The Gigabyte 9500 Pro card is
quite a vision. The red PCB and mostly everything else
follows the reference design of the "Built by ATI" products.
One feature that does not stick to the reference design is
the gold heat sink and fan housing. The cooler is held
in place by two plastic spring clips and a look below this
massive cooler reveals the R300 chip. Between the
cooler and the chip is a thick thermal pad to help dissipate
the heat given off by the VPU. The RAM does not have
any cooling applied to it and one must wonder why this is.
It may have something to do with the idea of the R9500 Pro's
being "clock locked". Maybe Gigabyte felt since
overclocking would not be an option, there was no need to
cool the RAM. The external plate has both an Analog
and DVI connector as well as a TV-Video output connector.
These connectors can take advantage of the VPU's ability to
power two displays at the same time. Depending on the
needs of the user, either two monitors or a monitor and a TV
can be driven. This is a nice feature to have
especially when playing games. Let's move on to the
Sapphire and see how this card compares...
Sapphire Radeon 9500 Atlantis Pro
Another Red Radeon...
It looks as
though Sapphire also chose to stick to the reference design
of ATI. The Sapphire also did not have cooling on the
RAM and opted for a much smaller radial heat sink and fan on
over the VPU. The Sapphire's round heat sink fan is
held in place by two plastic spring clips and a look beneath
reveals the chip and the thermal grease used as the TIM (
Thermal Interface Material ). The external plate has
the very same outputs as the Gigabyte therefore allowing for
two devices to be hooked up simultaneously. There is
not much else to note out of the ordinary, with the physical
appearance of this card. I think it's time to plug
these babies in and see what they can do...