Encore G3 500
The card comes in
a box containing CPU card in a foam pad and antistatic bag, a "powered
by Sonnet" label to stick on the case and a big and detailed printed
Special about Sonnet's CPU upgrades is that they automatically detect which bus speed is used, and then set their internal multipliers in order to match the speed they were designed for. That means that you'll never have to tamper with jumpers or dip switches, which is great for lay persons, but on the other hand also inhibits you of overclocking the card without upping the system bus speed. The latter being a rather frustrating thing, as it won't work, because the jump is too high for the CPU to still run properly. That virtually makes the Sonnet upgrades "non-overclockable".
The hardware is very
clean and carefully made, but also has this extra bulk
block and the short pins we know from the Met@box upgrades. However,
the pins are gold coated and the hardware doesn't look cheap, which it
isn't either. What made me wonder a bit is that the cards come pressed
into a tough foam pad. Releasing the chip from this pad requires quite
a lot of strength,which is a bit dangerous given the pins are so fragile.
The G3 upgrade doesn't require any software as far as I've seen, at least there was no CD-ROM in the package, and the upgrade ran fine in both machines without any extensions. This is definitely a plus, because it makes the card as stable as it can be.
Since this card can't be overclocked,
there is nothing to report on overclockability.
Overall also a very positive impression, no software, good performance and a nice and well structured manual. Very nice.