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NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT/GTS Roundup

Seven graphics cards from different manufacturers.

March 3, 2008



ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E,
Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E,
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E,
Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E,
Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E,
MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E,
Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E

Time goes on, and our old favorite graphics cards based on the G80 (GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS) become a thing of the past. They were unique products, because NVIDIA introduced 320-bit and 384-bit memory buses there for the first time. These cards also came with 320 MB, 640 MB, and 768 MB of video memory, which was also a non-standard feature. We are used to the 128-256-512-1024 MB sequence, while the G80 came with intermediate options. The 8800 GTX was very long, 270 mm, so it couldn't be installed in all PC cases. The G80 GPU was huge, covered with a heavy cap. Data output units were implemented in a separate chip.

So, these unique solutions ruled the market for a year. Now they are outdated. NVIDIA returned to the traditional design: 512 MB of memory, 256-bit memory bus, and an integrated output unit. The GeForce 8800 GT actually resembles the old popular GeForce 7900 GS (they have similar PCBs, the same buses, they differ only in memory frequencies and in GPU architectures).

However, it's probably inexpedient to manufacture products with such expensive PCBs, so they decided to use faster memory, but stick to the traditional 256-bit bus. And the new GPU is optimized, so such wide buses are just excessive.

Our previous articles have proved that the GeForce 8800GT has a very efficient price/performance ratio. Some modifications operating at the increased frequencies can even catch up with the GeForce 8800 GTX! To say nothing of the 8800 GTS 512MB—possessing the same number of shader processors as the 8800 GTX, but operating at higher frequencies, its performance may come close to that of the 8800 Ultra, despite its lower memory bandwidth because of the 256-bit bus.

So it will be very interesting to examine new products from these series. Some of them have very interesting designs and cooling systems.

Graphics Cards

ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 700/1728 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x15 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).
Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 650/1620 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 950 (1900) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: red
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).

Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 600/1512 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 900 (1800) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 205x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: dark blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).

Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 700/1673 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).

Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 650/1620 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 900 (1800) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).

MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GTS (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 730/1836 MHz (nominal—650/1620 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 972 (1944) MHz (nominal—972 (1944) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 128
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).

Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8800 GT (G92)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 650/1620 MHz (nominal—600/1512 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 950 (1900) MHz (nominal—900 (1800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 256bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 112
  • Texture processors: 64 (28) (BLF)
  • ROPs: 16
  • Dimensions: 220x100x32 mm (the last figure is maximum thickness of the graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link/HDMI), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).



ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E
MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E
Each graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.0 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1000 (2000) MHz.



Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E
Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
Each graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Qimonda memory chips (GDDR3). 1.0 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1000 (2000) MHz.



Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
The graphics card has 1024 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in sixteen chips on the front and back sides of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.0 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1000 (2000) MHz.





Comparison with the reference design, front view
Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E
ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E
Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512


Comparison with the reference design, back view
Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E
ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E
Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512


ASUS, Leadtek, and MSI products are actually reference cards, only the Leadtek card has a different cooler.

The other cards have been tampered with by their manufacturers. The Galaxy card has a unique design, it's equipped with a jumper to increase the core voltage, which raises the overclocking potential of the card. Cards from Leadtek, Gigabyte, Gainward, Palit are equipped with unique cooling systems. The Gainward product also features a gigabyte of video memory, which affected its PCB layout.

All cards have TV-Out with a unique jack. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV-set via S-Video or RCA. You can read about the TV-Out in more detail here.

Analog monitors with d-Sub (VGA) interface are connected with special DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. The bundle also includes DVI-to-HDMI adapters (these graphics cards support video/audio transfer to HDMI receivers), so there should be no problems with such monitors. Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit x85Hz Max—analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max—digital interface (all DVIs with Dual-Link)

What concerns MPEG2 playback features (DVD-Video), we analyzed this issue in 2002. Little has changed since that time. CPU load during video playback on modern graphics cards does not exceed 25%.

