Summary: With Crysis, CoD 4, and Gears all being released this winter, you may be looking to upgrade shortly. In today's article we're comparing 7 different GeForce 8800 GTX cards worthy of your consideration, including a water-cooled card from ASUS. See how the boards compare to one another in this article!
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:
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.
With their latest Smart Doctor software, ASUS provides the ability to adjust the clock speed of the stream processors. Previously the clock speed of the stream processors was tied to GPU’s core clock speed – overclocking the graphics core of the GPU also overclocked the stream processors by a fixed ratio. NVIDIA promised they would add the ability to clock the stream processors independent of the graphics core into nTune, but so far this feature hasn’t surfaced. This gives ASUS a bit of an exclusive for the time being (the latest build of RivaTuner also supports independent clock speed adjustment for the stream processors as well).
ASUS’s EN8800 GTX AquaTank is quite unique. In a GTX market where practically everyone is using the same NVIDIA board design and cooling, the EN8800 GTX AquaTank really stands out!
ASUS has partnered with Thermaltake to produce the EN8800 GTX AquaTank. The card uses Thermaltake’s popular Tide Water liquid cooler to help keep the GPU cool. Inside the Tide Water cooler lies an all-copper radiator, water reservoir, 12V pump, and finally, a fan for supplying fresh air to the whole setup. So how does it all work?
The GeForce 8800 GPU is supplied with fresh, coolant water from one of the Tide Water’s two hoses. This coolant is directly responsible for cooling the GPU. This heated coolant is then passed back to the external Tide Water cooling enclosure (via the second rubber hose) where it’s cooled and then passed back to the GPU. This cycle is constantly running in motion, working to keep the graphics core cool. The 12V pump at the back of the Tide Water unit is responsible for keeping the coolant in motion, while the radiator works to keep the coolant cool. Heat from the coolant is transferred to the air via a radiator at the front of the Tide Water unit. The radiator is a large, all-copper unit, and is composed of numerous thin fins to increase its surface area. Finally, to help keep the radiator cool, a fan is used to pass fresh cool air from within your PC’s case over the radiator and its fins before the air exhausts outside your system’s case at the end of the card. The fan’s RPMs can be adjusted via a switch on the Tide Water cooling unit, two different modes are provided a “High” setting, and a “Low” setting.
The TideWater unit is good for 10,000 hours before its reservoir needs to be refilled with coolant. The back of the Tide Water cooler has a water line (next to the fill port), so you can keep track of once the reservoir needs to be refilled. A Molex connector is located on the back of the Tide Water unit in order to supply power to the Tide Water’s pump and fan.
The Tide Water cooling unit is quite large and will take up two slots within your case. Fortunately the hoses are long enough that you can place the Tide Water wherever you’d like: you don’t have to place it in the slots directly adjacent to your graphics card.
But the ASUS EN8800 GTX AquaTank is much more than just a GeForce 8800 GTX with a Tide Water unit installed. Besides the Tide Water cooling unit, you’ll also no doubt notice the heatsink/fan unit on the 8800 GTX card itself. ASUS actually goes one step beyond your typical Tide Water installation with this step.
The fan provides cool air to the copper water block itself, as well as the black aluminum heatsink which is responsible for keeping the board’s memory modules and power circuitry cool. Air from this fan is ducted, passing over the VRM, memory modules, and the G80’s external video chip, and then exits out the left side of the duct. It’s important to note that this hot air is not exhausted out the back of the case. The duct essentially stops short, it doesn’t extend all the way to the grille on the back plate of the graphics card. We should also note that this duct is tall enough to swallow the slot directly next to your graphics card, so this unit is a dual-slot cooler. The fan on the graphics card doesn’t draw power from the board, instead it has its own Molex connector. You’ll want to plug this Molex connector into the Tide Water Molex power connector, and then from there you’ll need a Molex from your system power supply to power both fans (if you don’t want to plug in the fan above the GPU, the ASUS card still functions fine although obviously it will run a little warmer). All told, the EN8800 GTX AquaTank will consume 4 slots total to fit within a case.
