The topside of the huge card features a large Gainward sticker and some ventilation holes through which the crossflow fan sucks its air. The 9800GX2 is entirely wrapped in a housing that both enhances the looks and also protects the circuit boards from any possible damage. The card is 27 cm long and altogether a very impressive sight.
Also the bottom side is entirely hidden under the housing. In normal cases this side of the case points at the floor, so Gainward hasn't added their stickers to this side of the housing. Also on this side of the card there are ventilation holes through which the fan sucks air. 9800GX2's cooling system is really one of a kind and I'm really looking forward to seeing how well it manages to keep those two cores cool.
The PCI plate of the card goes to show that even a well packed product can get damaged during the shipping. I have no idea how this can happen as the card was really well covered with two cardboard boxed, bubble wrap and foam. On the other hand due to the ventilation holes, the PCI bracket is maybe even softer than normal one slot shields. Luckily this was only a cosmetical damage and the card itself worked well.
On the top side of the card, near the rear panel, there's a small hatch that hides the single SLI connector. The 9800GX2 is already working in SLI-mode on itself, so only one extra card can be added for quad-SLI. There are also ventilation holes on this side of the card. The card exhausts hot air through these vents and also through small grills on the PCI cover.
In the other end of the card there are the two PCIE power connectors and a small two-pin connector for SPDIF-audio. The small audio connector becomes handy when the card is used with high definition TV or is connected to an AV-amplifier as when the SPDIF cable is connected, also digital audio is throughput to the HDMI-connector.
The card features two PCIE power connectors, one 6-pin and one 8-pin and both of these have to be properly connected in order to get the card to work at all. The reason why one of the connectors is 6-pin and one is 8-pin is that one of the PCBs inside the card can also get some power through the motherboard PCIE connector whereas the other card only gets power through the 8-pin power cable.
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