Asus ENGTS 250 Reviewtacohunter52 -
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ASUS's ENGTS 250 like most current GPU's is designed to be used in a PCIe 2.0 X 16 slot, but if you're using an older MOBO with just a PCIe X 16 slot, the card should still run fine. The ENGTS 250 is the same as a 9800GTX +, but the speeds it runs at may be slightly different. ASUS's GTS 250 has a core clock of 738MHz and 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 2200MHz. Like the 9800GTX+ the cooler is dual slotted, so it will use two of your expansion slots. This basically means that your card is average sized, so you should be expecting to lose an expansion slot anyway.
ASUS took a very interesting precaution for the GTS 250's protection. Located on the PCIe connector and both SLI connectors is a piece of plastic. This is used so that you don't accidentally damage them while handling the cards. However, it is not suggested that you leave them in while the card is in use. One of the reasons is melting. I'm pretty sure most of you do not wanted a plastic cap melted to the top of your card, especially if you're planning on using SLI or even TRI SLI at some point in time. Speaking of SLI, because the GTS 250 is the same as a 9800GTX+, you will actually have the ability to SLI the two together.
One of the most noticeable differences between the GTS 250 and a 9800GTX+ is that the 250 has only one 6pin connector. This means that it requires less power, which is definitely a plus for you energy efficient gurus out there. Another great thing I love about the 6pin connector on the 250 is that it ISN'T on the top of the card. This will make wire management easier. Unfortunately, the SPDIF connector is at the top of the card near the SLI slots. So, if you're running the wire to your MOBO, it will have to be hanging there. Then again many people will not use this feature. I'd trade it for better power connection placement any day. The power connector to the fan is located right above the PCIe connector and can easily be tucked behind the heat sink if it bothers you.
What good is a graphics card if you cannot connect it to your monitor? It's no good and ASUS seems to know this. On the card they've included 2 DVI ports, and 1 Component port. If you're using a VGA only monitor, or an HDMI T.V., adapters have been included.
Removing the heat sink allows us to more clearly see this card's guts. As you can see, the heat sink has four heat pipes; 2 going to either side. Hopefully this cooler will be able to dissipate enough heat to keep both the GPU and the memory cool. The layout of the GTS 250 is very similar to that of a 9800GTX+. The G92 core is still located in the middle, and 8 memory modules still surround it. Unlike ATI, Nvidia decided to stick with GDDR3 because they feel that the technology hasn't yet reached its limits. It turns out they were right - Nvidia currently has the most powerful single card solution, even though they use the older tech. Of course to purchase a 295, you'll have to sell some body parts. Anyway back to the point. The ENGTS 250 also utilizes Nvidia's "sexy" choice of memory; GDDR3. I was a little worried because ASUS's cooler does not make contact with the memory modules. Hopefully they do not generate enough heat for this to matter. ASUS did however, manage to engrave their name on the top of the DVI connectors. This way if anyone steals them, everyone will know who made them.
Now that we know what ASUS's ENGTS 250 looks like, let's get the sucker installed.