GeForce 8800 GT Performance Preview
It’s raining games!
Fellow gamers, it’s time to man up, because we’re quickly approaching crunch time. We highly suggest you stock up on BAWLS, Red Bull, coffee, or whatever it takes to keep your juices flowing so you can get up for work or school, because for the next few weeks you will be spending many a night gaming into the wee hours of the morning.
We’ve already been hit by the first wave of games. This included DX10 titles like World in Conflict and BioShock, while fans of WW2 were treated to Medal of Honor: Airborne. The second wave of games is wrapping up now and was definitely more extensive; games in this wave include Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, CoH: Opposing Fronts, Clive Barker’s Jericho, Flight Simulator X: Acceleration, and then Valve gave us a real workout with 3 games at once: Half-Life 2 Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2! Later this week the second wave will finish up with games like Hellgate: London, Tabula Rasa, The Witcher, and Timeshift.
It’s the third and final wave that will probably blow your mind though. This November we’ll see the release of multiple blockbuster titles that would normally command all the attention and sales in a given year, all released in a span of just a couple of weeks. Games like Call of Duty 4, Gears of War PC, Unreal Tournament 3, and of course you can’t forget the 800-lb gorilla everyone’s been buzzing about named Crysis. We’ve included benchmarks with the Crysis demo in this article and believe us folks, this game in particular can bring your system to its knees if you go overboard with the graphical eye candy!
So with all these great new games coming out and tech deals for the holidays starting to kick in, naturally there’s going to be a huge wave of gamers and hardware enthusiasts looking to upgrade in the coming days and weeks. AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA all plan on releasing new products to cater to this crowd, but it’s NVIDIA’s brand new GeForce 8800 GT that we’re here to talk about today.
Taking over the mainstream: the GeForce 8800 GT
Prior to the release of the GeForce 8800 GT, the GeForce 8600 GTS and 8600 GT took on the brunt of the work in the mainstream segment, and while NVIDIA’s 8600 GPUs were competent performers in comparison to the competition from AMD, neither card really captured the hearts and minds of gamers in the market for a $150-$200 video card who follow this website; many of you guys continually slammed the 8600s and Radeon 2600s for their lack of performance in comparison to their predecessors the GeForce 7900 GS/7950 GT and the Radeon X1950 Pro.
As you correctly pointed out, these mainstream DX10 cards often performed slower than their DX9 predecessors in the games that were out at the time (most of which were DX9 titles), yet they also didn’t have the shading horsepower necessary to deliver good frame rates in DX10 games either. Knowing this, many gamers and hardware enthusiasts decided to pick up X1950 Pro and 7950 GT cards instead of upgrading to the 8600 and 2600 cards that were available, or, if they had a little extra money to spare, they opted to get a GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB.
Priced at an MSRP of $299, the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB has been a very popular upgrade for enthusiasts who want to really crank up the eye candy and still get respectable performance. In newer titles though like World in Conflict and BioShock with 4xAA we’ve begun to see the limitations of the card’s 320MB frame buffer, particularly as you crank up the screen resolution. In these cases the card’s memory subsystem becomes a bottleneck – it just doesn’t have enough onboard memory to load everything and frame rates begin to become choppy as a result.
To service this segment of the mainstream market, NVIDIA has come up with a brand new card based on their equally new 65-nm G92 GPU. G92 is based largely on the G80 GPU found inside the GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS, only NVIDIA has implemented a number of improvements.