Sapphire unleashes the Ultimate
An albino assassin
Sapphire's new Radeon X1600 Pro and XT Ultimate graphics cards use a cooling solution that is nearly, but not quite, silent.
We're used to seeing mid-range graphics cards that have a passive heatsink. Generally, there's a finned slab of aluminium that sits on the GPU, which is linked via a couple of heatpipes to a larger heatsink on the back of the card.
As there is no fan the cooling is silent, but it is dependent on a certain amount of airflow to move heat away from the heatsinks, which is usually provided by the CPU cooler and the fan in the power supply.
Front and back view of the Sapphire Ultimate X1600XT
The mid-range X1600 chip from ATi is a decent Shader Model 3.0 part but it runs fairly hot, so a passive heatsink wouldn't be a good idea. Sapphire has got round this by adding a fan to the heatsink on the back of the card that measures a sizeable 65mm in diameter which has a rating of 22dB under load. We've got one here and it is effectively silent.
The X1600 Pro Ultimate core runs at 500MHz with 256MB of GDDR 2 that runs at an effective speed of 800MHz. The XT has a 600MHz core and 256MB of GDDR 3 with an effective speed of 1400MHz.
Tragically, our Press sample didn't include the copy of The Da Vinci Code that will be part of the retail package. ®