In use, the AquaTank system works quite well. We recorded the following temps (in degrees Celsius) with the ASUS AquaTank versus the XFX XXX, which is also factory overclocked:
All this cooling does come at a downside though: noise. At the “high” fan setting, the AquaTank generates 60 decibels of noise, and even at the stock “low” setting, the card is louder than any other GeForce 8800 GTX we’ve tested at 48 decibels. It isn’t unbearably loud considering the card has two fans, but it is noticeable nonetheless.
Besides its unique cooling, the other aspect of the AquaTank that stands out is its clock speeds. ASUS runs the board at 630MHz core/1458MHz shaders and 2.06GHz memory. This makes it the fastest card in this roundup, and one of the fastest GTX cards on the market.
EVGA is no stranger to a FiringSquad roundup, having submitting cards for our review for several years now. EVGA’s cards have proven quite popular among our readership thanks to several compelling features.
Arguably the most compelling feature EVGA provides on their cards is their lifetime warranty program. Once the end user registers their card on evga.com, the standard 1-year warranty is kicked up to a lifetime warranty: as long as you own the card, it is backed by EVGA’s warranty. The really nice part about EVGA’s warranty is that it covers modding. Say for instance you want to swap out your card’s stock cooling unit with a Zalman or Arctic Cooling Accelero. Under EVGA’s lifetime warranty program, you can replace your stock cooler without voiding the card’s warranty: as long as you don’t physically damage the card, EVGA will honor their lifetime warranty.
Another feature EVGA offers that’s proven popular with users is their Step Up upgrade program. With Step Up, you can trade in your existing EVGA graphics card for a faster EVGA model, provided the upgrade occurs within 90 days of the original card purchase. Say for instance you pick up a GeForce 8800 GTX today, and a month from now a faster card comes out. With EVGA’s Step Up program, you’ll get the full value of your original GTX card, so if you paid $500 for your old card and you want to upgrade to a $600 card, you merely pay the difference of $100. The only downside to Step Up is that you can only use it once, so you’ll have to choose when to use Step Up wisely. A lot of enthusiasts used Step Up last year to upgrade from the GeForce 7900 GT/GTO/GTX to the GeForce 8800 GTX. Considering that the 8800 GTX delivers a 2X performance increase over the 7900 GTX, upgrading in this fashion makes the most sense.
EVGA is also known for delivering excellent game bundles with their cards. EVGA does a really good job of keeping their game bundle up to date, offering newly released games as bundles rather than outdated games that are often a year old or more. Right now for instance EVGA is offering a free copy of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars with select EVGA graphics cards, including the GeForce 8800 GTX. We’re crossing our fingers that EVGA will have something similar for Crysis when it debuts in November.
The e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3 is one of EVGA’s higher-end GeForce 8800 GTX boards. As its name implies, the card is overclocked from the factory, running at 626MHz core and 1.0GHz memory (2.0GHz effective). This puts its clock speeds about on par with the other 1st generation factory overclocked GeForce 8800 GTX cards. Cooling duties are handled by a modified version of the stock NVIDIA reference heatsink/fan unit used by most of the other cards in this roundup. Normally we’re a little disappointed by the stock reference coolers designed by AMD and NVIDIA as they tend to pale in comparison to aftermarket units from the likes of Arctic Cooling and Zalman, but in the case of the stock GeForce 8800 GTX cooler we’re actually quite impressed with it. The dual-slot cooler does an effective job of keeping the GPU cool while generating next to no noise, and even exhausts hot air from the GPU out the back of your case. It’s certainly one of the better, if not the best, reference coolers ever devised.
