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Gigabyte GeForce FX 5950 Ultra - Embracing nVidia, again

By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jan 1, 2004 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Features of the N595U


- Package and Contents



Gigabyte is not using the Maya name for its nVidia based cards. Instead they are simply named GeForce FX under the new N5xxx name. The boxes are now in a creamy pink colour with one of the new fairies painted on the box with the model number on the front.


Inside you get all you need in order to get yourself up and running. What you get is your User Manual, Driver CD, PowerDVD CD, Power Director CD, Game CDs, DVI to CRT converter and TV out cables for both S-Video and RCA.



- The Card


Gigabyte has based the N595U directly on the 5950 Ultra (or NV35) reference design in its PCB size and cooling design. The only major difference is the memory modules used.


The nVidia 5950 Ultra reference cooling method is rather well designed. In fact it resembles something of the OTES cooling system ABIT introduced without the heatpipe system. A duct is placed over a rather odd looking fan and placed over the back of a heatsink sitting atop the NV35 core. This fan draws air from the case across the heatsink and is then vented out through the back of the case. This prevents a build up of heat inside the case and cools the GPU much more quickly than previous efforts.


- The Core


With all the heatsinks removed the unit looks almost identical to the original 5900.



In our first look at the 5950 reference card we were a bit surprised by the fact that the core was labelled 5900 Ultra. Now we see why. The package the GPU is encased in is identical to the 5900 Ultra. This means that it was just as simple for nVidia to use the 5900 GPU package for the 5950 core. This new revision has been marked properly and we are pleased to say performs above the reference design with some work by the folks at Gigabyte.



- The Memory


Like 99% of all video cards today, memory modules are located on both sides; this allows for more RAM to be added. The 5950 Ultra comes with 256MB of DDR2 memory in a 256-bit array. This means there are 8 modules on the front side and 8 on the back (which are passively cooled). On the back, the same memory plate is used that was first introduced on the 5900 Ultra. It is large with quite a few ridges to catch passing air to cool the modules more efficiently.


The introduction of the 256-bit memory bus on the 5900 has been carried across and increases the memory bandwidth greatly over the 128-bit configuration that has served us in the past. Using DDR-2 memory allows for a faster memory interface as well as greater memory bandwidth. Unlike the nVidia reference card, Gigabyte has opted for the more popular and overclocker friendly Hynix memory modules. In DDR arrays it has shown to overclock much better than Samsung modules that were used on the reference cards.



With all this extra memory and higher clock frequencies, the 12v rail on the AGP bus isn't able to keep up with the power requirements. To combat this, the 4 pin Molex connector is included to deliver up to 20 amps directly from the PSU.



- TV Output


TV output has become a must have requirement for all video cards these days. Once only a luxury, it has now become a major flaw for removing the feature, and can result in a no sale. Gigabyte includes a Phillips and Silicon Image controller chip pair to give the best quality video output for TV output.


Now that we've had a run down over the features, let's jump to the benchmarks!


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