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Review: AOpen Aeolus GeForceFX 5950 Ultra

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 28 November 2003, 00:00


Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qauw

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AOpen Aeolus GeForceFX 5950 Ultra

Box shot

Comparatively speaking, that box is no bigger than a small shoe box. The top face you can see lifts up to display a little more about the feature set and NVIDIA's "Cinematic Computing" and "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" efforts. I don't know about you, but it's pretty tasteful to my eyes. Here it is opened up.

Box shot

Click for alternate open box shot (~33KB)
Click for box spec detailing (~19KB)

Opening one of the side flaps reveals a standard white box package containing the card and the bundle.

Box contents

If you've got your brain turned up to maximum you'll notice that, just like Leadtek's retail board, one of the first shipping in volume in the UK, the Aeolus is a VIVO-capable card too. The quad-pronged blue cable plugs in to the middle port on the backplane, feeding a Philips 7108A ASIC, the brains behind the video capture capability of the card itself.

Card shot

It's pleasing to see the first few FX5950 Ultras out of the starting gate coming ready for VIVO operation. I've had the Gainward CoolFX water-cooled example and now the Aeolus, and along with the Leadtek, all three are fully equipped with VIVO hardware. Compared to shipping Radeon 9800XTs and Radeon 9800 Pros, unless the card is an All-In-Wonder or built by ASUS, VIVO will be missing. VIVO may very well be a couldn't care less feature for you, but it's pleasing to see.

Apart from being equipped with the Philips processor, it's resolutely a reference design in every way. Apparently eVGA are responsible for the reference cooler on FX 5950 Ultra. Taking up two slots on your ATX case backplane, it draws in air from outside the case by means of the rotary blower style fan, pushing it over the finned aluminium heatsink that cools the GPU. Aluminium plates, thin and green coloured on the front of the card, thick and black coloured on the back, cool the memory modules. Running at a heady 950MHz, it's entirely possible they absolutely need dedicated passive cooling.

A quick shot of the backplane before I move on, I'll talk about noise and overclocking later.

Backplane shot