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Gigabyte GV-N595U 256MB (GeForce FX 5950 Ultra)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 28th January, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The Gigabyte GV-N595U 256MB

The Gigabyte GV-N595U 256MB (at least at this point of time) is an exact replica of the NVIDIA reference board and is in fact made by NVIDIA, save for the Gigabyte logo on the huge fan unit. These high-end graphics cards are very complex to manufacture and very few other vendors have the capability to design, manufacture and maintain the high standards required. We believe NVIDIA will continue to churn out reference designs to its other partners who do not have the time and capacity to produce their own boards. The high-end RADEON 9800 series is no exception either as many of those cards are actually channeled down from the same manufacturer/supplier. Let's hope Gigabyte comes out with their own distinctive version in the near future so that they can really call it their own.

If you have seen the reference GeForce FX 5950 Ultra elsewhere online, the Gigabyte unmistakably resembles it.

Interestingly, the graphics core was only increased by 25MHz, but NVIDIA cooked up a whole new cooling system for GeForce FX 5950 Ultra GPU. It kind of reminds us of the noisy FlowFX cooling systems found on the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra products, but rest assured that no such racket could be heard on this model. It is relatively quiet but during gaming (i.e. when you enter the 3D mode), you would still be able to discern a slight whoosh due to the automatic increase in fan speed.

Top view of the GPU heatsink and cooler.

Rear view of the cooler, air-intake vent and the rear-I/O panel.

The cooler is designed to pull in air from the rear of the system and blow it across the GPU’s heatsink for cooling. This design is pretty good for an open system, but in a closed casing, it puts extra toll on the system’s exhaust capabilities. Additionally, if the system case is not placed in a well-ventilated area, the GPU cooler might end up drawing in the hot exhausted air from the PSU and even the system’s exhaust fan units. Of course we all know that hot air rises, but in a cramped location, there is a high chance that hot air just re-circulates around the same region. Perhaps it would have been wise if the product box includes this precaution as part of the system requirements.

In case you have not noticed, this is a two-slot solution.

The rear of the graphics card has a beefier heatsink for the RAM chips and as well as cooling the GPU rear.

Initially, we faced numerous problems getting the card to operate reliably but we nailed the cause to our sub-par power supply unit. After swapping it out for a beefy 430W Antec TruPower unit, all was working well. Besides the need for a good power supply unit, we also found that the GV-N595U operated at exceptionally high temperatures. Take a look at the temperature readings we recorded in an air-conditioned environment at normal room temperature at 22 degrees Celsius:-

  • Near GPU front = 52.4 degrees Celsius
  • Rear of GPU = 58.5 degrees Celsius
  • Forward facing RAM chips = 59.2 degrees Celsius
  • Rear facing RAM chips = 57.2 to 66.5 degrees Celsius
  • Forward facing power components = 75 degrees Celsius
  • Rear facing power components = 64 to 80 degrees Celsius

    As the numbers tell, this card is scorching hot and would be warmer should the card be operating at normal ambient temperatures (and inside a cramped casing)! For those who have been using a RADEON 9800 PRO, such numbers shouldn’t bewilder you because that’s how hot those cards operate as well. The bottom line is that the high-end graphics cards require good ventilation and adequate power to drive them reliably.
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