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Tuesday, 17 April 2012 16:01

Gainward GTX 680 Phantom 2GB tested - A closer look at GTX 680 Phantom

Written by Sanjin Rados


Fingers crossed for Nvidia's response to AMD's price cuts

GTX 680's Phantom cooler is different from the one used on GTX 580 cards, although the cards may seem identical at a glance. The new cooler kept the 2.5 slot width. However, removing the shroud reveals that the new Phantom cooler uses only two fans but takes advantage of the new heatsink's larger dissipation surface. Note that the GTX 580 Phantom used three fans.


Two 8cm PWM fans are tucked away in a special chamber within the heatsink.



Below are some pics of GTX 580 Phantom and its cooler.


GTX 580 phantom-cooler

The only thing we didn’t like on GTX 580 Phantom’s cooler was the noise. Although the fans weren’t too loud, reference GTX 580 cards were slightly quieter. It goes without saying that Gainward’s solution performed better. Compared to the reference GTX 680, Gainward’s GTX 680 Phantom on the other hand brings noticeably quieter operation and superior cooling in one package.

A five-heatpipe system is used to take care of heat transfer between the cooler base and the heatsink. As you can see from the picture below, some heatpipes stretch to the farthest end of the heatsink.


The heatsink features clean design without sharp edges. The welds between heatpipes and aluminum fins were done well.


As we mentioned before, Phantom’s cooler is equipped with two fans but two fans share the same 4-pin power connector. However, this is not as important because the driver will take care of setting the same RPM for both fans. Setting the RPM manually is a breeze using Gainward’s ExperTool or any other popular utility like MSI Afterburner or EVGA PrecisionX.

The next picture shows how cable routing was implemented.


Pulling cold air through the heatsink is the main task for the fans, but they are in charge of cooling hot components on the PCB too. As you can see from the picture, the big metal plate covers all the shorter electrical components on the PCB, such as memory modules.


GTX 680 Phantom is equipped with a total of 2048MB GDDR5 video memory.


As far as video outs go, we have here the classic Gainward’s Quattro-ports design, i.e. two dual link DVIs, HDMI and DisplayPort out.


Note that all four video outs can be used simultaneously. Nvidia included an HDMI sound device within the GPU, so there is no need for connecting the card to your motherboard’s/soundcard’s SPDIF out to get audio and video via HDMI.

Unlike the reference GTX 680, which uses two 6-pin power connectors, Gainward’s juiced up card will require one 8-pin connector and one 6-pin power connector. Gainward adds two extra phases for power supply for GPU core that helps to supply more fuel to the overclocked graphics engine and share the current load with other four phases to reduce the max operating current.


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Last modified on Saturday, 12 May 2012 09:56
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