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Appeared on: Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Gainward 8800GTS GS


1. Introduction

- Geforce 8800 series

Redefine your gaming reality with NVIDIA® SLI™-Ready GeForce® 8800 graphics processing units (GPUs). The world’s first DirectX® 10 GPUs feature a powerful unified architecture that delivers an incredibly true-to-life gaming experience. Power through games at record speeds. Charge through game maps with vividly realistic, sun-up to sun-down HDR lighting effects while steering clear of mind-blowing physics effects such as explosions, fire, and smoke. Crank up 16x full-screen anti-aliasing without missing a beat – no jaggies, no worries. And when you’re not pwning the enemy, relax to your favorite movies on HD DVD or Blu-ray™ disk with NVIDIA PureVideo™ HD technology.

Available Models: GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS

 
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 8800 GTS
Stream Processors
128
96
Core Clock (MHz)
575
500
Shader Clock (MHz)
1350
1200
Memory Clock (MHz)
900
800
Memory Amount
768MB
640MB
Memory Interface
384-bit
320-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)
86.4
64
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec)
36.8
24

NVIDIA® unified architecture: Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.

GigaThread™ Technology: Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10 Support: World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology: Delivers up to 2x the performance of a single graphics card configuration for unequaled gaming experiences by allowing two graphics cards to run in parallel. The must-have feature for performance PCI Express® graphics, SLI dramatically scales performance on today's hottest games.

NVIDIA® Lumenex™ Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy with ultra-fast frame rates:

NVIDIA® Quantum Effects™ Technology: Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU-all the while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA® ForceWare® Unified Driver Architecture (UDA): Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience for every user and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce® GPUs.

OpenGL® 2.0 Optimizations and Support: Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA® nView® Multi-Display Technology: Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support: Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs: Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates-up to 2048x1536@85Hz.

Dual Dual-link DVI Support: Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.

Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista™: NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface, included in the upcoming operating system (OS) from Microsoft.

NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Technology: The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
NVIDIA PureVideo is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.

Hardware Decode Acceleration:
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.

HDCP Capable:
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:

Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.

High-Quality Scaling:
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.

Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video, providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.

Bad Edit Correction:
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadence. PureVideo uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.

Noise Reduction:
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.

Edge Enhancement:
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.

Below is a table illustrating the major product specifications between Nvidia 8800 and 7700 series and of course ATI's X1950XT series.

 
8800GTX
8800GTS
7950 GX2
7900GTX
X1950XT
GPU
G80
G80
2x G71
G71
R580
Fabrication Process
90 nm
Texturing units
32
24
48
24
16
ROPs
64
48
48
24
16
GPU Frequency (MHz)
575
500
500
650
650
Shader Cores freq. (MHz)
1350
1200
500
650
650
DDR Frequency (MHz)
900
800
600
800
1000
Memory (MB)
768
620
512
512
512
Memory Bus (Bits)
384
320
512
256
256
Fillrate (Mpixels/s)
13800
10000
16000
10400
10400
Memory BW (GB/s)
80.5
59.6
71.5
47.7
59.6
Shader Model
4.0
3.0
HDR + AA
Yes
No
Yes
Price (€)
650
450
450
400
450

Without a doubt, Nvidia's 8800 series is the most advanced GPU currently being sold on the market for the PC. The price of the 8800GTX reaches €650 and is aimed at the more experienced and enthusiast users. The system requirements haven't changed much. You need at least a 600W power supply in order to drive the 8800 series:

1. Microsoft Windows® 2000/XP
2. A PCI-Express compliant motherboard with full size expansion slot
3. Installation requires CD-ROM or DVD-Rom drive
4. A 6-pin PCI Express supplementary power connector
5. DVI or VGA compatible monitor
6. Minimum of 500-600W Power Supply with a minimum of +12V @ 30A for all PC components in SLI mode


2. Retail Package

- Gainward BLISS 8800GTS GS 640MB Golden Sample

Gainward presents its proposal for the 8800 series platform. Powered by NVIDIA´s® GeForce® 8800GTS graphics processor unit (GPU), the BLISS 8800GTS 640TV DD is designed to deliver an incredibly realistic gaming experience, displaying 3D and HDR lighting effects as never seen or experienced before. With it´s 640MB/320bits high-speed memory, the BLISS 8800GTS offers a knock-out performance allowing gamers to blast through games at record breaking speeds.  

The BLISS 8800GTS 640MB comes with the logo "Golden Sample", indicating improved core/memory clocking over other manufacturers

"...Golden Sample products from Gainward offer a higher clocksetting than reference-design boards. That is the heart and soul of Gainward's Golden Sample. With some products this is achieved by using higher performing components than on the reference design boards and on other products the higher performance is achieved by using software utilities..."

