A closer look at Sapphire's X1900 GT
Sapphire's take on the Radeon X1900 GT should look somewhat familiar, as it is based on ATI's reference design. Built on the ubiquitous red PCB that most ATi vendors are fond of using, the card is long and hefty, although not much more than expected. This weight comes from the copper and aluminum heatsink installed on the card. Although a tad heavy, the heatsink is otherwise slim and should not create and clearance problems when installing other cards, or if used in a Crossfire setup.
One of the most telling observations that prove there is little if any difference from the reference ATi model requires one only to look around the edges of the Sapphire decal affixed to the heatsink. It might be a bit hard to tell in the close up shots below, but directly behind the metallic robot from Sapphire's artistic group is none other than Ruby herself. To brand the card as their own, Sapphire simply installed a custom decal and bundled it with their own software. There's hardly anything wrong with this approach, and should the X1900 GT prove to be a winner, we wouldn't be surprised to see a more customized version hit the market somewhere down the road.
Situated within the heatsink assembly is a relatively small fan that we wouldn't consider loud by any means. Even when overclocked or otherwise tasked, the fan never seemed to ramp up and whine loudly as we were expecting it to do. Small fans by there very nature typically spin quickly and can give users an earful when rotating at higher RPM. Thankfully, the one installed on the X1900 GT was never even noticeable over the typical noise generated by an air-cooled PC.
Along with the quiet operation of the fan, there also was a single strip of aluminum towards the back end used to help cool down some components in the VRM. At either end of the card are the connections that have become the norm for today's graphic cards. At one end we've got a 6-pin power connector necessary to give enough juice to keep the frames rolling by, and at the other end are two dual-link DVI ports as well as an video in/video out connector.