You ever wonder why video cards come in such huge boxes? Now, the marketing answer is for shelf presence. I can buy that.
In the case of the Ultra, you need a box that big because it is the coolest looking Creative Labs video card EVER made, and needs the extra room to breathe. Heh. Let's take a look.
The card has been extended to add extra power management on the opposite end of the card to the outpuput. This is very likely to insure stability of the memory which is hidden under the green heatsinks, four memory modules per heatsink. Yes the memory gets hot.
The heatsink on this card is slightly different from that of the reference card design. I had noticed that the fan had a low current draw, and Anand Tech recently confirmed that the Creative's fan does indeed pull only 60% of the current drawn by the reference design. Believe it or not, this one tweak could have improved stablility significantly in older systems on the edge of being able to supply a sufficient amount of current to the AGP slot.
The memory heatsinks are not just for show. They get hot, over a 100 degrees at times of stress. The Ultra chip's heatsink is usually about the same temperature as the memory heatsinks. It has taken a while for memory makers to be able to pump enough ones and zeros through a memory chip to make them this hot. The amount of heat coming off the memory is definitely representative of the work those chips are doing. 7.4GB/s? That is an impressive amount of information. That is half of my hard drive in a single second.
This realization also gives you an idea of how over-engineered the GeForce2 is. 3dfx scales by adding graphics chips and memory, NVIDIA scales by over-building the GPU and adding faster memory.
In the introduction, I made a comparison between exhaust pipes and the memory traces. Take a closer look at the intake and exhaust manifolds.
I love this card.
Enough pictures, time to install it now.
Next up, we take a look at the installation process, and the drivers and software included with the card.
Next Page: The Drivers