When you take the Galaxy Glacier GeForce 6800 out of its box you canâ€™t help but notice the huge blue plastic shroud that covers the heatsink. This is a heavy graphics card which weighs in at 580g - compare this to the Asus V9999GE which weighs 400g, and the heatsink must surely be the reason for the extra weight. Thereâ€™s a slab of copper some 5mm thick which covers the memory and GPU, then on top of that is a finned unit. On top of that is the shroud which ducts air from the inside of the case and out through an exhaust vent at the back, directly under the monitor ports. The nVidia reference design used a similar set-up, however it looked far slicker and more professional than the rather crude heatsink that Galaxy has come up with.
Galaxy has employed a 70mm fan, rather than the usual 50mm unit, so it can rotate more slowly, and as a result you can get the same amount of cooling with less noise. Well thatâ€™s the theory, but while the Galaxy is quite quiet in operation, the noise is best described as â€˜differentâ€™ as it is lower in pitch than the sound produced by most graphics card fans. Although the card is a twin slot design, the bracket is only one slot high, but of course Galaxy actively uses the second slot to exhaust the heated air. It supplies a vented bracket as a separate part that goes over the exhaust, however it is a surprise that the bracket isnâ€™t double height. If you were careless it would be quite possible to install this card such that the exhaust was completely blocked, which canâ€™t be good.
In our testing the Galaxy achieved similar results to the Leadtek, MSI and XFX, but it was consistently one of the fastest cards in our Doom3 time demo test, and we have no idea why this should be the case. Granted the Galaxy has a faster core speed of 350MHz, compared to the other three on 325MHz, but even so we were surprised by the results. The results proved particularly odd when it came to the Doom3 test at high resolution with FSAA enabled - here the Galaxy was far and away the best card in the round-up. Then again, it was the slowest card in most of our X2 The Threat tests, so clearly thereâ€™s something a little strange going on.
If you look around, you can find the Galaxy on sale for just over the Â£200 mark, which is fair as the package is quite basic. The box contains an S-Video cable, a DVI adapter and a power cable, and the manual was one of the thinnest that we have seen. The software package is nothing to write home about either, although it was thankfully devoid of game demos that are dressed up to look like full versions - instead you get Chaser, Moto GP 2 and Cyberlink PowerDirector 2.5 VE. We have no problem with the fact that Galaxy uses Coolbits as its overclocking utility as it works as well as any of the other packages, and it suggests that the bill of materials has been kept to a minimum which ought to be a good thing for the customer.
The Galaxy is a reasonably cheap card, so if youâ€™re on a tight budget itâ€™s worth considering. That said, the performance results were somewhat curious and the separate backing plate for the heat exhaust is questionable.