It seems like we have waited nearly an eternity for NVIDIA's NV30 to surface. Originally announced in November of last year, poor yields and development hurdles have delayed NVIDIA's GeForce FX until recently. Gamer acceptance of NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5800 Ultra has been less-than enthusiastic, mostly due to the card's extreme cooling setup, high retail prices and less-than superlative performance numbers. In response, NVIDIA has recently announced new NV35-based cards that should make up for the issues of their current GeForce FX cards.
That aside, we are seeing GeForce FX 5800 Ultra cards in very limited quantities, with manufacturers such as BFG, MSI ASUS and Leadtek taking the GeForce FX ball and running with it. Some companies have even used alternative hardware with their products, and Leadtek's iteration is one of the first without the "Flow-FX" cooling solutions, and uses a quieter, proprietary solution.
Physically the WinFast A300 Ultra MyViVo card differs greatly from the NVIDIA reference design. Gone is the gigantic and loud Flow-FX cooling system, replaced by Leadtek's own proprietary apparatus. The card is almost completely encased in aluminum, with two fans placed on top of the card - one to suck air in, one to blow it out. Both fans are lightly filtered to help keep nasty dust from piling up inside the card casing. While not as large as NVIDIA's cooling solution, the WinFast A300 Ultra MyViVo still manages to take up two slots, as the fans extended down into the first PCI slot, preventing it from being used.
Underneath the outer casing, Leadtek has placed a fairly large copper heatsink over the core and top memory chip, with a thin layer of thermal grease in between. On the backside of the board the memory chips touch the outer aluminum casing by way of a thick thermal pad. As far as noise is concerned, the card is much quieter than the GeForce FX 5800 Ultra reference board, but still could be considered loud. In 2D mode the card is no louder than most high end cards, and in some cases, is even a little quieter. In 3D mode the fans spin up considerably, but are not as whiny, or unbearable as the NVIDIA Flow-FX.
The Leadtek 5800 Ultra came with 128-MB of 2ns DDR-II RAM, and the card is clocked at 300MHz core and 600MHz memory when in 2D mode. In 3D mode the card accelerates to 500MHz core and 1000MHz memory, more than fast enough to require the two fans to kick into high gear. Leadtek's cooling solution worked quite well, and after hours of testing stayed within acceptable temperature ranges and did not overheat. The card also requires an external 4-pin molex style power connection as the AGP slot cannot supply the voltage required to run the card properly.
The retail bundle that Leadtek includes with the WinFast A300 Ultra MyViVo is impressive. Just as the "MyVIVO" name on the box suggests, this card comes bundled with all you need to import and export video. Inside the box you will find a blue cable with composite and S-Video in and out. Leadtek also included a DVI-to-DB15 adapter as well as a molex power splitter, and both S-Video and composite cables.
Following the VIVO theme Leadtek also included ULead Video studio SE DVD, WinFast PVR and Cool 3D SE software programs, in addition to the Leadtek-branded WinFastDVD, WinFox II and Coloreal Embedded, Visual and Bright. Leadtek has also included two games, Gun Metal and the aptly-named Big Mutha Truckers.