AOpen uses the stock cooling system that nVidia suggests for their reference boards. With this cooling solution, the cards will operate at 50°C in idle state and will rise up to 74°C at full load. The card gets pretty hot to touch, even in idle state. However, these high temperatures should not be of concern, since the chipsets can operate up to 115°C without risk or damage to the cards, even during overclocking.
On the back of the card, you can see only the metallic fan holder. The cooling system also covers the memory modules (8x32MB GDD3).
Although there are better cooling systems sold separately, there is a major advantage with the stock cooling solution that might prove to be handy for some users. It occupies only one PCI slot. Especially when you intend to use two cards in SLI mode and air flow is important, this might save you from a lot of trouble.
The metal fins are covered with the stylish red Aeolus logo. By removing this cover, you will see the fins that are used to transfer heat away from the board.
The device driver also provides control over the rotation speed of the fan. The card is very quiet in idle state and gets louder when running a game test, where more GPU power is needed. In any case, the cards together produced less noise than the two 6800Ultras (SLI mode) we tested some months ago.
Removing the cooling system will void your warranty, so we strongly advise against it. Instead, we provide you with some pictures taken of the GPU chipset, located below the fan.
The card is considerably longer than the 6800 cards. Even the AOpen 6800Ultra VGA card is smaller then the new 7800GTX. So, you should make some space in you PC case.
You can also download schematic diagrams that show the GPU architecture, single vertex shader pipeline, and single pixel shader pipeline.