Currently, Gainward has two variations of the 8800GTS series, with different core/memory clocks:

Model
Core
Memory
Other features
550 MHz
1.76 GHz
1,1ns DDR3
500 MHz
1.6 GHz
1,1ns DDR3

The fastest Gainward 8800GTS card you can buy, comes with 550MHz/1.76GHz clock speeds. For our tests, Gainward provided us with the "8293-BLISS 8800GTS GS 640MB Golden Sample" model. The card can be found online at a retail price of €430~460. The retail box has a unique design and includes the "Golden Sample" logo:

The retail package is complete with printed manual, drivers and cables:

In full, the retail package includes:

The card is mid-sized, so it should fit without problems in a mid ATX box. It occupies two of slot positions, one or the card and one for the cooling system which blows air out the the back. The cooling system covers both the memory banks and GPU core and in most cases is very quiet:

The card needs PCI-E power with at least a 600W SLI certified PSU if you decide to go SLI.

The card has two DVI-D outputs and one TV-out output. The photo below shows the rear connections available as well as the second slot position required by the cooling system which blows hot air out from the rear of the case:

On the rear we can see the board's model, Part No and Serial No:


3. Tests and setup

Using Everest Ultimate Edition 2006 we can see more details from the Gainward 8800GTS card:

All test were conducted with the same PC setup:

With the 8800 series, the 3D control panel has some minor changes. Users can now set the AA mode

and select up to 16x, even with a single card:

From our tests, the 16x setting seems to offer the same performance as 8x so the best possible AA mode is 16xQ. We used several games and applications to evaluate the card's performance:


4. Technology Demos

Nvidia, in order to demonstrate the power of 8800 series, has released three demos that use the full power of the GPU:

NVIDIA Demo: Adrianne

The Adrianne demo uses complex shading and deformation techniques typically reserved for offline-rendered animation. The GeForce 8800's unified shader architecture makes this possible by dynamically balancing any combination of vertex, geometry and pixel shading for maximum hardware acceleration. This same unified shader architecture works with all OpenGL, DirectX 9, and DirectX 10 titles.

Adrianne's skin shader is the most complex in the scene; 1,400 instructions per pixel, 15 render passes, five separate bump maps, and a complex, physically-based lighting model that simulates sub-surface scattering. The sub-surface scattering algorithm uses three separate skin layers and each layer has unique scattering properties. In addition to the skin, the hair shader is rendered with a complex anisotropic shader that simulates the highlight on the exterior of the hair and the highlight again as it is reflected and scattered through each shaft of hair.

The GeForce 8800 also enables more sophisticated GPU-accelerated character skinning, resulting in more life-like animations. Blendshapes, sculpt deformers, and skeletal-driven bump maps manipulate Adrianne's facial expressions and facilitate her body motions, including such details as Adrianne's shoulder blades moving beneath the skin of her back.

NVIDIA Demo: Box of Smoke

While we work on trapping an actual genie in a bottle, here's the next best thing - a box full of smoke. This demo not only shows the graphics horsepower of the GeForce 8800, but the computational horsepower as well. As you move the smoke generator within the box, the computational fluid dynamics simulation is being processed in real time on the GPU. Yes, all the Navier-Stokes equations associated with the smoke movement are being evaluated by the GPU!

This enables unprecedented performance for real-time fluid simulation. See how easily the smoke moves as you swirl the smoke generator.

Watch how vortices are generated as you quickly move the smoke ball through the volume. For a small surprise, press the "N" key to generate a familiar shape in the field of smoke. Hmmm, maybe there is a genie in there after all.

NVIDIA Demo: Froggy

Froggy is a bit high strung and loves nothing more than a deep-tissue massage for relaxation. Feel free to pull, slap, poke, prod and otherwise comfort him. You can even pull his eyelids if you think it'll help. (These massage techniques are not recommended for offline amphibians.)

The GeForce 8800's unified shader and our new streamout feature make all of this possible. The unified shader balances any combination of vertex, geometry and pixel shading for maximum hardware acceleration. This same unified shader architecture works with all OpenGL, DirectX 9, and DirectX 10 titles. Streamout allows the GPU to calculate the interactive, deforming skin of the frog. With older generation GPUs, this type of interactive GPU acceleration wasn't practical.

The skin shader is a modified version of the Adrianne skin shader with modified scattering properties derived from photos of real frog skin. The shader has high-detail bump and detail maps and a complex, physically-based lighting model that simulates sub-surface scattering.

