Asus ENGTX275 Reviewccokeman - July 9, 2009
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The ENGTX275 is a full size video card for use in 16x PCIe slots and is PCIE 2.0 compatible. Built upon the GT200 core, the ENGTX275 has 240 shader cores and 896MB of GDDR3 memory on a 448-bit BUS. Clock speeds are nVidia reference default speeds of 633MHz on the core, 1404MHz on the shaders and 1134MHz on the GDDR3 memory. The cooling solution used on the ENGTX275 looks to be the reference design used all the way back to the 8800GTS. If it works, why change it? The cooling solution will take up two slots, while the card physically uses only one. The front of the ENGTX275 features the same artwork seen on the front panel of the packaging, giving some continuity throughout the design. The black PCB makes for a sinister looking card when combined with a motherboard or system painted in black.
Getting the ENGTX275 connected to the display of your choice can happen in several ways. The ENGTX275 features two Dual-link DVI outputs; the yellow one is used when making a connection via HDMI coupled with the DVI to HDMI adapter supplied by ASUS. The rear of the card is covered with the heatsink shroud and is open to allow air to flow through this area. If run in SLI mode, the front face of the card is obstructed, making this airflow option pretty much mandatory. ASUS has protected the outputs to keep anything from damaging them while in transit. Just an extra little touch to keep the card safe.
By popping the cooler off the card (sounds so easy, doesn't it?), you can take a look at the details of the card to find out just what kind of components are used in its construction. ASUS has built this card with what it calls the "Ultimate Armaments". Just what is this? It is using higher quality components than the reference design to deliver what should be a card that lasts longer, getting you more value for your dollar. Lower RDS(on) mosfets that run cooler, solid capacitors, covered chokes and shielded DVI connections are part of the program. The shielded DVI connections even have the ASUS logo embossed on them.
Like just about every gamer-class card, the ENGTX275 uses additional power over what is supplied via the PCIe slot. The ENGTX275 is no different; it uses two 6-pin PCIe ports for power. Next to the power connections is the digital sound input to be used with the HDMI adapter. On the front end of the card you can see by the dual SLI bridge connections that the ENGTX275 is capable of running in Tri-SLI mode for an increase in performance.
Once you strip away the cooling and thermal paste you can get a good look at the massive GPU core. The GT200 core used on this card is a B3 revision using 240 shader cores, 28 ROPs and 896MB of GDDR3 memory. The memory used on the ENGTX275 is from Samsung and is rated for operation at 1200MHz, which this set did handily. Cooling is handled by the reference cooler that looks virtually untouched externally from those used for several lines now. The cooling solution is a hybrid copper-aluminum piece using heatpipes from the copper contact plate to the aluminum fin array.
Let's see if the "Ultimate Armaments" make a difference in the short term by overclocking it, and long term by putting this card into the farm, folding for a cure 24/7!