The Gigabyte RADEON 9800 Pro
Our first RADEON 9800 Pro candidate is from Gigabyte, no surprise to you readers if you have been following our reviews. The card came in Gigabytes usual Mayan style box packaging, resembling much like their RADEON 9700 Pro packaging with additional glow to signify more power. Indeed as we found out, the RADEON 9800 Pro excelled over its already wonderful forerunner by very healthy margins and is a really worthy successor.
If you disregard Gigabytes own heatsink combination on the RADEON 9800 Pro, it looks very much like ATIs own card because all of them have been manufactured by the same source.
We would like to mention here that the R350 VPU is still manufactured based on the same manufacturing process as the R300. The latter chip used on the RADEON 9700 Pro was already considered very warm to the range of hot during operation, but it was still operating at an acceptable temperature. The RADEON 9800 Pro using the R350 VPU with a much higher GPU core clock and memory clock than the RADEON 9700 Pro operates at even higher temperatures. Take a look at the following temperature measurements off our thermal probe in a cool air-con environment (about 22 degrees Celsius) while the card was in the midst of running tests without a casing:
On the RAM chips: - 60 to 65 degrees Celsius
On rear of card:- 65 degrees Celsius
GPU (as close as we could insert the probe):- 60 degrees Celsius.
Here is the link
to the temperatures we recorded for the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra for your comparison. You could expect these readings to rocket upwards in tropical room temperatures as we have experienced such with the original GeForce FX 5800 Ultra whose temperatures rose to 80+ degrees Celsius in such environments; and that was with an elaborate cooling mechanism by means of the Flow FX. At least with the Flow FX being so huge and all, one need not worry too much of the card succumbing to death by heat.
We find the heatsink a little insufficient for warmer operating regions and conditions.
With a miniscule heatsink on the Gigabyte RADEON 9800 Pro, we have no clue if the graphics card is able to maintain proper operation at such harsh temperatures that it will be likely subjected to. Theoretically it should be fine as we presume Gigabyte would have factored all these issues before hand, but in reality we cant tell. Even if it could function well, just imagine how an 80 degrees Celsius radiator would affect your system; not a nice thought wasnt it? We hope Gigabyte considers using a more robust heatsink and fan combination to at least channel more heat away from the card.
Speaking of which, the cooler fan on the Gigabyte card is as loud or a little more than the GeForce FX 5900 Ultras impeller driven cooling mechanism. It is likely that a more powerful fan combination was used on the RADEON 9800 Pro than the RADEON 9700 Pro resulting in the slight increase in sound level. In any case, after enclosing the card within your system, it should add no more than a very slight whoosh noise depending on your operating environment.