A Closer Look at the Card
MSI opted to not deviate from NVIDIA's reference design for its 8800 GTX. As you can see, it's a big card with a large, two-slot cooler and a long slab of PCB. The PCB, in this case, is black. When we flip the card over, you can see that eleven screws hold the cooler on. You may also have noticed that there are no memory chips on the back, which means all of the GDDR3 is directly under the cooler.
In the three pictures above, you get a better look at the huge, heatpipe-based cooler. The fan looks sort of like a hamster's running wheel and pushes hot air out through the slotted PCI slot cover. Another thing to note in the first picture is the pair of SLI connectors.
As you might expect from a high-end card, the MSI 8800 GTX sports two dual-link DVI connectors and a TV-out connector. It probably won't surprise you to see a 6-pin PCI Express power connector on this card, but it might surprise you to find two. Additionally, the connectors are not oriented the way you might expect. They are actually oriented 90 degrees counter-clockwise from the usual placement. In other words, the connectors (when the card is installed) point up towards the top of the case rather than towards the front of the case.
As we mentioned before, the MSI 8800 GTX is a monster of a card. Here you can see how it compares in size to the MSI 7950 GX2. The tape measure shows that the 8800 GTX is around one and a half inches longer than the 7950 GX2. That's one big card! As a matter of fact, we decided to see how well the card would fit in a Lian-Li PC60 case. Take a look at the two pictures below to see the trouble we ran into.
The card is too long to fit in the case due to it running into the hard drive in the case's hard drive cage. The pictures show the corner of the hard drive preventing the card from coming down as far as is necessary to allow it to be inserted into the PCI Express slot. There is nothing unusual about this case or the motherboard. This is the first time we've ever seen this problem with a video card.