The Card (Continued) and AGP 8x
Cooling the V9280S
In order to maintain stability at the selected, “overclocked” frequency, ASUS utilizes a copper heat sink and a generous application of thermal grease for efficient heat transfer. The 16MB BGA memory modules mounted on the front of the card are covered by memory heat sinks and attached with thermal adhesive. Oddly, the back of the card is covered with an adhesive aluminum plate, apparently designed to remove heat from the memory modules on the back of the card and a couple of other hot spots ASUS has identified. Unfortunately the plate doesn’t make contact with three of the four modules, calling into question its ability to cool the back of the card.
We didn’t encounter any stability problems at default speeds, though, and the board still proved to be an effective overclocker. Rather than use the standard 6-layer reference PCB for the V9280S, ASUS has opted for the more expensive 8-layer design required for the Ti 4400 and 4600 cards. Past conversations with NVIDIA have indicated that the 8-layer design facilitates improved signal integrity as the core and memory clock speeds increase.
Video editing capabilities
Many competing Ti4200-8x cards skimp on connectivity features in the interest of cutting costs. Instead of following suit, ASUS has added Silicon Image’s Sil164CT64 PanelLink Transmitter – the same digital-output chip found on NVIDIA’s reference board. Further, it has included Philips’ SAA7108AE video encoder/decoder chip for S-Video and composite TV-output, as well as S-Video and composite input through an external breakout box. The breakout connector is very similar to what ATI uses for the All in Wonder RADEON 9700 Pro, minus the audio input. A small strip of Velcro is also included for mounting the box wherever convenient. ASUS also includes a DVI adapter to enable a second VGA output.
External breakout box provides S-Video, composite inputs/outputs
V9280S provides all the video connections you'll likely need
As if the hardware package weren’t enough, ASUS also includes a fairly comprehensive software package. Full versions of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Black Thorn, and Worms Blast are included, along with a couple of demos, video editing software, ASUSDVD, and that Aquarium screensaver my parents seem to love so much.
The most prevalent feature of the NV28 core is of course support for AGP 8x. Only a few chipsets support the new feature, and of those that do, we’ve found some problems with the RADEON 9700 Pro functioning properly. We were naturally a little apprehensive about NVIDIA’s AGP 8x effort, but our SiS 648 test bed exhibited perfect stability. At least for the time being, it simply seems as though ATI has some more work to do in order to realize the same level of compatibility.