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Cooling System Design

Stock coolers of Radeon X1800 and X1900 graphics cards used to come under deserved criticism, from us too, due to their insufficient efficiency and high noise level. ATI Technologies has listened to the users’ complaints and equipped its new products with absolutely new coolers. The cooling system of the Radeon X1950 XTX can be called blameless, for example. The Radeon X1950 Pro comes with a new cooler, too.

Trying to make the Radeon X1950 Pro a compact device, ATI didn’t use a dual-slot cooler design. Its design has even been simplified over the earlier reference cooler. The new cooler doesn’t have any technical advances like heat pipes or something. It consists of a large copper base and a heatsink whose tubular cells spread out from the fan axis. The base has two juts with milled ribs at the rear part. These are intended for better cooling of the power elements of the power circuit. The rather small fan is connected to the PCB with a 3-pin connector. The whole design is covered with a red plastic casing to match the style of the Radeon X1950 XTX’s cooler.

Dark-gray thermal grease is used as the thermal interface between the GPU die and the heatsink base. We have no complaints about its quality, it does its job well. The memory chips contact the heatsink through elastic white pads made from some porous material. This should be sufficient considering the low level of heat dissipation of today’s GDDR3 chips.

The new cooler is unlikely to set any performance records, yet it should be somewhat more efficient than the older model due to the larger heat-spreader surface. Moreover, the RV570 should prove a much cooler chip than the R580, so there is no reason why we should be alarmed. We’ll tell you later on how the new tech process has affected the heat dissipation of the new chip. Right now we’ll introduce to you another contestant, the Nvidia GeForce 7900 GS graphics card.

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