When it comes to personal computers, wireless technology features in many external peripherals – mouses, keyboards and gamepads are all racing to ditch the wire. Monitors on the other hand have been sentenced to life tied to copper chain, anchored by the very GPUs that power them.
Galaxy envisions a future without cables by using a wireless technology called WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface), utilising the 40MHz channel of the 5GHz frequency band. This achieves throughput of up to 3Gb/s – enough for uncompressed 1080p transmission. The WHDI Consortium claims this technology can transmit a signal successfully over 30m through walls. Naturally, this is subject to change if you live in a Faraday cage. Professional gamers, and those who aspire to the title, should find comfort in the fact that this technology has an insignificant <1ms latency.
Signals sent by the GPU are processed by a small glossy black receiver unit which offers HDMI output. An 2m HDMI cable is provided in addition to a DVI to D-SUB adapter for direct connection to the GPU. Ports on the GPU are limited to a single dual-link DVI and HDMI connection.
Mini-USB ports on both the GPU and receiver unit enable firmware upgrades of the WHDI chip. An awesome extra feature on the receiver unit is the ability to use the Mini-USB port to remotely control a PC via a keyboard/mouse. Nifty!
Powering this GPU is the well known GF104 core, a cut down, cooler, and more efficient version of the Fermi GF100 core. Galaxy have left the clock rate of the core and memory at stock settings, leaving us free to tweak to our heart’s content.
And tweak we did! Afterburner was fired up and we promptly raised the clock rate of the core to 730MHz. Achieving a stable result, we pushed onto 800MHz, only to settle for 816MHz after a few rounds of testing and tweaking. To maintain stability we raised the voltage by 50mV. Memory was modified from 1800MHz to a not so humble 2190MHz for an effective clock of 4380MHz!
The cooler has been customised to facilitate the longer-than-reference card, and features a bare metal cover which we expect helps to shield the transmitter within. The single fan dual slot design ensures the card stays cool under load, even with our hefty overclock.
Noise levels were as tame as circus elephants; the non trumpeting, stampeding, and vengeful kind, luckily. The midrange GTX 460 produced 51dB of noise at idle, with temperatures approaching 29c. Under load we were subject to temperatures of 62c and a noise level of 62.2dB – hardly loud for a single fan design.
Final performance figures were impressive with significant gains had from our overclocking run. Unigine has its frame rate bolstered by 19 per cent with and without tessellation enabled, while Vantage shared the sentiment with a 19 per cent performance score advantage. Meanwhile, in the real-world, the magic 19 per cent figure made an encore in Crysis average and maximum FPS, only to be outpaced by a 21 per cent growth in minimum FPS. Lost Planet spoilt the fun with an ‘A for effort’ 14 per cent increase.
Unfortunately, Galaxy did not provide a power adapter for the receiver unit. Picture a child who’s had their candy taken away. Now, picture that same child with an empty icecream cone, the contents of which has fallen victim to gravity’s wrath. That hypothetical child is us right now. Rest assured that we’ll be testing the WHDI aspect as soon as we secure an adapter, because when we requested one, we also learnt that Galaxy doesn’t actually supply one for the Australian market, and the 5V/2A voltage might cause trouble. You’ve been warned!
In the end, this card is a regular GTX 460 with added wireless capabilities. At this stage we’re not sure how much this interesting beast will cost, so it’s difficult to tell where it will sits in the market – being a new technology, it probably won’t be cheap. However, if that early adopters tax isn’t too hefty, we believe WHDI has a great future ahead of it. Adios, cables!