Asus N7800GTX TOP Video Card Review
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Asus N7800GTX TOP is the first or second to dramatically change the reference cooling design set forth by NVIDIA. While most manufacturers have simply used that reference cooler in their retail cards currently for sale, sometimes a change like we see here can make a big difference.
Here is a top view shot of the N7800GTX TOP that clearly shows a behemoth of a cooling fan solution provided by Asus on this card. The fan on the right side of the card draws air in from the top opening and throws it across the large heatsink covering the GPU and out the back of the card and to the rear of the case. The fan is large, but remains remarkable quiet, actually putting out less noise than the OEM fan.
The rear of the card is where we find a well endowed retention brace that is necessary to hold the large, heavy heatsink on the fron in place. The black heatsink plate removes some of the heat off of the memory modules on the opposite side as well.
Ah yes, did we mention this part yet? All that additional heatsink and fan don't come for free as see Asus was forced to move back to a dual slot configuration for the N7800GTX TOP. The exhaust port on the card takes over the entire second slot. In our initial 7800 GTX preview, the return to a single slot cooling solution was definitely a positive. However, with that in mind, since we have seen dual slot coolers from both ATI and NVIDIA for the past two generations of GPUs, the market has become mostly adapted to the form factor. Most motherboards and system designs still provide enough room for dual core GPU designs and so Asus' return to this option isn't all that bad. And as you will see in our overclocking section, the additional cooling does quite a bit of good.
Yeash, that fan is big! This cooler is actually designed by Arctic Cooling as the NV Silencer 5 Rev. 2. Asus has simply installed it and rebranded it for their product.
Here you can easily see the thermal pads that Asus has applied between the memory modules and the Silencer heatsink module. While there are traditionally not as effective as high quality thermal compound or paste, we saw no overclocking deficits in our testing, seen on the coming pages.