Enhanced Leadtek Winfast GeForce 2 GTS

0 thumbs up

The Enhanced Leadtek Winfast GeForce GTS
Chock full of good stuff...

By, Jeff Bouton
December 28, 2000

Quality and Installation Of The Enhanced Winfast GeForce 2 GTS
Come on in...

Right out of the package it is clear that we?re not in Kansas anymore.  As we?ve seen in the not so distant past, manufacturers have been getting pretty creative (and large) when it comes to cooling the latest nVidia GPUs.  We?ve seen large fans mounted on huge heat sinks that do an excellent job of keeping the core cool, but does it really need to be that big?   Leadtek has asked that same question and come up with a completely different approach to the cooling process.  Instead of oversizing, they?ve taken a more streamlined approach to heat dissipation.  Leadtek accomplishes this by implementing a specially designed heat sink and the use of thermal paste where the fan blows across the heat sink, pushing the hot air away from the chip. This in turn helps prevent recirculation of warm air across the processor.  With standard cooling practices, especially in crowded cases, it is very easy for the fan to recirculate warm air, causing the processor to run warmer which will affect performance.  Using this design, the fan is mounted in a position where it can draw cooler air from the center of the case and then push the warmer air away from the GPU.

Unfortunately, this unique design doesn?t provide much of any direct cooling of the onboard RAM.  What you can?t see is the back of the fan is sealed, so the air is directed through the heat sink.  Directly under the fan lie two of the 8 RAM chips that get no airflow at all.  In other model cards, we?ve seen manufacturers of similar cards put heat sinks even on the RAM.  This is especially important when the manufacturer encourages over-clocking, as does Leadtek with the WinFast GeForce 2 GTS.  Now this is a choice that we would have liked to see addressed.  During our battery of tests, the RAM did get warm to the touch, but not hot.  We wonder just how much more we would?ve been able to clock the RAM if some kind of cooling was provided.  We?ll check the numbers later on?

Included on this board are 8-8MB Samsung 333 MHz 5.5NS DDR SGRAM.  One reason we liked this card is the increased bandwidth gained by the use of SGRAM.  SGRAM has the added ability to open two memory pages simultaneously that results in a higher over all bandwidth compared to SDRAM.  That combined with the 5.5NS rate, should result in excellent performance gains over other cards in its class.  Curiously, though, at 5.5NS the RAM?s default clock speed should be closer to 363 MHz.  We assume that the people at Leadtek are allowing a little room for over-clocking.  Later on we?ll see just how much higher we can push it beyond that 363MHz.

         

Another feature is the addition of three status LED?s on the board.  I know that they are barely visible in the image, but they are there!  They provide monitoring to ensure that the proper power is being supplied to the card, if the card is running in AGP 4x mode and if there have been any faults detected.  With the documentation provided with this card, there is no further information as to whether flash codes will be provided to help determine what errors might be occurring.  During the testing of this card, we did not encounter any errors that caused the error LED to light up.  Although if it did, no other information is available as to what we should do about it.  Yes, we know that we would need to check our settings, but other than that, it really is no help in determining what has gone wrong.  In my opinion, if Leadtek does not offer any more information, then the error light is merely a novelty that will wear off as soon as you put the cover back on your case.

         

The Leadtek WinFast GeForce 2 GTS comes with a standard monitor output and an S-Video output.  Don?t worry if your still working with RCA connectors for TV-OUT, they?ve also included an adapter to accept an RCA connection.  Another thing we liked is that the cooling fan is plugged into a socket rather than soldered in like Leadtek's older MX.  This will prove invaluable if you need to replace the fan in the future.  I don?t know about you, but I would avoid bringing a soldering iron near a video card that just cost several hundred of my hard earned dollars.

 The Drivers and other Goodies

 

Article Index:

Login or Register to Comment
Post a Comment