Rather than invest time and money into designing a unique board layout, Leadtek did what almost every other GeForce manufacturer is doing: they use NVIDIA's GeForce reference design for the board layout. While this reduces cost (as research and development time are almost nonexistent), it leaves many of the cards performing the same. There is only so much difference that can be had by placing the same items on almost the same spaces on the board. A few features, however, aid in overclocking and true card speed, as can be seen in the WinFast GeForce 256 SDR which can perform on both fronts.

The hot running GeForce GPU is cooled via the same heat sink and fan combination that we see on many of the GeForce cards. While this setup allows for sufficient cooling when running at the suggested core speed of 120 MHz, we often look for better cooling for overclocking purposes. This method of additional cooling, which, often times, comes from an aptly applied layer of thermal grease or thermal tape, was all but missing in the WinFast GeForce 256 SDR; the heat sink of our test card was attached to the GPU with a very sparely applied amount of thermal glue. To examine further, we removed the holding pins on the card (large white pins that keep the heatsink securely on the GPU). It was at this point that, upon toying with the heat sink, the small drop of thermal glue gave out and left us with the card in one hand and the fan and heatsink in the other. This should not be a problem for people running at stock speeds, but overclockers beware.

As with many other manufactures, the LeadTek WinFast GeForce 256 SDR has 32 MB of SDRAM memory arranged in sixteen spots on the front and back of the board. LeadTek chose to take the road that we wish more manufactures traveled when choosing SDRAM chips, as our board contained sixteen 2 MB 5 Ns EliteMT SDRAM chips to reach the desired 32 MB. While using 5 Ns (200 MHz) RAM chips may not matter when the card is running at the stock memory speed of 166 MHz, it leaves many possibilities open as to how much the memory clock can be overclocked.

There is one feature that the WinFast GeForce 256 SDR card has that some competing SDR cards do not: S-Video out. Powered by the commonly found Brooktree 869 video output processor (the same one found in the majority of TNT2 cards), the S-Video out features 800x600 TV output. As described in our Picture This: TV-Output Comparison, the Brooktree 869 chip can produce a picture on both the attached television and the computer monitor as long as the two resolutions match. In addition, the chip received high marks on video playback color and quality, thus the addition of S-Video out is good in many respects.

Index Overclocking

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