Though the card measures in at about the same dimensions as previous versions, there just doesn't seem to be as much filled areas on the PCB. This is a testament to advances in the manufacture of chipsets and component processes more than anything else. But open real estate or not, the video board has everything necessary to make for some killer fragfests.
One thing that was rather odd is the placement of memory modules on the back of the board. While it makes sense to use areas available and reduce the amount of pipelines required to port the memory, it will make it a bit more difficult to keep it all cool. RAM sinks can be placed on it, but in the past, it was also customary to have a larger than normal fan on the GPU to have excess air blowing over the RAM sinks on the memory. This won't be possible with the chips on the backside of the PCB.
The memory itself is made by the Samsung Corporation and is rated at 4.0ns. There are four modules on the board; two on the front and two on the back. The modules hold 32MB of DDR memory each, and this fact alone helps you to realize why the board is no longer so crowded. 8MB and 16MB modules have been so common that the board just looks naked when only four chips are required.
Prolink has decided to stick with their gold coloring. Hiding under the heatsink is the new GeForce4 MX440 GPU. The heatsink does an ample job of keeping the chipset within tolerable temperature ranges, and I never had any problems with overheating. Even when I was running the Quake III timedemo tests back-to-back I never had any heating issues.
Since this particular board is designed for those on a budget, there aren't a lot of bells and whistles included; but who really needs them anyway? The ports on this standard version include a 15-pin connector for the monitor, and an S-Video port that allows for TV-Out. This should take care of the needs for most of us, but if you require a DVI output, then rest assured that the Prolink folks have a version that allows for that as well.
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