ASUS EN7900GT TOP/2DHT
ASUS’ GeForce 7900 GT card, the EN7900GT TOP/2DHT, is up for review first, and ASUS has incorporated a number of changes into this board over the basic NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT reference board design.
The most striking difference between the NVIDIA reference board and ASUS’ EN7900GT TOP card is the card’s cooling. As you can see ASUS has developed their own custom cooling solution for this board. ASUS replaces the standard NVIDIA copper heatsink/fan unit with an all-aluminum cooler that is composed of three distinct pieces: an aluminum heatpipe, a large plate, and finally a conventional heatsink.
If you recall the reference board design of the GeForce 7900 GTX, NVIDIA uses heatpipe technology to cool the 7900 GTX’s G71 GPU with great success. ASUS’ heatpipe isn’t quite as sophisticated as NVIDIA’s – in fact it’s so small you may not even notice it unless you look closely – but at the same time the 7900 GT generates less heat than the 7900 GTX, and ASUS’ solution all fits in a single-slot package. The heatpipe rests directly over the GeForce 7900 GT GPU, and extending up and outwards until it rests on the left edge of the card’s cooling (it basically follows Kong’s actual face, ending right beneath his jaws).
Flanking the heatpipe is an aluminum heatsink. Fin density varies at different locations on the heatsink, directly over the heatpipe for instance ASUS uses lots of thin, long fins whereas higher up on the card rolled fins are used.
One aspect where ASUS’ cooling definitely stands out though is in the use of active cooling the board’s memory modules. Heat is passed from the memory modules to a large plate, which rests directly above the memory modules and the GPU itself. Thermal pads are mounted to the memory modules to ensure they make contact with the plate. Finally, ASUS finishes it all off with a conventional fan.
Besides the added cooling, another area ASUS sets the EN7900GT TOP card off from standard GeForce 7900 GT boards is with its clock speeds. ASUS clocks the card at 520/720MHz (1.44GHz effective), that’s 70MHz higher than stock on the graphics core and memory, buying the EN7900GT TOP a nice boost in performance in our benchmarks.
The rest of the card is similar to NVIDIA’s reference board design. The EN7900GT TOP is equipped with two dual-link DVI connections, providing full support for 2560x1600 LCD displays like the Dell 3007WFP. If you don’t want the extra cooling and clock speeds provided by the EN7900GT TOP, ASUS also produces a second GeForce 7900 GT SKU, the EN7900GT/2DHT. This card is basically an exact replica of NVIDIA’s reference design. It also sells for a little bit less than the EN7900GT TOP at most online retailers.
Software and accessories
ASUS includes quite a bit of software and hardware accessories with their EN7900GT TOP Edition card. Not only do you get a copy of the game King Kong on DVD-ROM, ASUS also includes the rally racing game Xpand Rally as well as copies of CyberLink Media Show SE 2.0, PowerDirector 3DE, and VirtualDrive 9. Hardware accessories include a component video cable, two DVI adapters, and a power adapter.