The Card and Setup
One of the most obvious characteristics of the GeForce FX 5900XT is its oversized cooler. With the GPU overclocked to run at 420MHz, 30MHz higher than NVIDIA's recommended 390MHz, AOpen has taken the steps to ensure that heat related instability will not be an issue. The all aluminum cooler used on AOpen's 5900XT spans both the GPU and its 128MB of DDR RAM which is set to run at 350MHz (700MHz effective). A layer of thermal paste was applied between both the memory and GPU to help conduct heat to the cooler more efficiently. The slotted design is aimed at exhausting the air off the back and top of the card, where the case fans take it from there. Users concerned with fan noise will be pleased to hear that the fan is relatively quiet. Even in our open test setting where there was no case to mask the noise, we could barely notice it.
Like its brethren, the AOpen GeForce FX 5900XT requires additional power. This is handled by the standard molex connector mounted off of the back of the card. AOpen includes a molex Y-adapter, so powering the card will not cost a spare molex feed from the power supply. The 5900XT is designed with dual monitor support, providing one DVI and one VGA output. The DVI can be converted to VGA with the DVI-VGA adapter provided. The card also comes with TV-Out capabilities and an S-video cable for connecting to a standard TV.
As an added bonus, AOpen included a full version of PowerDVD 5, but opted not to include any gaming titles in the package. Some may question the lack of a gaming title with a video card designed for gaming, but AOpen is offering this model at a competitive price point, meaning the money saved can be spent on a game the user is more apt to enjoy.
With increased clock speeds and added cooling, the AOpen 5900XT offers a little extra over standard 5900XTs. Next, we'll run the card through a series of test to see how it compares to several other models in the same price range in an effort to show the value the AOpen 5900XT brings to the mix.