GeForce 8800 GTX Roundup
It has nearly been a year since NVIDIA first unleashed the GeForce 8800 GTX on the world. With its completely redesigned G80 GPU, the GeForce 8800 GTX officially ushered in the DirectX 10 era of graphics, delivering not only shader model 4.0 and other next-gen features, but also performance that was simply groundbreaking: a single GeForce 8800 GTX card runs up to twice as fast as NVIDIA’s previous generation high-end graphics card, the GeForce 7900 GTX.
With so much power on hand, it goes without saying that the GeForce 8800 GTX was our top pick at the high-end of the graphics market when it was introduced, and it remains so today. If you’ve got $500+ earmarked for your next upgrade, there simply isn’t a better option than the GeForce 8800 GTX. Earlier this year NVIDIA dropped their “refresh” to the GeForce 8800 GTX on the market, the GeForce 8800 Ultra, but as we showed you in our GeForce 8800 Ultra Performance Preview article
, many factory overclocked GeForce 8800 GTX boards are capable of coming within a few ticks of the Ultra’s performance, and if you’re willing to spend some time with nTune or RivaTuner, you can get them even closer to the performance of an Ultra. (Wit overclocking, none of the GTX boards we tested today however were able to match the GeForce 8800 Ultra’s 1500MHz shader clock, so we’re pretty certain it will always remain NVIDIA’s fastest GeForce 8800 GPU.)
Picking the right GeForce 8800 GTX card though can be a daunting task. There are literally dozens of cards to choose from, all with different features and price points. In terms of board design and cooling, NVIDIA has pretty much locked down on board partners producing GeForce 8800 GTX cards, so there is very little variety here – all of NVIDIA’s board partners stick with the stock GeForce 8800 GTX board design and most rely on the stock dual-slot cooler as well – but there are quite a few other options you must consider when shopping for a GeForce 8800 GTX card, clock speeds being one of the most important ones. While many of NVIDIA’s board partners stick with the stock GeForce 8800 GTX clock speeds, there are also several boards shipping at clock speeds that are higher than stock. Game bundle (or not) and warranty are also important aspects you should consider when shopping for a new GeForce 8800 GTX card.
With all this in mind we’ve rounded up seven popular GeForce 8800 GTX cards from manufacturers ranging from ASUS to XFX. Hopefully this article will help guide you in the right direction when GeForce shopping.
The following chart summarizes the key features found in the cards represented in today’s article:
|GeForce 8800 GTX Comparison|
|Card||Graphics Core (MHz)||Stream Processors (MHz)||Memory Speed (MHz)||Game Bundle|
|Stock GeForce 8800 GTX||575||1350||1800||N/A|
|ASUS EN8800 GTX AquaTank||630||1458||2060||Ghost Recon, GTI Racing|
|EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3||626||1350||2000||Various|
|Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GTX TDH||575||1350||1800||SpellForce 2, Trackmania Nations|
|MSI NX8800 GTX-T2D768-HD OC||610||1350||2000||Company of Heroes|
|OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX||575||1350||1800||None|
|PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTX||575||1350||1800||None|
|XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition||630||1350||2000||None|
As you can see, the cards tested today ship with a variety of clock speeds. Some run at stock speeds, while others crank the performance up another notch with factory overclocking. Here we should also add that many of the manufacturers represented in today’s roundup offer multiple cards based on the GeForce 8800 GTX GPU. EVGA and XFX for instance offer three different GeForce 8800 GTX SKUs all with different clock speeds, while ASUS, MSI, and PNY offer two.
Based on the chart, it looks like NVIDIA locked all the early waves of GeForce 8800 GTX boards down to a max shader clock speed of 1350MHz, including the factory OC’ed boards, which have their stream processors clocked at that speed. Only the ASUS AquaTank (which hit the market a month after the first wave of factory OC’ed boards), runs its stream processors faster than 1350MHz, and even in its case the board’s stream processors run just 108MHz faster at 1458MHz, which is 42MHz shy of the GeForce 8800 Ultra’s 1.5GHz shaders. The GeForce 8800 Ultra also boasts a 612MHz core clock speed and 2.16GHz memory.