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Review: ASUS Extreme N7800GT Dual

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 11 October 2005, 17:51

Tags: ASUSTeK (TPE:2357)

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ASUS Extreme N7800GT Dual

The board itself, as mentioned in the preview, is 245mm wide and 145mm high, some 35mm more than a regular graphics card in height terms. It's that dimension that makes the 810 gram board unable to fit in a large number of cases that don't have the extra space needed to accomodate ASUS's big beasty.

Board

On its own, the large dimensions aren't readily apparent but compared to other big graphics boards the sheer size of the thing becomes obvious.

Comparison
From top to bottom: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT (reference board)
ASUS Extreme N7800GT Dual
3dfx Voodoo5 5500
ATI Radeon X1800 XT (reference board)

The EN7800GT Dual is bigger in both dimensions than any of the other boards on test which is no mean feat given that a Voodoo5 5500 is as wide as a 9-hole ATX mainboard! Size is a definite consideration when deciding whether to purchase an EN7800GT Dual, moreso than any other consumer graphics card yet released.

Backplane

The backplane of the board shows you what DVI port is the primary one and houses the ports for the external power supply, VIVO port and space for two DSUB analogue VGA ports which the customer must connect themselves. It's obviously a dual-slot cooler from looking at the backplane, if the first board shot didn't make that apparent.

Seminaked

The angular decoration plate showing which of the 2000 EN7800GT Duals you own is easily removed with a 9/64 hexagonal key to remove the four decorative bolts, followed by a small Philips driver to unscrew the plate from the main two-piece heatsink.

To get the board completely naked the fan is removed next via three small Philips screws, showing the two-piece design of the sinks, one for each GPU and memory module set. The two heatsinks are then removed by unscrewing four Philips spring-loaded screws for each sink. Gentle pulling pressure on the sink corners will have them free of the GPU in short order, leaving the board bare for all to see.

Nude!

Free of heatsinks you can clearly see each GPU and the L-shaped arrangement of 8 Samsung GDDR3 DRAM devices per GPU. The DRAMs are Samsung's GC16s, the 600MHz rated devices run at their maximum speed by the board's BIOS. With 256MiB of memory per GPU, the card retains 512MiB in total although obviously that full total is never available to just one GPU.

Power is supplied to the board via an external PSU, rated to provide 80W of output power from 12V DC. You can power the board from your PSU, provided it's ATX2.0 and has a suitably meaty current ability on the PEG connector. We were able to power the board without any issues from a Tagan TG480-U01 but obviously the external PSU is the recommended method of keeping the board fed with the power it needs.

PSU

The supply, made by EPS, got fairly warm during load testing but never too hot to touch or handle in any way.