect new connectivity options from the PowerColor card since even the original Radeon HD 5770 offered enough of them. Like a regular Radeon HD 6770, the PCS+ HD6770 Vortex II has four connectors in its mounting bracket: two DVI-I ports, a full-size DisplayPort and one HDMI.

The card allows building dual-GPU tandems based on CrossFireX technology.

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