I thought the 8800 was quite a big card. I’ve had a couple of them, and they seemed to get a little stockier each time, such that the term ‘card’ seemed a little disingenuous - ‘brick’ would have been a more accurate term. A beautiful looking brick admittedly, shiny and black and with Lambourghini-esque tailorings, but still more cuboid than you might ideally desire.
However, due to the near insatiable demands of a project I’m working on at the moment, the second-generation 8800 GTS that has sat in my main dev machine for all of about 2 months has now been replaced again, this time with a shiny new 9800 GX2. And boy, this sucker is big - a good 1.5 inches longer than the 8800 GTS, and even more brick-like. I almost couldn’t stop myself humming Strauss to myself as I took it out of the box. My case isn’t what I would consider small, but if it had been literally 1mm shorter, this beast would not have fitted - as it is, the back of it is touching the edge of the lower drive bay, which I had to reorganise a bit to ensure adequate airflow, such that either the GX2 or the drive bay has to be inserted / removed precisely vertically to avoid the sort of grinding that makes you wince when you’re dealing with several hundred quids worth of electronics.
Being basically 2 cards glued together, it also requires 2 dedicated power connections too, one 8-pin and one 6-pin. Thank goodness for the new modular PSU I bought a couple of months back!
Despite dominating the inside of my case like an ominous black tombstone, once everything was back together I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t really notice any noise difference. Or maybe I’m just deaf to fan noise by now, having sat next to several whirring boxes for far too long. It’s given me a nice hefty speed boost though, clocking in at just over double the speed of the previous card in the most favourable of cases. As Vader would say: impressive.