In addition, the scene is rendered with high-quality supersampling for jaggy-free AA. Froggy's eyes are wet and shiny courtesy of a custom shader that raytraces the irises and simulates refraction. Froggy's world also includes dynamically-generated lights and shadows.


5. 3D Mark 05 / 3D Mark 06

3DMark®05 is best suited for the latest generation of DirectX®9.0 graphics cards. It is the first benchmark to require a DirectX9.0 compliant hardware with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher! By combining high quality 3D tests, CPU tests, feature tests, image quality tools, and much more, 3DMark05 is a premium benchmark for evaluating the latest generation of gaming hardware. 3DMark05 is the answer to the continuously growing challenge in benchmarking!

For all tests, we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as follows:

3D Mark 05 is a well known benchmark utility that represents the combination of CPU+VGA strength. Not only does Gainward's 8800GTS GS outperform the 7950GT card, it outperforms the 7950GT SLI combo!

 

- 3D Mark 06 v1.0.2

3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking and the latest version in the popular 3DMark series! 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, advanced SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Futuremark's exclusive Online ResultBrowser web service tracks and compares 3DMark06 scores. Again we left all settings at default:

In 3D Mark 06, the 8800GTS GS again shows that it is more powerful than a 7950GT SLI.


6. F.E.A.R.

The story begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound. The government responds by sending in Special Forces, but loses contact as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been literally torn apart. As part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats no one else can handle, your mission is simple: Eliminate the intruders at any cost. Determine the origin of the signal. And contain this crisis before it spirals out of control.

For all tests, we used the latest available patch which updates the game engine to v1.08. The game offers 1280x1024 resolution, which was used for all tests. We maxed all details for CPU and VGA card, except Soft Shadows and AA/AF. We used Nvidia's 3D Control panel to enable AA/AF as indicated in each graph.

Below are the results after running the built-in benchmark test:

F.E.A.R is a demanding game and the 8800GTS GS performed very well. It surpassed the 7950GT SLI by 2FPS and is almost 20FPS faster than a single 7950GT and 1950XTX VGA cards. In the next test, we take a look at how much of an impact enabling AA/AF has on each card:

Enabling AA/AF drops the performance of all tested cards. The 7950GT SLI combination is faster until the point where we enabled 6xAA. From that point on, the 8800GTS GS has a clear lead.


7. Prey

Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation going nowhere. His life changes when an otherworldly crisis forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and eventually his planet.

Prey is a serious, dark story, based on authentic Cherokee mythology. Themes of sacrifice, love and responsibility are explored and the story dives into emotional territory not yet explored by similar games. Prey is based on Quake 3 engine and for sure will keep you awake many nights...

We used the latest available patch which updated game engine to v1.2.0. For all tests, we used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options through a GUI. We used the built-in Guru3D timedemo and all results are posted below:

Without enabling AA/AF, the Gainward 8800GTS GS provided superb performance with 120FPS.

Enabling the various AA/AF rendering modes, we saw exactly the same behaviour as with F.E.A.R. The 8800GTS GS seems to have more power to handle 8xAA and even up to 16xQ AA, without suffering as great a performance hit.


8. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

A Japanese Information Defense Force is formed to help face modern threats. Deemed a violation of international law and of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, Korea and China become outraged.

Secretly, the head of the IDF begins launching information-warfare attacks against Japan and blaming the attacks on North Korea. When the U.S. intervenes, as they are obligated to under Article 9 of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, the U.S. is attacked as well, forcing North Korea to escalate the situation with a pre-emptive invasion of South Korea. As war erupts on the Korean Peninsula, Sam Fisher must thwart the alliance between the Japanese Admiral, a neurotic computer hacker, and the head of an international paramilitary company in order to prevent the rekindling of a massive world war in the Pacific.

The graphics engine supports Pixel Shader 1 and 3, HDR along with other new effects. We used hocbench which offers all benchmarking options from an easy to use GUI. We used the built-in "Guru3D 2" timedemo and all results are posted below, using SM1.1

The Gainward 8800GTS GS posts an impressive 121FPS, 8 frames per second more than the 7950GT SLI. Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory also supports Shader Model 3.0 that can be enabled easily from within hocbench:

SM3.0 offers much better visual details but at the cost of lower performance. Here, we saw that the 7950GT SLI was more powerful. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory doesn't offer AA/AF modes, but they can however be enabled from Nvidia's Forceware 3D Control panel.

Enabling AA/AF drops performance for all cards, except the Gainward 8800GTS GS. Remember that 8800 series can do HDR and AA at the same time, like the 1950XTX series. That's why the performance penalty for the 8800GTS GS was zero.