For ACS3 cards EVGA adds a massive black duct enclosure to the top of the stock NVIDIA dual-slot heatsink/fan unit on the card. For added cooling, EVGA then finishes the KO ACS3 board with an aluminum heatsink which rests on the bottom of the card, directly underneath the GPU. This helps to keep board temps down, although it can lead to compatibility issues with some motherboards – if the North Bridge is located close to your PCI Express graphics slot, this heatsink can rub on the heatsink covering the North Bridge. Fortunately most Core 2 motherboards don’t suffer from this problem. It is an issue for AMD-based nForce 590 SLI motherboards like the ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe.
Hardware accessories bundled with the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3 include two DVI adapters, a component video cable, S-Video cable, and two power cables. We should also note that EVGA does not include Enemy Territory: Quake Wars inside the packaging of the ACS3 card. You must fill out this form in order to receive your copy of the game.
It’s been awhile since we last took a look at a GeForce card from Leadtek. Too long in fact. For those of you who may not be familiar with Leadtek’s products we’ll provide a quick refresher.
Back in the Riva TNT2/GeForce days, NVIDIA-based cards from third-party manufacturers were often criticized for their poor 2D display quality. While NVIDIA’s reference boards utilized high quality components and filters, third-party manufacturers utilized cheaper parts in order to cut costs. Consequently, as the screen resolution increased, signal strength decreased, resulting in blurry text and images.
This was less of a problem in the TNT and TNT2 days, when 14” and 15” monitors were most common; 17” was considered high-end and 640x480 and 800x600 were common desktop resolutions. But as technology progressed, CRTs became cheaper, 17” became mainstream, while 19” and 21” monitors could be found at good prices if you looked hard enough. Gamers and enthusiasts began to crank up their screen resolution only to discover that their shiny new GeForce or GeForce2 card didn’t look so good. ATI and Matrox cards provided excellent 2D output: even Voodoo3 and S3 Virge cards delivered better 2D displays than many NVIDIA-based cards!
In came Leadtek with its TDH series of GeForce cards. Not only did they resolve the problem, we actually found that their 2D quality was superior to that of Matrox’s G550 in our WinFast Titanium 500 TDH review.
That innovating spirit from Leadtek continues to this day. Leadtek’s WinFast PX8800 Ultra Leviathan is one of the most unique GeForce 8800 Ultra cards we’ve ever seen, it’s the only single-slot 8800 Ultra on the market. It accomplishes this with water cooling.
Like the ASUS AquaTank, the Leviathan has its own self-contained liquid cooling unit, although in this case it’s a much larger unit that attaches directly to the case itself. The Leviathan is also heavily overclocked, running at 684MHz core/1161MHz memory.
Leadtek isn’t reinventing the wheel with their GeForce 8800 GTX card. The card features the same NVIDIA reference board design and cooling as the other GeForce 8800 GTX cards in this article. Leadtek does however spruce their GTX board up by adding their own custom duct enclosure over the top of the stock NVIDIA cooling unit. The custom Leadtek duct has the same key task as the stock NVIDIA cooler: exhausting hot air from the GPU outside the system case.
Leadtek uses the exact same heatsink/fan unit (with the addition of heatpipes) as the other manufacturers though, so cooling performance is basically the same as the other GTX cards with the obvious addition of the fancier-looking duct enclosure.
If you don’t care for the custom Leadtek enclosure, Leadtek also produced a 100% bone stock GTX card that used the stock NVIDIA ducting enclosure. You may still be able to find a few of these boards floating around at the retail level. Both Leadtek GTX cards run at the stock GeForce 8800 GTX speeds of 575MHz core/1.8GHz memory.
MSI is probably best known for providing kickass game bundles with their graphics cards. Unlike many manufacturers who bundle outdated or unknown games that no one has heard of, MSI goes out of their way to bundle the best games with their graphics cards. This initiative started back in 2003 with their nBox game bundle. The NBox N5900 Ultra kicked things off by shipping with some of the best games released that year, including Battlefield 1942 and Command and Conquer: Generals. For cooling, the N5900 Ultra was equipped with two copper heatsink/fan units that ran quietly. The card even shipped with a USB mouse! It was quite a remarkable achievement that we’ll probably never see again unfortunately.
