Features of the Apogee FX71
Package and Contents
First off we take a look at the package. Like 99% of Chaintech's products, the box is huge and eye catching, so you won't have any excuse for not seeing it on the shelves. Chaintech have now moved the Apogee and Zenith names to its video card lines with Apogee being mid-range, Zenith being high end and Summit being budget. The Apogee FX71 for a mid-range card has sure been packed to the hilt.
When opening the package you are greeted with the card in an anti-static plastic case which also shows up partly through the front for some eye candy. Under this and the support cardboard, you find your accessories. As standard, Chaintech includes a user manual that is individually targeted at each card, so there is no information in the user manual relating to other Chaintech model cards. A 9 pin S-Video Splitter is included for splitting the S-Video and RCA Video in and out functions. Yes this baby has video in, multimedia enthusiasts rejoice. You also receive one S-Video and RCA cable for either Video in or out, if you want both, you will need to get a second set of cables.
One of the accessories that caught my eye was the Q-Ball and Dust brush. Q-Ball is a static cling ball that is used to remove dust from the monitor screen. This definitely comes in handy for just about anyone, and it does look cool on the top of your monitor. Next is the Dust Brush. This is totally anti-static and is designed for you to clean the fan on your video card and various other components within the PC. Another great idea!
Now since all of the extras have been explained, we will now look at the card itself. Chaintech has gone with a GeForce FX 5800 sized PCB with a total of 6 layers. As you can see, Chaintech has gone all out on the cooling, and with very good reason. Chaintech uses a large ducted cooler on the front of the card and a single low RPM fan in order to cool the rather hot GeForce FX GPU. This comes apart in various layers. First the plastic shroud which is held in with two screws coming through from the back. Once this comes off, the Apogee metal shield also removes. From the back you push 4 pins through, this will release the back plate which cools the rear memory modules. Pushing the pins through the PCB allows for the removal of the ram sinks component. Under the backplate that has been removed are two extra push pins not visible with the shield on. These two hold the heatsink and fan onto the GPU, once removed you are faced with the bare naked chip in all its glory.
Now that we have removed the cooling unit we can take a look at the components. First is the GPU. As you can see the GeForce FX 5600 Ultra writing is on the top of the GPU rather than the bottom like traditional chips. This chip is still the same old 5600 core based on the 0.13um process, just a higher clock speed.
Memory wise, well we are in for a treat. Chaintech has elected to go for the highest quality modules, Hynix 2.2ns modules totaling 128MB in a 128-bit wide bus. These modules have reached great speeds in the past on overclocking; let's hope we are in for the same here.
As far as overclocking was concerned, it was a 50/50 affair.
The GPU was so unstable at anything above 423MHz we wouldn't even call this an overclock at only 23MHz over default. While on the other hand, the Hynix memory was a delight hitting 935MHz DDR without any problems, which is 135MHz over default or almost 17%.