With the new chipset from NVIDIA, we can't forget the last card the green people had put out. The GeForce 8800GT arrived and promptly won over the hearts of many. Performance for the card from other reviewers have been off the charts and the price was just right for everyone to jump into. I saw a prototype of the card at CES this year and after various setbacks with my test system, I was finally able to put the card through it's paces. Before we get to the numbers, let's take a closer look at what makes this card special.
Reference image.. We did not receive the card with the final art to test.
First off there's a die shrink for the GPU. Down to a 65 nm process, the smaller die allows NVIDIA to create more from one wafer and also decrease the heat output and power requirement.Standard speed for the GeForce 8800GT is 600MHz but the Foxconn card that we have today ups it a little at 690MHz giving you a nice 13% increase. On the memory side, the card features 512MB of ram running at a cool 2000MHz or 200MHz over a stock GeForce 8800GT. So Foxconn gives you a nice pre -overclocked card right off the bat so you're going to get a little more performance out of it than companies coming out with stock cards.
Physically, it's nice to have a single slot card and the Foxconn GeForce 8800GT Extreme card gives you that. Since less cooling is needed, the large vent and fan prominent in the GeForce 8800GTS and GeForce 8800GTX is no longer required. The cooling unit is enclosed. It's also shorter than the two making it easier to fit into tightly spaced systems. As with all NVIDIA cards, the GeForce 8800GT has one SLI connector on top. Also you'll still need to plug in one six pin power connector to juice up the card. The plug is positioned for a horizontal insertion of the power connector on this card. Finally, it's a PCI-E card supporting the 2.0 standard which allows for double the bandwidth of the original PCI-E spec. It's not like this card will fully utilize the bandwidth but NVIDIA's putting it in here to show that they are ready for the future with cards that will.
Feature wise anything the old GeForce 8XXX series can be seen on the GeForce 8800GT. For those looking for a DirectX10.1 card, you'll have to look elsewhere as this card doesn't support that feature set but it should be the last NVIDIA card not to with the upcoming GeForce 9XXXX series. But those that want PureVideo, SLI, or HDCP will find this card to suit their needs in those areas. A new anti-aliasing sampling algorithm is in place to offer better graphic quality than the TRMS but not be as nice and processor intensive as TRSS.
Dual-DVI connectors and various TV outs via a pigtail lets you connect this card in various ways. The Dual-DVI connection is capable of a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 with 32-bit color at 60Hz. If you need to connect this card via the old VGA connector, Foxconn has included two DVI to VGA adapters for you.
Gone are the days when Foxconn included a controller in the package as the bundle is a pretty standard affair. You do get two utilities in DriveClone 3 and VirtualDrive 11.5. DriveClone lets you make a backup image of your drive for recovery purposes. VirtualDrive lets you mount CDs and DVDs on your hard drive and run them as though you have them in your DVD drive. Doing so this way can speed up the time of your access as well as share the items on your network. Both are useful in their own way and could be something that finds their way into your utilities library.
My test system has changed since the last time so here's a rundown of what was used to test the card.
Intel E6400 Dual Core
ECS PN2 SLI2+ motherboard
2 GIGS PC-6400 Corsair memory
120GB Western Digital HDD
Microsoft Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2
For our tests, I'll be running the card against a Foxconn GeForce 8800GTX at 1600x1200. The games I chose for this review are Company of Heroes, Unreal Tournament 3, and Crysis. For the games we ran them at 1600x1200 while 3DMark06 was run at 1280x1024. 3DMark06 is the only synthetic benchmark used in this review. We'll start off with that and then get to the games.First up is Futuremark's 3D Mark 06
is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, 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. We tested at the standard 1280x1024 resolution.
Company of Heroes
is an RTS that really pushes video cards. The game by the fine folks at Relic Entertainment is set in WWII and features deformable terrain as well as great physics. The level of detail in the game for an RTS is amazing. For the tests, we set everything at maximum or ultra to ensure that the card was taxed as much as possible
is the current game that pushes video cards to their limit. The latest from Crytek, Crysis offers some of the most incredible visuals you see today on the PC. For the test we ran through a flyby around the island that lasted about 4 minutes and recorded the average frames per second.
Epic's Unreal Tournament III
continues the tradition of offering a fast paced shooter with great graphics powered by an incredible engine. A great deal of games use the UT engine and Unreal Tournament III really shows off what it can do for multiplaer mayhem. A test was done with a recorded deathmatch demo that lasted about three minutes.
It's hard not like a card that provides close to GTX performance at roughly half the price. For those looking to break into the GeForce 8 series and don't want to break the bank this is the card to get. It's too bad it came out this late in the game with the next generation GeForce card right around the corner. Foxconn's offering is solid and gives you a little push in performance without having to do the work yourself in overclocking the card. The bundle doesn't really show any innovation but for those wanting a bare bones no frills package with a slightly better than stock performing card, the Foxconn GeForce 8800GT OC is a great choice.