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Gigabyte Maya II Radeon 9800 Pro Review

By: Cameron Johnson | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jul 12, 2003 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the Maya II R9800 Pro


- Package and Contents



First off we take a look at the package and contents that Gigabyte provides with its newest 3D monster. The package is similar to that of the 9700 series, only the name changes to 9800 Pro (after all, who will buy a card with 9700 Pro on the box and told it's a 9800). Inside you get a normal package that Gigabyte has been known for.


First off you get your video card with a standard user manual that is used for the 9800, 9600 and 9200 series cards. Only the front cover has been changed to reflect which card it is shipped with. Software wise you get your drivers and utilities CD, which includes overclocking tools and various other tweaks, Motocross Mania, Need For Speed High Stakes and Cyberlink PowerDVD XP for DVD playback, providing you have a DVD-ROM.


Gigabyte also provides for all video output conditions. First you get a DVI to CRT converter to use two analogue monitors on the one system and a 7-pin S-Video out port for connection to a TV or other A/V source. For connection to the A/V system, Gigabyte provides a 7-pin S-Video cable to use on S-Video equipment. If, however, you only have RCA inputs on your equipment, you receive a S-Video to RCA converter, which transfers the signals over. This allows for DVD playback on a standard TV display or playing your favorite PC games on a TV set.


- The Card



The layout of the card is identical in layout and size as 99% of ATI 9800 based cards on the market. This seems to be the case as ATI generally builds their cards on the cheapest possible design that work. The only major difference is the cooling solution, which in this case is a Gigabyte design.


- VPU and It's Cooling



The Cooling solution is a Gigabyte design, which resembled the ATI reference heatsink in some ways. Using two pushpins, the Gigabyte cooler is a gold plated heatsink with a fan placed directly over the VPU core to allow for maximum cooling. The heatsink is adhered to the VPU with thermal bond tape. This tape is used on 99% of ATI based cards. The VPU in looks is identical in size and layout to the R9700 core. This design is a 0.15 micron Flip Chip Ball Grid Array (FC-BGA) for maximum cooling when using its 256-bit memory interface.


- Memory



For memory, the Gigabyte card uses Samsung 3.3ns TinyBGA memory modules clocked at 680MHz on a 256-bit bus. Four modules are located on the VPU side and four on the back side for a total of eight modules equalling 128MB DDR SDRAM. ATI's specifications don't call for heatsinks to be placed on the memory modules, which can save some money. But this can also reduce overclocking on the memory side of things since at normal speeds, the RAM chips are quite hot.


- Power System



Like the Radeon 9700 series, the 9800 requires external power in order to operate properly due to the higher amperage draw on the R350 core. Trying to pull this much through the motherboard connectors would instantly kill the trace wires to the video card. This time, ATI has used the 4-pin Molex connectors like the ones that are used for the HDD's and other devices within the system. This means you don't need to have any converter cables for this unit, simply plug in a spare connector from the PSU and that's it. Also like the Radeon 9700, the power regulators have to be cooled. A small heatsink is placed on the 2-phase voltage regulator, which is located behind the CRT monitor connector.


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