A Closer Look - 9800 Pro IceQ
Up close, both graphic cards are a tad unsightly. Let us begin with the massive Excalibur 9800 Pro IceQ. Housing a beastly PCI-full cooling unit, embossed with Direct Heat Exhausting System (DHES) technology and an onboard fan switch, this graphic card appears to be more of a PC cooling unit than an actual video card. Fortunately, it is very rare that all five of our PCI slots are in use within any of our testbench machines, thus we are not resistant upon utilizing an additional neighboring PCI slot for a graphics card of such performance and prestige.
The fan and cooling block themselves look rather cheap. The actual cooling fan is constructed of thick transparent plastic. A closer look inside the unit reveals a gridded metal heatsink placed directly above the visual processing unit (VPU), which extends to the ridge of the PCI slot. In cooperation, to the right of the VPU you'll see the IceQ's large two-speed fan.
The actual cooling design is rather standard, yet extremely efficient at both noise and heat reduction. The encasing metal heatsink supports an efficient heat-dissipating solution. While the heat is absorbed, the fan blows the thermal energy directly through the heatsink, allowing the heat to escape to the back of your case and outside into open air.
Unexpectedly, the bottom of the 9800 Pro IceQ doesn't attach a copper heatsink, which is not only a noiseless cooling solution, but an effective solution as well, thus making its absence on an "ice cold" graphics card somewhat awkward.
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