Typically when Gigabyte strays from reference designs, the company tends towards silent or quieter operation. This is just the case with its 7950 GT. Although not silent, the Zalman VF700-AlCu fan-sink employed by Gigabyte is quieter than many other solutions on the market and it has received many favorable reviews on the web.
Zalman is famous for making great coolers, so it's nice to see the Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler on the Gigabyte 7950 GT. The only thing we don't like about the Zalman cooler is that it's taller than some other coolers out there, including the reference design. The VF700 basically turns the single-slot 7950 GT into a two-slot card. Whether or not that's a big deal will be up to you. We think it's workable in most situations, but the card probably won't meet the size requirements of some users.
We find it interesting that Gigabyte covered all of the card's connectors (even the SLI connector) with blue protective covers. When handling Gigabyte's 7950 GT, we recommend you be careful around the cooler's fins. They can be bent easily. Overall, the cooler does a nice job keeping the GPU cool, and it does so without much noise.
If you've been researching midrange and high-end cards lately, you won't be surprised to see that output connectors on the 7950 GT include two DVI connectors and a TV-out connector. What might surprise you though, is that this card features a 4-pin (Molex) power connector instead of the typical 6-pin PCI Express power connector we are used to seeing on cards like this. We aren't sure why Gigabyte made this choice, but it is interesting nonetheless and does provide a bit more flexibility with older power supplies that might not have these connectors.