It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen an Nvidia graphics card available to buy with a custom cooling solution other than watercooled editions: way back in June last summer in fact. It's been even longer since we’ve seen such at card at the launch of a new model too. This is due to the fact that Nvidia has traditionally sold cards to board partners as a whole package, GPU, PCB, cooler and all, for the companies to then slap on a sticker and sell as their own.
While this hasn’t been too much of an issue thanks to the stock cooler of the GT200 based cards proving itself perfectly capable, and not forgetting the GPU’s low power idle state keeping things very cool, it’s simply made for a complete lack of variety. That can’t be said for the competing lines of ATI cards, which have often boasted an array of customised cooling solutions from the relative outset.
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This looks set to change now though with the release of Palit’s GeForce GTX 275, designed and built by Palit itself at the factory level and sporting a dual 80mm fan cooler. The manufacturing grunt of one of the largest “white box” board partners in the market has meant that rather than simply being another stock card with a sticker, Palit has been able to redesign the card’s power delivery and board layout, making the Palit GeForce GTX 275 unique right from the get go.
However, previous Palit redesigns haven’t always gone to plan, with the company’s Revolution 700 custom cooled ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 managing to consume far more power than a stock version of the card despite unchanged clock speeds, as well sporting a ludicrous triple slot cooler and a baffling array of unnecessary connectivity.
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We have to admit we were extremely surprised to see Palit releasing a custom designed version of Nvidia’s latest graphics card at launch, as it usually takes a good few months to develop the custom PCB. Stripping the cooler off soon revealed how Palit had managed the feat though, as the PCB used is the same as that found on its GTX 285. This means there are two RAM module mounts left unused (as the GTX 285 uses a full 1GB of memory in comparison to the GTX 275’s 896MB) and spaces for unused MOSFETs in the power delivery circuitry (the GTX 285 being that little bit more power thirsty).