ATI FireGL V7600 512 MB Workstation Graphics Card

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Board Design

 
The FireGL V7600 card features the same base PCB design as the Radeon HD 2900 lineup, which utilizes a somewhat elongated (bright red) PCB that is likely to extend past most standard ATX motherboards. The extended length didn’t prove to be an issue in any of our scenarios. Of course, the card is double-height as well, as its cooling system requires the V7600 to occupy two case expansion slots.


ATI FireGL V7600 - Angled View


ATI FireGL V7600 - Angled View

The cooling system on the card is quite impressive, although not entirely without fault. Underneath the plastic airflow routing shroud, ATI has a massive copper heatpipe cooling system with a load of aluminum thin fins, which work in conjunction with the unit’s blower-style cooling fan to whisk hot-air out of the chassis. The cooling system is equipped to cool both the GPU and the GDDR-3 memory, just in case you’re wondering, all 512 MB of memory is located on the same side of the PCB.

The 4-pin, PWM-enabled fan could use some work, as it’s clearly louder compared to the Nvidia workstation products we tested against. The fan can run at multiple speeds and noise levels, depending on the GPU processing load and heat production level. The idle noise level of the card was significantly higher than expected in today’s GPU market, and the noise level was audible over our standard testbed hardware. Throughout most of the tests, the card stayed at its default noise level, although every once and a while, the fan would go into a high-speed mode (most often during heavy ViewPerf and Crysis tests) which made the noise level very noticeable. We’re not talking GeForce FX 5800-style blower noise, but definitely audible and none too pleasant. On the plus side, due to the cooler’s design, GPU-created heat is whisked out of the case, and doesn’t linger internally to heat up other components.
 


Closeup of Heatpipe Cooling System


Closeup of Blower Fan


The V7600 requires an 8-pin PCI Express power connector, but will run on a 6-pin PCI Express connector if necessary. The Radeon HD 2900 XT exhibited the same behavior, although this card could not be overclocked when a 6-pin PCIe power connector was used. Of course, if you have the option, be safe and use a full 8-pin PCI Express power connector.


8-pin PCIE Power Connector


Dual-Link DVI Connectors

As expected from a workstation-class card, the FireGL V7600 is equipped with a pair of dual-link DVI connectors, which can power two 30” 2560 x 1600 LCD displays without breaking a sweat. Sitting between them is a 3-pin stereoscopic output port, which is a port that you either need or you don’t - it depends on your application. Multiple FireGL V7600 cards can be placed in the same system to increase your number of display outputs.

The card includes CrossFire 2.0 (internal) connectors, but does not include a CrossFire cable. ATI told us directly that these FireGL cards do not support Crossfire, and that they’ll work on FireGL CrossFire when users are demanding such a feature. CrossFire, along with SLI, isn’t in demand much in the professional level market, so we’re not surprised to see it left out of the mix. However, we never like to see features on a board which we can’t take advantage of due to cost cutting measures (using the same PCB for both graphics card lineups).
 


Crossfire 2.0 Connectors


PCI Express x16 Interface


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