The GV-R9700 PRO is what we like to call a ďfirst generationĒ RADEON 9700 PRO card. The first generation cards follow ATIís RADEON 9700 PRO reference design very closely, if it isnít an outright copy of the same design. Crucial and Powercolor are among the other manufacturers sticking with the first generation RADEON 9700 PRO design for even their newest cards.
The Gigabyte GV-R9700 PRO
The back of the card
For cooling the RADEON 9700 PRO core, Gigabyte has stuck with ATIís reference heatsink/fan unit, which does a fairly decent job at keeping the VPU cool while at the same time keeping noise levels in check. Gigabyte did go with a gold aluminum heatsink rather than the standard black, we guess they wanted the Maya II card to stand out a little bit more.
For cooling the memory, Gigabyte has implemented small aluminum heatsinks. The strange part however, is that Gigabyte only cools the memory on the front of the card; the chips on the underside of the card arenít donned with these heatsinks.
Of course, we all know by now that the RADEON 9700 PRO runs fine without these cooling units attached to the memory, but if Gigabyte isnít going to use them on all of the memory chips, it can be really misleading to consumers (who only see the top of the card in promotional materials). Itís pretty apparent that the heatsinks are there for decorative purposes and while they look nice, Gigabyte probably shouldnít have gone to the extra expense of adding them.
Other than those minor differences, the GV-R9700 PRO Maya II is identical to ATIís own RADEON 9700 PRO card. If youíre hesitant to purchase a card that doesnít come from ATI, you really shouldnít be concerned with the Gigabyte GV-R9700. Gigabyteís manufacturing capabilities are first rate; they didnít become one of the worldís largest motherboard manufacturers producing poor products. And with so much integrated on the RADEON 9700 PRO core itself, there arenít too many ways board manufacturers can really differentiate themselves. 2D display quality of the GV-R9700 was just as good as the other RADEON 9700 PRO cards weíve tested.