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Graphics Galore!

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I spied plenty of new products from the usual graphics card manufacturers while treading the boards of Computex. However, apart from the dual HD 2600 XT cards, there were few items that really grabbed my attention. So, rather than write umpteen articles about the same old cards, I’ve lumped the lot in together for you.

Firstly, if there was one word I’d use to describe the general world of graphics at the moment, it would be passive. While the top few cards from both nVidia and ATI are pumping out bath boiling amounts of heat, their lower priced parts have a small enough TDP (Thermal Design Power) that they can be chilled by passive coolers. Not only is this good for the noise conscious gamer but, with the new video processing engines and HDMI outputs of these new cards, they’re also great for Home Theatre PCs (HTPCs). This is something all the boards partners have cottoned onto in the last few months so many of them were demonstrating their new wares here at Computex.



ASUS nVidia GeForce 8600GTS and GeForce 8600 GT
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Sparkle GeForce 8600 GT, 8600 GTS, and 8500 GT.
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Gigabyte 8600 GT and Radeon 2400 XT
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HIS deserves a special mention for also trying its luck at a dual HD 2600 XT card. Like the two cards I looked at previously, there wasn’t a working card on display so I couldn’t judge performance. The cooler was also not present, so I can’t even make an educated guess as to noise levels, but, judging from previous HIS cards and their relationship with Artic Cooling, I’d say noise shouldn’t be a problem with this card. From a glance it doesn’t appear to be as tall as either of the Sapphire or MSI cards but is perhaps slightly longer. Again, we’ll just have to wait and see when we get them in for review. It only has two DVI outputs, though, so it’s already down against the Sapphire.



Finally, one last card that caught my eye was the Sparkle 8800 GTX Ultra, which is the first I’ve seen that breaks from the reference cooler design. Rather than having an opening at the front and rear of the plastic cowling, the designers have closed off the rear opening so air is only sucked in from above and below the centrifugal fan. It’s not a massive leap for mankind but it seemed intriguing to me.

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