9. Half Life 2 Episode 1

The world of Half-Life 2 has amazed everyone with its great story, graphics and Valve's great support. Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first in a series of new adventures created by Valve that extend the Half-Life 2 single player experience. It details the aftermath of Half Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17.

Stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, you face the immediate repercussions of your actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Rejoin Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, to once again aid the human resistance in their desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.

Episode One exposes Alyx's combat skills and knowledge of City 17. Battle side-by-side with her through Valve's first episodic game, a four-to-six hour adventure of greater density and detail than non-episodic releases.

We recorded a timedemo and used the console to run a timedemo with each card. All tests were done at 1280x1024 with HDR shadows fully enabled. Antialiasing and Filtering modes were enabled from Nvidia's 3D control panel:

At 1280x1024, the Gainward 8800GTS GS outperformed all other cards, including the Asus EAX1950XTX, even if only by 3 FPS.

HDR Effects and AA/AF impact on the performance of all cards. With the highest possible visual quality settings enabled, the Gainward 8800GTS GS still manages to produce over 60FPS, making game-play really enjoyable.


10. Company Of Heroes

In Company of Heroes, gamers will experience the journey of the brave men of Able Company in a deep single-player campaign that begins with the invasion of Normandy through their fight across Europe, all set against the most dynamic battlefield ever seen in a game.

Company of Heroes' completely destructible environment means no two battles ever play out in the same way. Advanced squad AI delivers startling new realism and responsiveness, bringing soldiers to life as they interact with the environment and execute advanced squad tactics to eliminate the opposition forces.

The game offers impressive graphics, especially when all visual quality settings are maxed out.

We used the built-in benchmark for all tests, at 1280x1024 resolution. Since AA/AF cannot be set from within the game, we used Nvidia's 3D control panel for each mode. The built-in Antialiasing setting for Company Of Heroes has been disabled. Let's now see how each card performed in the Company Of Heroes benchmark with High Quality settings.

The Gainward 8800GTS GS again proved to be the more powerful, with 99 FPS.

After enabling AA/AF, the Gainward 8800GTS maintains its supremacy. What's interesting is that once AF/AA have been enabled, the 8800GTS hardly drops in performance regardless of whether AA is 2X or 16X.


11. BattleField 2142

The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The math is simple and brutal: The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players will choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival, the European Union or the newly formed Pan Asian Coalition.

Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech assault rifles, cloaking devices and sentry guns, players will also do battle using some of the most imposing vehicles known to man. Massive battle Mechs wage fierce combat on the ground, while futuristic aircraft rule the skies. When facing one of these new behemoths, players will need to use their wits and an arsenal of new countermeasures like EMP grenades to level the playing field.

Team play features allow up to 64 players to enter the action on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or work behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their teammates. With in-game success, players increase their rank and unlock awards, including new weapons, medals and more, delivering the most comprehensive and flexible persistence in the Battlefield universe to date.

In order to benchmark the graphics cards, we recorded our own timedemo using the built-in command (demo.recordDemo). We then used the Guru3D BF2 benchmark modified, in order to support BF 2142. We used the following quality settings. Anti-aliasing is disabled in the game, so we use Nvidia's 3D Control Panel to enable/disable the AA/AF rendering modes:

Note, that the 1280x1024 resolution is not supported in the game. However, it can be enabled from the command line. All tests were performed at the resolution of 1280x1024 with the default camera view. Since the game counts all frames, including loading screens, we have discarded them so that all measurements represent pure gaming experience. Let's now proceed to the first test results.

At 1280x1024, the Gainward 8800GTS GS was behind the 7950GT SLI.

Enabling AA/AF in Battlefield 2142, enhances visual quality and of course gaming experience. It's very interesting that as AA rises, the performance impact on the 7950GT SLI combo is far greater than on the 8800GTS GS which maintains its very good performance.


12. NFS Carbon

Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing and will challenge players to face the ultimate test of driving skill on treacherous canyon roads.

What starts in the city is settled in the canyons as Need for Speed Carbon immerses you into the world's most dangerous and adrenaline-filled form of street racing. You and your crew must race in an all-out war for the city, risking everything to take over your rivals' neighbourhoods one block at a time. As the police turn up the heat, the battle ultimately shifts to Carbon Canyon, where territories and reputations can be lost on every perilous curve.


Lets race...

Need for Speed Carbon delivers the next generation of customization giving you the power to design and tweak your crew's cars in every way using the ground-breaking new Autosculpt technology. Represent your car class, your crew, and your turf in Need for Speed Carbon, the next revolution in racing games.