Since then MSI has remained at the top of their game when it comes to game bundles. AAA titles like Call of Duty and Far Cry have shipped with MSI cards in more recent years.
We’ve also been big fans of the cooling units MSI has integrated onto their cards. MSI was really the first manufacturer to emphasize near silent cooling across their entire of graphics cards. Back in the GeForce 4 days, their TOP Tech Cooling was legendary around here, with MSI cards taking home Editors Choice Awards from us. They even offered a line of GeForce 6800 and 7800 cards that featured variable speed fans that the end user could toggle with the flick of a switch.
MSI’s latest GeForce 8800 GTX card, the NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC, doesn’t ship with a fancy cooler, opting instead to use NVIDIA’s stock 8800 GTX heatsink/fan cooling unit, but the card does ship with a free copy of the game Company of Heroes, without a doubt the best RTS released in 2006. Graphically Company of Heroes also supports DirectX 10 furthering your investment in a DX10 card.
For added performance, like many other card manufacturers in this roundup, MSI has chosen to overclock their NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC board. The card runs at 610MHz on the GPU, while the board’s memory runs at 1.0GHz (2.0GHz effective). This provides a nice little boost in performance.
What’s really enticing about the NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC though is its price. This card is one of the least expensive GeForce 8800 GTX cards on the market right now. Newegg offers the card for just $509.99 right now, with a $20 mail-in rebate dropping the price to $489.99. This is a pretty sweet deal considering you’re also getting a copy of the game Company of Heroes.
In addition to the aforementioned game bundle, MSI also includes two DVI adapters, a component video cable, S-Video cable, and two power adapters with the NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC.
OCZ has made quite a name for themselves in the memory market. Their high-end memory modules are famous for hitting high clock speeds. For enthusiasts who prefer low timings over high speeds, they also make very popular low latency modules as well. And of course, OCZ was the first memory manufacturer to offer a special line of high voltage memory modules. OCZ initially partnered with DFI back in the nForce 4 days to offer their VX modules. These DDR memory modules were good for speeds of 500MHz with low timings of 2-2-2. For Athlon 64 enthusiasts, these modules were a godsend, they offered high speeds and low timings, provided you had a motherboard that was capable of supplying the memory modules with enough voltage.
OCZ’s products are also well known for their excellent lifetime warranty program. In fact, one feature that separates OCZ’s lifetime warranty from EVGA and XFX’s lifetime GeForce warranties is that you don’t have to register your card with OCZ to qualify for the lifetime warranty. As soon as you purchase the OCZ card, you’re good to go. Both EVGA and XFX require that you register your card on their website within 30 days of purchase; otherwise you’re stuck with a measly 1-year warranty.
So when we heard that OCZ was re-entering the video card market, we couldn’t help but be excited. Take OCZ’s expertise at delivering custom-tailored high-end products and mix it the GeForce 8800 GTX – sounded like a winner to us!
Unfortunately, OCZ’s latest foray into graphics isn’t quite that bold a step, especially considering OCZ’s reputation for delivering products that outperform competitors. The OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX is based 100% on NVIDIA’s reference board design and cooling. OCZ makes no modifications to the board or its underlying components. Even the clock speeds are unchanged from NVIDIA’s reference specifications for the GeForce 8800 GTX.
Instead OCZ focuses on binning. If you aren’t familiar with this term, it essentially means that they hand select the very best cards, capable of reaching the highest clock speeds. This special screening process is supposed to ensure that the cards are very good, if not the best at overclocking. These cards are then sold as OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX cards. Our overclocking results with the OCZ card placed it among the top of the pack, it didn’t OC the furthest, but it was respectable. Just goes to show you that when it comes to overclocking, you never know what you’re going to get. Your mileage can, and often will, vary.
Back in the GeForce 3 era OCZ developed a pretty slick card with aftermarket cooling for the GPU and RAM, plus it was clocked at higher speeds than other boards, we were hoping to see something similar for their GeForce 8800 GTX card but it looks like they want to play it safe this round and get their feet wet with the market first.
Considering how long they’ve been out of the game, that’s probably a pretty sound plan but we hope their next card pushes the envelope a little further. It is OCZ after all…
OCZ does not ship their GeForce 8800 GTX card with a game bundle, inside the card’s box you’ll find a driver CD and quick installation guide, two DVI adapters, power adapter, component video cable, and S-Video and composite video cables.
Quite simply when it comes to memory, PNY is practically everywhere.
Besides memory-related products, PNY has also been quietly producing GeForce cards for years now. In fact, their Verto line dates all the way back to the RIVA TNT. PNY is so trusted by NVIDIA they are also the exclusive manufacturer of NVIDIA’s high-end workstation Quadro boards here in North America: no other board manufacturer besides PNY makes Quadro boards here in the states.
With their expertise in manufacturing, PNY even made NVIDIA’s reference boards at one point.
In the past PNY’s graphics cards have proven popular among users looking for a no-frills board at an attractive price. If you dig through price comparison engines you’ll often find PNY cards among the least expensive cards on a given NVIDIA GPU. PNY would like to change that though and appeal to more enthusiasts. Hence the creation of their XLR8 line of graphics cards.
Unlike PNY’s more traditional Verto cards, which ship with more traditional green PCBs, XLR8 boards are more dressed up, equipped with black PCBs and fancier packaging. This helps the XLR8 cards stand out better on the store shelves they frequently populate. This is particularly important for PNY in a store like Fry’s, where you’ll often find a wall of cards all based on the same GPU. The XLR8 boards really tend to stand out in this environment.
PNY offers two lines of XLR8 cards: a standard edition, which ships at the stock NVIDIA reference clock speeds, and an Overclocked Edition, which runs at much higher speeds than stock (621MHz core/1458 shaders/2.0GHz memory). Both cards ship with the same NVIDIA reference board design and cooling, although obviously with its higher clock speeds the Overclocked Edition runs faster and sells at a premium in terms of price. The XLR8 Overclocked Edition is actually the first time PNY has offered a factory overclocked GeForce card for sale. Prior to its debut, all of PNY’s graphics cards stuck to the stock NVIDIA clock speeds.
For this review PNY sent us their standard XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTX card.
The XLR8 card ships with 2 DVI adapters, manual, driver CD, S-Video cable, HDTV dongle, and 2 power adapters.
Like EVGA, XFX is known for their excellent warranty program. In fact, XFX’s warranty goes one step beyond the traditional lifetime warranty, providing their unique double lifetime warranty program.
The XFX double lifetime warranty provides lifetime warranty coverage to the original card owner, and the card’s second owner. All you have to do is register your XFX card within 30 days of purchase to activate the lifetime warranty. This covers you for as long as you own the card. Then, if you decide to sell it so you can upgrade to something newer, the second card owner must simply register the card under their name with XFX in order to get the lifetime warranty.
XFX’s lifetime warranty is quite comprehensive. Like EVGA, the XFX warranty isn’t voided if you mod your card (say for instance, you install a different cooler). In the words of XFX “for those of you who know how to push our cards to the limits, if anything goes wrong, we’ll service it free of charge. All you have to do is register the card with us online.” If the card isn’t registered, warranty coverage is limited to 1-year, so it’s critical that you register the card to receive the lifetime warranty.
With end users increasingly selling their old PC hardware on web forums and sites like eBay and craigslist, this double lifetime policy has proven popular with consumers.
Also like EVGA, XFX provides toll-free 24/7 tech support.
Besides their excellent warranty coverage, XFX cards are also known for their performance. XFX offers multiple lines for each NVIDIA GPU. On the high-end are the “XXX” Edition cards. These cards are XFX’s fastest boards, and are often clocked higher than other card manufacturers. Just below the XXX boards is XFX’s “Extreme” line. Extreme cards aren’t clocked as high as XXX boards, but they are often outfitted with fancier cooling units and decked out with a black PCB and neon green DVIs. These boards are ideal for the end user who has a case window and would like to deck out his PC. The XXX card is for the user who wants all-out performance and doesn’t care about looks, as these cards typically stick with the NVIDIA reference design.
For their GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition, XFX sticks with this tradition, delivering a card that’s no slouch when it comes to performance. XFX clocks the GPU at 630MHz, while the board’s memory runs at 1.0GHz (2.0GHz effective). These speeds were among the highest of the first crop of factory overclocked GeForce 8800 GTX cards (of course since then newer cards like the AquaTank have come out with even higher speeds). In comparison, XFX’s GeForce 8800 GTX Extreme runs at 600MHz core/950MHz (1.9GHz effective) memory.
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
EVGA nForce 680i SLI motherboard
2GB Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
ASUS EN8800 GTX Aquatank
EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO w/ACS3
Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GTX TDH
MSI NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC
OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX
PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTX
XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra
300GB Western Digital Caviar SE
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars demo High Settings
While many of today’s GeForce 8800 GTX cards are based on NVIDIA’s reference design and therefore identical from a board-level perspective, picking the right GeForce 8800 GTX card for you is going to come down to several factors. Questions you should ask yourself when purchasing are:
With that being said, let’s take a look at the cards presented here today.
ASUS EN8800 GTX AquaTank
Out-of-the-box, the ASUS EN8800 GTX AquaTank delivered the best performance of all the GeForce 8800 GTX cards represented here today. Make no mistake about it, this is one of the fastest GeForce 8800 GTX cards on the market right now, and thanks to its Thermaltake cooling unit, it is also the coolest running – our temperature testing results showed a remarkable difference in cooling between the ASUS/Thermaltake Tide Water cooler and the stock NVIDIA heatsink/fan unit. If performance and cooling is important to you, this card should be high on your list.
EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3
With the addition of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, you can definitely make an argument that this card is one of the best values out there right now. On top of that, you get EVGA’s excellent warranty and tech support. And then there’s Step Up. EVGA is the only manufacturer providing a trade-up program right now, giving them a unique advantage over the other card manufacturers. And to add further icing on the cake, the e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3 is overclocked from the factory.
Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GTX TDH
Without a doubt this card was the looker of the bunch. Leadtek adorns their WinFast PX8800 GTX TDH with their own distinctive duct enclosure which rests above the stock NVIDIA heatsink/fan cooling unit. We really dig the looks of this cooling setup (keep in mind though that it has no effect on cooling performance).
MSI NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC
MSI continues to provide very good graphics cards, and the NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC stacks up very well compared to the other boards in this roundup thanks to its awesome combination of price, features, and performance. At this time online retailers tend to sell this card lower than the other GTX boards represented in this roundup, with the obvious addition being a free copy of one of the best games of 2006 – Company of Heroes.
OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX
We’re glad to see OCZ make a return to the graphics market with their GeForce 8800 GTX card. The card is designed to appeal to those who have an intimate familiarity with overclocking utilities like Rivatuner and nTune. OCZ’s own marketing materials reveal this with their “binned to perfection” claim. Overall the OCZ GeForce 8800 GTX is a nice card, but we wish they would have gone further with the board, either by overclocking the board from the factory or by tweaking the stock NVIDIA cooling.
PNY XLR8 GeForce 8800 GTX
For the first time in their history, PNY is really stepping out and embracing the enthusiast crowd with their XLR8 line of GeForce cards. Their Verto cards have always been nice boards due to attractive pricing, but have always lacked that extra bit of panache that appeals to enthusiasts. With XLR8, that is finally no more.
XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX
Last but certainly not least is XFX. The key attributes of this card are its clock speeds and double lifetime warranty. The graphics core is clocked at 630MHz, 2nd fastest of the cards included in this roundup. If performance isn’t enough, the XFX double lifetime warranty provides lifetime warranty coverage to the original card owner, as well as the second owner. This should make the card attractive to enthusiasts who like to buy and sell new parts online frequently.
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