NVIDIA made what may turn out to be a wise decision by allowing its board partners to work on custom PCB designs for its new cards from the get go. What that means is that we are likely to see cards that vary from the NVIDIA reference part soon after it first hits retail next week. Pictures have surfaced of one custom PCB design that reduces the length of the standard GTX 480 and opts for two 6-pin PCIe power connectors rather than the original 6-pin + 8-pin configuration.
The intention of this design from Taiyanfa (a Chinese manufacturer) appears to be taming the power draw of the GTX 480 somewhat (those two 6-pin connectors will mean a maximum board power of 225W), which could indicate lowered clock speeds or at least reduced overclocking capabilities. This is good for those who may want to adopt a GTX 480 into their setups but have less chassis space or lack an 8-pin power connector. Of course, what would be interesting to see as enthusiasts are more custom board designs that have the oposite aim. That being to wring the most performance out of that GTX 480 die as possible. The variation should be good for consumers, as it will give them more options when it comes to buying a card. However, if there are a large number of custom designs, things could get a little confusing.