In order to benchmark the graphics card, we created the same two rounds on the same track with the same car. Using FRAPS, we recorded all 2 minutes of driving.


Black and beautiful...

Keep in mind that all tests results were done with "Blur Effect" and "Rain" disabled, since enabling them gives a huge performance hit on all cards. In any case, all other detail settings are maxed out. As usual, AA/AF modes are set from Nvidia's 3D control panel.

Without enabling AA/AF, we can see the performance of each card at 1280x1024.

NFS Carbon is a game that performs better with ATI cards. The Gainward 8800GTS GS was the only Nvidia based card that reached the Asus EAX1950XTX.

Enabling AA/AF at NFS Carbon is...difficult for all VGA cards to handle. The Asus EAX1950XTX offers the best performance up until 4xAA. The Gainward 8800 GTS GS continues to perform very well, even at 8xQ AA, with 38FPS average.


13. NeverWinter Nights 2

Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war.

Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.

Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.

Under Game options, we maxed all available visual settings.

Anisotropic filtering was enabled from the "Advanced Graphics" tab, while Anti-aliasing modes were set using Nvidia's 3D control panel.

We saved a gave and then walked the exact same route (more or less), moving the camera a lot around the player. This is the worst a case scenario while playing. With FRAPS, we recorded two minutes of gameplay and got the lowest and average measurements.

NeverWinter Nights2 is a "tough" game with all visual improvements enabled. Gainward's 8800GTS GS showed superb performance with 55FPS average.

Antialiasing is not offered from within the game options. Using Nvidia's 3D control panel we enabled up to 16xQ AA. As we've seen so often up till now, the performance of Gainward's 8800GTS GS isn't as affected by AA as other cards.


14. Overclocking

There is always a way to improve the performance of your system through overclocking. The Gainward 8800GTS GS is already overclocked, compared with Nvidia's 8800GTS reference board, by 50MHz for Core and 80MHz for memory. We were curious to see if the card could handle even more overclocking. Using coolbits registry "hack", we enabled overclocking in Nvidia's control panel. We tried Ntune to find the optimal performance, but the system was halted every time we tried.

Our next try was with RivaTuner v2.00 Final, which was a success. Overclocking was selectable! Next step was the trial and error process - raise the frequency, run 3D Mark06 to stress test the VGA card and hope for a stable system. Our best efforts are shown below, with the stock clocks included for comparison:

VGA Card
Core
Memory
Stock
OC
% difference
Stock
OC
% difference
Gainward
8800GTS GS
550
644
17.09
880
1000
13.64

The Gainward 8800GTS GS proved to be highly overclockable.

We got a 17.09% improvement for the GPU core and 13.64% improvement for memory. Theoretically, the performance could be higher if a different cooling system is used. After setting the highest possible clocks, we ran a few tests to see if performance improved or not.

3D Mark05 and 3D Mark 06 benefited from the increase in GPU and Memory clocks. We tried several games and we also saw an increase in framerate. For example, Prey reached 105FPS (vs 90) with 4xAA/16xAF mode enabled. Lastly, we monitored the GPU temperature as reported by RivaTuner, when running a 3D Mark 05 score. Even when overclocking, the temperature didn't exceed 74°C, while at idle it was at 61°C. Without overclocking, the Gainward 8800GTS GS reaches 59°C.


15. Conclusion

Nvidia has announced the 8800series as having a major performance increase over the previous 7700 series and as the first DirectX10 compliant card. We were curious to see how much faster an 8800 series VGA card would be compared with previous generations and if it was worth upgrading, expecting major performance improvement. Looking at our test results, Gainward's 8800GTS GS card, was very fast, outperforming not only a single 7950GT card, or an ATI 1950XTX, but also the 7950GT SLI combination. In most cases, even enabling 16xQ AA mode did not produce that much of a performance hit. This card is definitely intended for high-resolution gaming and ultimate gaming experience. The card is HDCP enabled and NVidia is also shipping Vista drivers. The retail package for Gainward 8800GTS GS only includes what's necessary, so no retail game is bundled. As it stands now, and comparing all tested cards:

VGA Card
Price (€)
eVGA 7950GT KO
290~310
Asus EAX1950XTX
400~450
Gainward 8800GTS GS
430~460

The Gainward 8800GTS GS is a real value for money VGA card. Not only does it outperform the Asus EX1950XTX, which costs more or less the same amount of money, but it also surpasses in performance two eVGA 7950GT KO cards which cost more as well. You could also save a few bucks by buying the Gainward 8800GTS version, which costs almost €40 less. Overall a great performer and future proof VGA card for all types of users.

Performance
Overclocking
Bundle
Value for money



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