Into its second iteration, the Silent Heat Pipe II cooler from Gigabyte makes the natural step up the graphics ladder from the GeForce 6600 GT to the new mid-range darling, the GeForce 7600 GT. While we have seen a slightly stripped down variant of this passive cooler on their Radeon X1300 PRO, there is no doubt that the one on the Gigabyte GV-NX76T256D-RH is the full version with a complete set of radiators.
This means that in contrast with the Gigabyte GV-RX13P256DE-RH (Radeon X1300 PRO), there is a radiator at the back of the card. Its rather low height allowance will interfere with some motherboards and we found that out on our test system's MSI K8N Diamond Plus where the board's own passive cooler prevented installation on the primary graphics slot. Luckily, there are two sixteen-lane PCI Express slots on the MSI and we could use the other slot instead.
The other radiator is found near the faceplate of the card and makes it a two-slot graphics card, which is inevitable considering that ideally one should always have adequate space for the radiators to do its work. We therefore recommend that you leave the adjacent PCI slot free if possible so as to have unrestricted airflow around the radiator and avoid creating any 'hotspots', which may affect the efficacy of the cooling. Gigabyte's approach to its Silent Pipe line of passive coolers is to have part of the radiator exposed to the relatively cooler environment outside the casing and bank on the physics of temperature gradients and differentials to assist in heat dissipation. Of course, having some form of air flow inside the casing will make things a lot easier, just like most passive coolers. From our past experiences with this cooler, this is not a bad idea and works decently for a few graphics chipsets. Hence, it should handle the relatively cool GeForce 7600 GT quite well and we'll know soon enough after our usual temperature tests.
Gigabyte has predictably gone for a conservative approach and configured the GV-NX76T256D-RH at the standard clocks for a GeForce 7600 GT, with the core at 560MHz. The memory chips are also typical for its class, rated at 1.4ns and running at 1400MHz DDR. Besides the passive cooler, the Gigabyte looks to be your typical GeForce 7600 GT under the hood and we have probably covered such cards extensively in recent weeks so the dual DVI-I connectors (one dual-link and one single) and mini-DIN connector should be very familiar to most readers.
End users should be well pleased with the more than satisfactory bundle of accessories and software included with the Gigabyte. Two DVI-to-VGA adaptors and a mini-DIN to Component dongle ensure that most output and input options are covered adequately. Meanwhile, the latest version of CyberLink's DVD playback application is much welcomed while the inclusion of the sequel to a popular first person shooter, Serious Sam II, should provide hours of entertainment for the gamers in the family. Finally, Gigabyte's own overclocking utility, V-Tuner2 Plus, completes a useful selection of software with something for everyone. To summarize, here's a list of items found in the package: