Turn off the Ad Banner  

To print: Select File and then Print from your browser's menu.

    -----------------------------------------------
This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
-----------------------------------------------


Appeared on: Monday, November 19, 2007
Nvidia 8800GT


1. Features

Nvidia has been introducing affordable products for medium range users for sometime now. The GS and GT series represent the vision of Nvidia towards good performance and a price that will please most users. Recently, Nvidia introduced its latest creation, the 8800GT series, which promises to rock your gaming world. The GeForce 8800 GT was announced on October 29th by Nvidia as an answer to enthusiast gamers demands for high-performance graphics.

The recently released DirectX10 games Crysis, Hellgate: London, and Gears of War really need a powerful GPU, which Nvidia now offers at the $199 - $259 price range. The new 8800GT series include 112 stream processors and a 256-bit frame buffer interface running at 900MHz, while Nvidia has revised the PureVideo HD engine that promises even better Blu-ray and HD-DVD movie picture quality than the previous generation.

Lastly, it is PCI Express 2.0 bus architecture certified, even though not many motherboards on the market currently support this new interface. Below is a table that illustrates the major features of the various 8800 models in terms of core/shader/memory clocks and interface bandwidth.

  Core Clock (MHz) Shader Clock (MHz) Memory Clock (MHz) Memory Amount Memory Interface Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec)
GeForce
8800 Ultra
612 1500 1080 768MB 384-bit 103.7 39.2
GeForce
8800 GTX
575 1350 900 768MB 384-bit 86.4 36.8
GeForce
8800 GT
600 1500 900 512MB 256-bit 57.6 33.6
GeForce
8800 GTS
500 1200 800 640MB or
320MB
320-bit 64 24
GeForce
8600 GTS
675 1450 1000 256MB 128-bit 32 10.8
GeForce
8600 GT
540 1190 700 256MB 128-bit 22.4 8.64
GeForce
8500 GT
450 900 400 256MB 128-bit 12.8 3.6
GeForce
8400 GS
450 900 400 256MB 64-bit 6.4 3.6

The GeForce 8800GT comes with a blazing 600MHz core, 1500MHz shader and 900MHz memory clocks that place it above the 8800GTS series. Moreover, it has 512MB of on-board memory with 256 bits of bandwidth.

The test results should be very interesting, especially since for the first time, Nvidia releases a low priced product with high performance. At this point, we have in our labs two graphics cards based on Nvidia's 8800GT, clocked at higher speeds, and of course higher performance. The Inno3D 8800GT and XFX 8800GT, both OC editions. First, let's meet the Inno3D 8800GT OC edition.


2. Inno3D 8800GT OC Edition

Inno3D introduces its own proposal based on the Nvidia 8800GT, the Inno3D 8800GT Overclock Edition. This card features 512MB of memory, a core clock of 650MHz and a memory frequency of 1.90GHz, which is higher than what "generic" 8800GT cards offer. The retail package has all the certified logos. Unfortunately we can't give you a retail price at the time this review is being written, since it may change by the time the product hits the market...

The Inno3D 8800GT OC edition comes bundled with Tomb Raider Anniversary Edition computer game. You will notice the additional "Overclock" logo on the top left corner of the box.

Everything is well packaged:

While all the usual goodies are present, we noticed that there was only one DVI-D to D-Sub adapter, when usually other manufacturers include two. In case your power supply doesn't include a six pin PCI-e molex connector, Inno3D has included one.

The Inno3D 8800GT OC edition comes with a shiny black cooler shell, that distinguishes it from Nvidia's generic design. Of course, the board design comes from Nvidia with a single slot cooler solution. The graphics card is 23cm in length, so be careful, there might be some issues with crammed cases.

.

SLI is possible with the Inno3D 8800GT OC edition...

After installing the graphics card, we can find more details about its main features and specifications. The CPU core runs at 650MHz, that's 50MHz higher than the generic Nvidia 8800GT card. The memory is also boosted up to 950MHz (+50MHz), while the Shader clock is rated at 1690MHz (+190MHz). We are curious to see how fast this card can go, especially with the newest gaming titles...

- Full specification

Graphics Engine
GeForce™ 8800GT
Video Memory
512MB GDDR3
Engine Clock
650MHz
Memory Clock
1.90GHz (2x950MHz DDR3)
Memory Interface
256-bit
Max Resolution
2048 X 1536
Bus Standard
PCI Express x16
HDTV Output
Yes, S-Video to HDTV Out
VGA Output
Yes, With DVI-VGA adaptor
TV Output
Yes, S-Video to Composite
Dual DVI Output
Yes
Adapter/Cable Bundled
1x DVI to VGA adapter
1x HDTV-OUT adaptor
Software Bundled

1x CD-ROM (Tomb Raider Anniversary)
1x CD-ROM (Utilities & Driver)


3. XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition

XFX is a well known Nvidia partner that puts the emphasis in manufacturing extreme products. In other words, it offers products with greater performance than other manufacturers. The XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition comes with 512MB of memory, a core clock of 670MHz and a memory frequency of 1.950GHz, which is higher than the "generic" 8800GT card. The retail package is, as always, impressive and unique. Unfortunately, we can't give you a retail price at the time this review is being written since it may change by the time the product hits the market...

The XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition comes bundled with Company Of Heroes RTS full game. Everything is well packaged

We found the XFX retail package to be slightly more complete than that of the Inno3D, mainly because it includes the extra DVI-D adapter and the doorknob hanger "I'm Gaming Do Not Disturb" :-):

As with the Inno3D, the XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition follows the Nvidia reference design with a different external shell, in order to distinguish it from other 8800GT cards. The graphics card is 23cm in length so as with the Inno3D card, be careful with crammed cases.

.

SLI is possible with an extra XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition...

After installing the graphics card, we can take a look at its main features and specifications. The CPU core runs at 670MHz, that's 20MHz higher than Inno3D 8800GT, while the memory clock is also higher by 20MHz than Inno3D's 8800GT card at 975MHz. We don't know if the extra 20MHz will give a noticable performance boost, this will be seen later on, in our gaming tests....

- Full specifications

Graphics Engine
GeForce™ 8800GT
Video Memory
512MB GDDR3
Engine Clock
670MHz
Memory Clock
1.950GHz (2x970MHz DDR3)
Memory Interface
256-bit
Max Resolution
2048 X 1536
Bus Standard
PCI Express x16
HDTV Output
Yes, S-Video to HDTV Out
VGA Output
Yes, With DVI-VGA adaptor
TV Output
Yes, S-Video to Composite
Dual DVI Output
Yes
Adapter/Cable Bundled
2x DVI to VGA adapter
1x HDTV-OUT adaptor
Software Bundled

1x CD-ROM (Company Of Heroes)
1x CD-ROM (Utilities & Driver)


4. Tests and setup

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 anti-aliasing, even with a single card:

While for SLI, we have more anti-aliasing modes:

We used several games and applications to evaluate each VGA card's performance. We will separate them into two categories:

DirectX 9

DirectX10


5. Testbed DirectX9, DirectX10

- Testbed DirectX9

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

Here, we left all settings at default:

For all tests, we used the retail version with the v1.08 patch applied. We maxed all details for processor, and disabled Soft Shadows. AA/AF were set according to each test.

We used the retail version with the v1.2.0 patch applied. For all tests we used hocbench with Guru3D timedemo.

COF offers a built-in benchmark that was used to measure the performance of each graphics card. All visual quality settings are maxed out:

In order to benchmark the graphics cards, we used the Demo version that includes a "Performance Test" function. There are two test results from two different animated courses, which are reported as "Snow" and "Cave":

We used the following visual settings for all tests:

We set maximum details under game preferences:

and used the Unreal Tournament III benchmark utility to measure the performance of each graphics card in several timedemos. Note that bSmoothFrameRate was set to FALSE to disable frame-rate smoothing/ limiting.:

We used the built-in benchmark and all details are set to HIGH

- Testbed DirectX10

We used the built-in benchmark and maxed out the shadows quality.


6. Hall of fame

Before starting our tests, let's find out what we should expect from the new Nvidia 8800GT series. Ok, the scores are really impressive for a graphics card priced so low, compared with other Nvidia beasts like the 8800GTS and even the 8800GTX. With 3D Mark 05, both cards were very close, with a difference of only 2 marks. The 8800GT SLI combination, doesn't seem to really boost the 3D Mark 05 scores.

Passing on to 3D Mark 06, the Gainward 8800GTS 320 SLI combination produced a higher score, while the two 8800GT cards had a slight performance difference compared to 3D Mark 05.


7. Scalability AA/AF

The Nvidia 8800GT promises high frame rates, even when AA/AF is enabled. How well does this card can perform at 16xQ AA? First, let's see how F.E.A.R. performance is affected after enabling anti-aliasing and Anisotropic filtering.

As expected, the Gainward 8800GTX seems to have the better performance, from 2xAA to 16xAA. However, we see that the XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition is really fast without any AA/AF mode enabled. The Inno3D card, after 2x AA, follows very close behind with a difference of only 1-2 FPS. The Gainward 8800GTS GS 320 falls behind as seen in the graph bellow:

Moving on to the SLI configuration, the performance is almost a flat line up to AF/8xAA for the 8800GT combination. There is no competition for that little beast...

In Prey, we see that the Gainward 8800GTX has a steady drop through the various AA/AF rendering modes. What we noticed is that at 2xAA, both 8800GT cards performed lower than at 4xAA. We can't be sure if that's a driver bug or simply a problem in the benchmark algorithm. In any case, we can see that both 8800GT cards have similar performance.

The same behavior is noticed in SLI mode, where the 8800GT graphics cards performed lower at 2xAA than at 4xAA. The 8800GT SLI combination is faster than a 8800GTS 320 SLI combination.

More demanding games with more details might prove harder to play, if you decide to enable anti aliasing. Company Of Heroes, after 2x AA, stretches system resources enough, even though the game is a RTS, so users might want to avoid enabling AA, unless they're equipped with an Nvidia 8800GT graphics card. The performance until 4x AA was really good with almost 65FPS. In case you enable SLI, the performance, even at 8xQAA mode, is above 40FPS! Very impressive...


8. Results DirectX9

We have seen that the 8800GT cards performed very well under various games. Let's now see how well the cards handle the newest released games, like Crysis. The Crysis demo showed that even with all details set at HIGH, the game is playable at 1280x1024, without of course any AA/AF enabled. Both cards had almost the same performance. Rather interesting is that the 8800GT SLI performed worse than a single 8800GT card. We assume that this issue comes from the beta driver that we've used to test the graphics cards.

In Half Life 2 Episode 2, without any AA mode enabled, the 8800GT cards produced almost twice the framerate of the 8600GTS cards...

In Lost Planet, the 8800GT SLI showed very good performance, reaching 127FPS average performance. However, no AA mode is enabled so visual quality is considered as average. In the cave test, all cards performed equally well.

Lastly, Unreal Tournament 3 was very playable with an average of 80FPS in all the benchmarks. Again, the 8800GT SLI setup didn't produce very good performance. We maintain the assumption that this problem is due to Nvidia's beta drivers.


9. Results DirectX10

Moving on to DX10 and VISTA (32bit), we maxed all possible visual details for all tested games. This way, we can determine if a graphics card can be used for high quality gaming and therefore greater gaming experience. Starting with Company Of Heroes, under D3D10 shaders, the game is really stunning. We saw that the 8600GTS cards can't get above 17FPS. However, both 8800GT graphics cards had more or less the same performance. Enabling SLI mode didn't show any major increase in performance as we had expected, only a mere 3FPS.

Call Of Juarez is one of the first titles with full DX10 support. The Benchmark gives rather low frame rates with all cards. The two 8800GT cards had similar performance, but enabling SLI really gives a boost in framerate.

Under VISTA and DX10, users can enable Very High details for Crysis. This also implies a massive performance hit, since most cards performed 50% below to what we got with the DX9 benchmarks when all details are set to HIGH. The 8800GT cards produced similar performance, but we can't consider 19.36FPS good performance for a 3D FPS game... Again, SLI does help slightly, but adds only 2FPS...

Lastly, Lost Planet is also affected when all details are maxed out. The HDR and high details mode are playable with the 8800GT cards, and this time with SLI you can experience much higher speeds.


10. Overclocking/Noise/Heat

Both the Inno3D 8800GT OC Edition and the XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition are already overclocked. That doesn't mean you can't give them a further boost. The easiest way to do so, is by using RivaTuner. We managed to get a 700/1790/1000 (core/shader/memory) stable system with 3D Mark 06. However, with the Crysis benchmark, the system froze, always.

Looking through the various forums, we did see various, successful attempts reaching up to 758 / 1880 / 1040. However, we suspect that this requires a BIOS flashing and the installation of a more advanced cooling system, which most users don't have in mind when buying a new graphics card.

The temperatures of the core/memory/shaders is an issue with the 8800GT series due to the single slot cooling system. While running the Crysis benchmark, we used Everest Ultimate Edition 2007 and got the lowest/average/highest temperatures for various PC components as follows:

The GPU core under full load reaches 75° Celsius, which is really high. Because our testing time durations are relatively short in comparison with say a 2 hour marathon game session, we didn't encounter any real problems with the stock cooling system as provided on both the Inno3D and XFX graphics cards. But experienced users and certainly those who want to perform overclocking, will require something extra in terms of cooling. Lastly, the noise levels were measured with a Precision Gold N09AQ environment meter and showed at full fan speed, 62dB, at idle 44dB, while at full load 51dB. The resulting noise levels can be characterized as moderate.


11. Summary

Today we examined the first two 8800GT based graphics cards from Inno3D and XFX. We were curious to see what level of graphics performance both cards could deliver, especially with the latest games, such as Crysis, UT3 and Lost Planet. Nvidia and its partners advertise the newly introduced 8800GT series as the perfect solution for "awesome power" at "awesome price", and to be honest, you should believe them. The Nvidia 8800GT series, judging from our test results, easily surpassed the 8800GTS 320/640 products and came dangerously close to reaching the performance of the 8800GTX series. Without enabling anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing, your frame rates should be very high, even higher than with an 8800GTX. Of course, as AA increases, performance drops, but not to the point where you should be disappointed from this purchase.

The Inno3D 8800GT OC Edition the XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog Edition, are essentially similar graphics cards with the same specifications but with different clock speeds. The XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog is clocked 20MHz higher in both core and memory, compared with the Inno3D 8800GT OC. That provided a slight advantage in most of our tests. However, there is no significant performance difference, even with AA/AF enabled or at the various screen resolutions.

The retail packages are both very good, but we found the XFX solution to be more complete and with a retail game that better suited our needs. But that's purely a matter of taste.

So, if the performance is more or less the same, retail package is a matter of preference, who wins this roundup? I would call this a tie... What is probably the most interesting factor, is the retail price, but we don't want to provide misleading retail prices that will soon drop. There may also be an availability issue with the "Overclocked" editions for both the Inno3D and XFX cards. So, by the time this review goes to air and prices will have settled, take a visit to your local store to get an idea of the retail price for both products.

In any case, we feel that the Nvidia 8800GT is an awesome product at a hopefully good price for medium to power users. If we have to complain about something, it would be the cooling solution, which doesn't keep the core very cool, and nVidia's drivers... They do need extra work to unleash the power of two paired 8800GT cards in SLI.

Concluding this review, we highly recommend the Nvidia 8800GT card to anyone who wants to upgrade their system and gain in both performance and money.

- Positive

- Negative



Home | News | All News | Reviews | Articles | Guides | Download | Expert Area | Forum | Site Info
Site best viewed at 1024x768+ - CDRINFO.COM 1998-2014 - All rights reserved -
Privacy policy - Contact Us .