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Assembly

To check out the ZM80D-HP under the harshest conditions, I used one of the hottest graphics cards of today, a RADEON X800 XT from Sapphire.

The device is based on the ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics processor and has 256MB of Samsung’s GDDR3 memory on board. The regular frequencies of the card are 500/500MHz.

Note that the memory chips have no cooling at all on the card. Well, the chips on the face side enjoy a refreshing breeze from the GPU cooler, but those on the backside are left on their own.

That’s why I didn’t use the memory heatsinks from the ZM80D-HP kit: if people from ATI think they can leave the memory chips without cooling, I will do the same. Anyway, the memory heatsinks won’t be without use: you can put them on the power elements of your mainboard or give to your friend-overclocker whose card works at increased frequencies or has hotter memory chips than GDDR3.

But let’s continue with the assembly. First of all, you choose the right block to mount on the graphics processor. ATI’s RADEON 9500/9700/9800/X800 series chips have a protective frame that prevents the core from chipping, so you should select the smaller block from the ZM80D-HP kit. The sole of this block is profiled in such a way as to provide a normal contact with the GPU even when the frame is above the die.

Before mounting the block on the GPU, you must get rid of the standard cooling system and make sure there are mounting holes on the PCB around the graphics core.

Graphics cards of NVIDIA’s GeForce 6 series consume somewhat more power and generate more heat than ATI’s RADEON X800 XT chip (see our article called Power Consumption of Contemporary Graphics Accelerators. Part II: NVIDIA vs. ATI), but they don’t have such mounting holes, so you cannot use the ZM80D-HP with them. RADEON X800 series cards, on the contrary, have such mounting holes near the graphics core and allow installing the passive-cooling system without any troubles.

 
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