A Closer Look:::...
The box displays all the grandeur you'd expect from a company boasting such a prestigious product. The Olimpic-esque Laurel leaves and golden lettering proclaim this as something special, and let's be fair, it is isn't it? Even allowing for a few faults it's quite an achievement.
Box - Front
If the hype doesn't grab you then the facts just might. On the back we see Gigabyte working to pry open out wallets with mouthwatering boasts about quad displays, dual 6800GT GPUs, optimised power circuits and much, much more.
Box - Rear
Cracking open the box, everything sits snugly in Styrofoam packaging. It was quite refreshing to not be faced with a Chinese puzzle's worth of leads and adaptors, but the essentials are covered all the same.
Primarily, other than the graphics card itself, there are two games CD's, the quad display adapter bracket, a DVI to VGA dongle, a composite video adaptor and a reasonably detailed manual. There was also a driver CD which, because this is a reviews sample, was nothing more than a pre-recorded blank with hand writing on the front, thus not especially photogenic, and also a loop-thru 4-pin Molex to PCI-e power adaptor which, for some reason I forgot to include in the photo.
Box - Contents
The games are a little long in the tooth by current standards, but Xpand Rally was certainly a title that NVIDIA were proud to show off running on their hardware in the past. It's not one of favourite driving games but the graphics are still pretty impressive, even compared to the standard-setting Colin McRae 2005.
I'm not hear to review games, which is just as well because in addition to being decidedly average at most of them I don't get a lot of time for it anyway, so I'll break all the rules and let you read their own hype. If you want to know more, the thumbs link the the relevant sites.
In their words: Xpand Rally is a breathtaking game that gives you the true to life experience of
driving powerful rally cars amidst photorealistic sceneries. Realistic weather
effects, rolling hills, and animated scenery all add to game's visual
perfection. Xpand Rally also features highly detailed models of modern rally
cars and handling physics developed with the help of rally sport professionals
which further enhance the realism of driving experience.
Xpand Rally combines the best elements of Rally and Rally Cross racing in one unique gaming experience.
The game offers a career mode based on time trials during both: individual races and World Championship Series which will satisfy traditional Rally fans. The Rally Cross fans won't be disappointed either - they can challenge several opponents in head to head racing during competitions based on real and fictitious race events.
Xpand Rally, as the only title on the market, brings the economy factor into a rally game. The player starts with a junk car and competes in races to earn money and acquire upgrades, repair damage, tweak performance and pay the race entry fees.
Along with the tuning-up, the car's condition affects its handling. Due to accurate damage system, it is highly dependent on the player's driving skills. The physical handling model is also influenced by car parts configuration and provides both authentic feel and joy of driving.
The interactive race track surroundings with enhanced game physics and the innovative approach to changing daytime and weather conditions, both influencing the car handling, are other hallmarks of Xpand Rally that distinguish it from other racing games.
For the first time among rally games Xpand Rally includes a complete set of easy-to-use editing tools enabling to create new tracks, cars or even game mods.
Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising:::...
In their words: One of the most populated countries in the world is disintegrating. Regional
independence movements have acquired advanced weaponry as the nation's military
splits into competing factions. Escalating violence threatens innocent civilians
and Western economic interests.
The missions are dangerous, the threat is real. Play as either a member of a Joint Force and neutralize the threat... or fight for independence as a well armed separatist.
An interesting inclusion is the very cool and VERY red V-tuner2 app. This well behaved little app gives quick and easy acces to on-the-fly or pre-configured overclock settings.
Okay, so it's not exactly a reason to buy in itself, but with apps like this you need to read between the lines and realise that it's important in demonstrating a company who is not happy with throwing a reference board and stock drivers in a box and selling it under their own badge.
In short it demonstrates a willingness to make an effort and be a little different, something that, being brutally honest, I would not have associated Gigabyte with a few short years ago.
Pay no attention to the frequencies being reported here, the image was lifted from their manual for convenience. As stated, the 3D1 actually runs at 370/1000 core/memory.