Revised cooling unit
As much as we love the aforementioned features, one aspect of the Tachyon G9500 PRO is its cooling implementation. Itís no so much that we feel itís inadequate, we just feel itís quite a bit tamer than the unit we were led to believe Tyan would be implementing on its final Tachyon G9500 PRO cards.
You see, when the Tachyon G9500 PRO was originally announced, product photos depicted the graphics card donned with an oversized heatsink similar to the unit used on the Tachyon G9700 PRO. Subsequent G9500 PRO cards demonstrated at Cebit and even posted on Tyanís website also featured photos of this extreme heatsink. This two-piece unit cooled the graphics core and memory on the top as well as the bottom of the graphics card, and offered substantially more surface area than the heatsink on our review card.
While these photos have been removed from Tyanís website, in a mild bit of irony, the original heatsink design is still depicted on the back of the Tachyon G9500 PRO packaging with a warning: ďActual card may vary from pictureĒ.
Other than that gripe, the cooling unit Tyan has utilized for the Tachyon G9500 PRO is still pretty good. Tyan has gone with a slightly more compact heatsink than ATIís reference unit but with larger, taller fins. The fan itself is also more powerful at up to 5,500 RPMs, without the excessive noise level of the Tachyon G9700 PROís fan.
The end result is an effective cooler that does a very good job of keeping the 9500 PROís core temperature in check, that is slightly louder than the stock ATI cooler at top speed, but can be configured to run quieter than ATIís unit thanks to the Tyan Graphics Monitor which weíll get to a bit later.
Before we go further, one aspect of the Tachyon G9500 PRO that we canít neglect is its out of the box overclocking support. If you recall, the R300/RV300 family shipped without overclocking support. The only chip with built-in overclocking from the factory was the RADEON 9700 PRO. Of course, the chips could all be physically overclocked, but the BIOS images disabled this feature. In order to enable overclocking, you had to download Kip Hardinaís (warp11 if you ever see him online) 9500WARP BIOS. To this day we still get emails from readers asking about this procedure, and for good reason -- if you donít flash your video cardís BIOS successfully, you could be in for a very long day.
With the Tachyon G9500 PRO thereís no BIOS hacking to worry about. Simply plug in your G9500 PRO graphics card and itís ready to overclock. This is the only RADEON 9500 PRO product on the market that can claim this feature.