In comparing Palitís GeForce 8800 GT Super+1GB card to the stock GeForce 8800 GT 512MB we received back in November, we can see quite a few changes have been made to the reference GeForce 8800 GT 512MB board design. The most drastic difference however is the boardís cooling.
New Cooling Unit
Whereas the stock GeForce 8800 GT 512MB reference board design relies on a single-slot heatsink/fan unit, Palit has incorporated a dual-slot cooler for their Super+1GB card.
As you can see, the design of Palitís cooler is somewhat similar to the Orb designs used by Zalman on their VF700/VF900 line of coolers. Palitís cooler is made from aluminum rather than copper though, and as you can see their design has fewer fins, but itís still quite effective at keeping the GeForce 8800 GT GPU cool. Palit then uses a separate aluminum plate which is solely responsible for keeping the memory modules on the top and underside of the card cool.
Finally, on the right edge of the card, a large aluminum heatsink is used to cool some of the boardís power circuitry.
So why did Palit take the time and expense to come up with their own cooler? It turns out that some enthusiasts have been disappointed with the performance of the stock GeForce 8800 GT cooling unit. Letís just say that while it gets the job done, it isnít the most powerful cooler NVIDIA has devised. As a result, some enthusiasts have turned to aftermarket coolers for their own GeForce 8800 GT boards.
To address this issue, some of NVIDIAís board partners have come up with their own custom cooling solutions. XFX for instance uses a larger fan on newer GeForce 8800 GT Alpha Dog boards.
To test the effectiveness of the Palit cooler, we ran some tests between the original GeForce 8800 GT cooler and the revised cooling unit from XFX with larger fan, as well as the Palit GeForce 8800 GT Super+1GB. Hereís how the cards stacked up:
At idle, the original GeForce 8800 GT ran at a core temp of 55 degrees Celsius Ė 10 degrees higher than the Palit board and 7 degrees hotter than the revised XFX cooler. The Palit board turned in the lowest load temps as well 61 versus 63 degrees, and you can see that the original GeForce 8800 GT cooler turned in a GPU temp of 88 degrees.
Besides the unique cooling unit, Palit has incorporated a few changes to their board design in comparison to the stock GeForce 8800 GT 512MB reference board. Weíve heard rumors that NVIDIA has made a few tweaks to their original 8800 GT reference board design to make it cheaper to produce, so weíre unsure how many of the changes on the Super+1GB came from Palit versus the revised 8800 GT reference board design.
In any case, it does appear to be a bit different than other GeForce 8800 GT 512MB cards, and weíve been told by Palit that rather than contracting board production out with NVIDIA, they manufacture all their own boards internally. So the Super+1GB card isnít another cookie-cutter reference design for whatever thatís worth.
Besides the unique cooling and board layout, another area where Palit separates themselves from other 8800 GT manufacturers is with their bundle of hardware accessories.
You see, rather than including two DVI adapters, Palit has chosen instead to include a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, allowing you to hook the board up an HDTV. Audio is then passed via a SPDIF cable which is also included in the cardís packaging. If your HDTV doesnít have an HDMI input, Palit still provides a component video cable, and those of you with a VGA monitor will be pleased to hear that the card also ships with one DVI-to-VGA adapter. Palit then finishes the bundle off with a copy of Tomb Raider: Anniversary.