IntroductionToday marks the final part in a two part series, focussing on some of the more quirky options available in the mainstream graphics card market. The first article looked at a pair of somewhat unique cards; Albatron's 5700P Turbo that ignores NVIDIA's recommendations on clock speeds, and Gainward's Ultra/980 SilentFX Professional, a card that integrates the decently performing NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 with dual-DVI and completely silent passive cooling.
Today's review focus extends that dual-DVI theme and mates it with an ATI GPU.
Dual DVI has been a long time coming. With the LCD TFT market in the ascendency, panels now available at lower than ever prices and all the major panel sizes now shipping, it's starting to make good sense to equip graphics cards with a pair of the digital ports needed to run the vast majority of new displays.
We've recently seen the introduction of NVIDIA's high-end NV40-based products, the GeForce 6800 Ultra, and while that particular part of the 6800-series lineup will always come equipped with two DVI ports, we're starting to see the lesser 6800 models come with the usual staid array of ports with dual-DVI taking a back seat.
So what are you to do if dual-DVI is what you want, but you don't need monster 3D performance and you certainly aren't shelling out £400 on a 6800 Ultra? The Gainward Ultra/980 is one very good choice, combining utter silence with dual-DVI and good performance.
HIS's Excalibur Platinum Radeon 9600 seems to be another. Let's take a closer look.