It wasn't so very long ago
that the size of your manhood was directly
proportional to the amount of noise your
PC could create. Brick-like copper coolers
topped with a pair of annoyingly loud
fans were what sent pulses racing and
wallets twitching as geeks the world over
had to own the biggest, baddest and loudest
kit their money could buy them.
Then, suddenly, it all changed!
Almost overnight we were
struck by the silent PC revolution. No
longer was it cool to have a PC that made
it impossible to hold a conversation in
the same room, now your skill was judged
by how quiet you could keep your rig while
still supplying all the necessary cooling
to keep it running without falling over.
Unlike the noisy era, the
silent era is far more of a challenge.
Any fool can slap a huge fan on a huge
sink and plug it all in. Fewer can keep
things to a whisper and still run a stable
system, or a least that was the case before
companies began to spot the trend and
introduce specialist hardware designed
to simplify the process.
Everything with a fan became
a legitimate target and after the humble
CPU and power supply had been catered
for by using larger fans or water cooling
setups, and power supplies had been doctored
with thermal control circuits to keep
fans spinning no faster than they absolutely
had to for the thermal conditions inside,
it was time to take a look at the next
item on the hitlist, the graphics card.
With modern GPUs creating
some quite considerable heat, silent cooling
was always going to be a challenge, though
a technology existed that could help meet
that challenge, a technology that has
in fact been with us for far longer than
most of us realise....the heatpipe. By
virtue of the heat produced it was never
likely that a passive cooling solution
was going to be small or pretty, but on
this occasion function was far more important
Today's review candidate
is Sapphire's Radeon 9800 Pro Ultimate
Edition, a passively cooled Radeon 9800
Pro that offers all the power and flexibility
of the stock 9800 Pro but does it silently!
Here's the specs:
DDR memory accelerates the latest 3D
memory interface removes hardware performance
bottleneck and provides end users with
faster 3D graphics
only 8-pipeline graphics solution in
its 2nd generation, providing twice
the rendering power of any currently
the new AGP 8X standard, providing a
high-speed link between the graphics
board and the rest of the PC (2.0 GB/sec)
to fully support DirectX® 9.0 and the
latest OpenGL® functionality
SMARTSHADER™ 2.1 technology allows users
to experience complex, movie-quality
effects in next-generation 3D games
2.1 technology enhances image quality
by removing jagged edges and bringing
out fine texture detail, without compromising
floating-point color precision allows
for a greater range of colors and brightness
VIDEOSHADER™ engine uses programmable
pixel shaders to accelerate video processing
and provide better-looking visuals
new FULLSTREAM™ technology removes blocky
artifacts from Streaming and Internet
video and provides sharper image quality
POWER CONNECTION REQUIREMENTS
Radeon 9800 Pro must be connected to the
computer? power supply to meet its performance
and high-speed memory requirements.
Remove the power cable from the hard drive.
In order to supply the ATI Graphics Accelerator
card with the necessary power, we have
included the Power Extension Cable.
Use the Power Extension Cable to connect
the Radeon 9800Pro to the computer hard
drive power connector.
2. Connect the 4-pin connector of the Power
Extension Cable to the Radeon 9800 Pro power
3. Connect the Power Extension Cable to
the power supply connector.
4. Connect the Power Extension Cable to
the Hard Drive connector.
in both FULL Retail and Lite Retail Versions
retail indicates that the package contains
the entire bundle including the Game software
bundle and utilities. The Lite retail
versions do not come bundled with the
software bundle and are packaged with
the neccessities needed to enjoy the pinnacle
in performance from Sapphire alone.