What concerns HDTV. You can read one review here.

All these cards require additional power supply, so each card is bundled with an adapter from molex to 6-pin, even though all modern PSUs are equipped with these cables. I want to note that the card from Galaxy has TWO power connectors for higher stability in the overclocked mode.

Now about the cooling systems. I shall not describe coolers of the reference 8800 GT/GTS cards (MSI, ASUS), because we have already examined them.

The Gigabyte card is equipped with the standard cooling system from Zalman, we already examined it. The same concerns the cooler from Palit.

Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
Strange as it may seem, it's essentially the old standard cooler: a fan in the center of the GPU heat sink. Yes, only the elongated heat sink reminds of fashionable turbine coolers that throw the hot air out of a PC case. But it's actually a simple device. Memory chips are cooled with two plates. The central cooler blows only at the core. In fact, it's an efficient cooler, quite sufficient for the card. There is no noise, because even low fan speed is enough for cooling. But the large heat sink may be a problem—you may not be able to install the card into some motherboards, where various connectors (for example SATA) are too close to the PCI-E x16 slot.
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
It's a funny situation. This card is a regular 8800 GT, which stock frequencies are not raised (only the overclocking potential is higher). This card should have come with the cooler from Zalman (like the Gigabyte card). But this cooler is used in the overclocked modification of this card. Ironically, we've got this very hybrid. Despite the efficient turbine type of the cooler, it's very noisy. Nevertheless, there is no point in grumbling about this cooler, because it won't be used in such cards. And we don't know the default speed of this cooler for the other card, so we cannot say that this cooling system is noisy a priori. It just rotates too fast in our sample.

But if you get a regular card with this cooler, you should know about this problem.

Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
The Leadtek card is equipped with the standard GPU cooler from Zalman, but of an interesting shape. A central heat sink with a fan is installed on a GPU. Cooling efficiency is reinforced with heat pipes.


We monitored temperatures using RivaTuner (written by A.Nikolaychuk AKA Unwinder). Here are the results:

Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E




MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E




Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E




Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E




Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E




Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E (overclocked)

We can see that the most efficient and noiseless cooling system is the device on the Leadtek card. The other coolers provide more or less sufficient cooling for the GPU and memory chips. The hottest cooling system is expectedly the device on the MSI GeForce 8800 GTS. We should take into account that all heat release parameters were measured in a closed PC case with a good ventilation system (two intake coolers and two eject coolers).

We do not publish monitoring results of the cards from ASUS and Palit, because their temperature readings do not differ much from the reference systems, and we already monitored such cards before. Even though Palit installs its own cooler, its efficiency is practically on a par with the reference cooler, but it's not noisy.

Bundle

We got our card from Gigabyte without a package and bundle, so we have nothing to describe here.

The other cards were bundled with a User Manual, CD with drivers and utilities, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a component output adapter (TV-Out), an external power adapter. It's a basic bundle. And now let's see what other accessories are added by each vendor.

ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E
In addition to the above-mentioned basic bundle, the package includes a leather CD album and Company Of Heroes (DX10 version).
Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E
This bundle also includes S-Video-to-RCA and DVI-to-HMDI adapters.
Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E
The basic bundle is supplemented with a DVI-to-HMDI adapter and an S-Video extension cord.
Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E
The box also contains a disc with Neverwinter Nights 2 (old game).
MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E
The basic bundle plus an S-Video extension cord.
Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E
This bundle also includes S-Video-to-RCA and DVI-to-HMDI adapters plus Tomb Raider Anniversary (game).

Packages

ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E

A traditional huge box-bag. A bright jacket with a box made of white cardboard inside. All components are arranged into compartments. The card itself is secured in a foamed polyurethane box. So there will be no transportation damages. The box is designed in style of the bundled game. It's a hackneyed idea. The company should think about redesigning the box.

Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E

A big bright box made of thick cardboard contains a smaller box with a card secured with distance pieces, the other components are stored beneath. Such packages keep graphics cards safe. Good design, orange colors... It goes well with the new logo.

Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E

A small box made of thick cardboard, blue colors are traditional for this company. All components are arranged into cardboard compartments, but the graphics card inside an anti-static packet is packed in a soft plastic envelope "with bubbles". Blue palette with waves and sea is a good idea.

Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E

It's a huge box-bag made of thick cardboard. All components are arranged into multiple cardboard pockets inside. :) The card itself is inside a foamed polyurethane package, so damages in transit are out of the question. On the whole, the box has a good design, but there are too many tanks and cannons. They should have come up with something new.

MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E

It's also a box-bag, the card is in a similar box, other components are arranged into compartments. So there won't be any transportation damages. The same old design. The company should think about redesigning the box.

Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E

This bright box of an unusual shape has a lot of pockets and compartments filled with bundled components. A cardboard box with the card is in the middle of the package. So you can be sure there won't be any damages in transit. Very good design. But it's not a good idea to for a brand to use the same box with a frog for all cards, marking them only with different labels.


Installation and Drivers

Testbed configuration:

  • Intel Core2 (775 Socket) based computer
    • CPU: Intel Core2 Extreme QX9650 (3000 MHz)
    • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 on the Intel X38 chipset
    • RAM: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM Corsair 1142MHz (CAS (tCL)=5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5; Row Precharge (tRP)=5; tRAS=15)
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA
    • PSU: Tagan 1100-U95 (1100W)
  • OS: Windows XP SP2; DirectX 9.0c
  • OS: Windows Vista 32bit; DirectX 10.0
  • Monitor: Dell 3007WFP (30")
  • Drivers: ATI CATALYST 8.1; NVIDIA 169.28
  • VSync disabled.

Benchmarks

We used the following test applications:

  • Call Of Juarez (Techland/Ubisoft)—DirectX 9.0, shaders 3.0 (HDR), demo (demo). Tests were run with maximum quality settings. The batch file is included.

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 1.003 (GSC Game World/THQ)—DirectX 9.0, demo. You should unpack the files into the game folder with savegames (Documents and settings). When the game starts up, load ixbt3, open the console, and start the demo: demo_play ixbt3. Test settings—maximum (DYNAMIC LIGHTS are ENABLED).

  • 3DMark05 1.20 (FutureMark)—DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, trilinear filtering.

  • CRYSIS 1.1 (Crytek/EA), DirectX 9.0c/10.0, shaders 3.0/4.0, (batch file to start the test), test settings in MS Windows Vista—Very High (DX10), Windows XP—High (DX9), RESCUE and HARBOR levels). You can e-mail us to get the timedemo.

    We express our thanks to CRYTEK for writing timedemo for iXBT.com.

  • Company Of Heroes (Relic Entertainment/THQ)—DirectX 9.0, shaders 2.0, startup batch file. When you start the game, you should go to options, choose the graphics section, and press the test button. Tests were run with maximum quality.

  • 3DMark06 1.10 (FutureMark)—DirectX 9.0c, multitexturing, trilinear test settings.

Graphics card performance

If you have a decent understanding of 3D graphics, you may draw your own conclusions for the charts below. However, if you are interested in our comments on test results, you may read them after each test. Anything that is important to beginners and those who are new to the world of graphics cards will be explained in detail in the comments.

First of all, you should look through our reference materials on modern graphics cards and their GPUs. Be sure to note the operating frequencies, support for modern technologies (shaders), as well as the pipeline architecture.

ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900 Reference
NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900 Reference

If you have just begun realizing how large the selection to choose a graphics card is, don't worry, our 3D Graphics section offers articles about 3D basics (you will still have to understand them—when you run a game and open its options, you'll see such notions as textures, lighting, etc.) as well as new product reviews. We also publish monthly i3DSpeed that sums up all comparisons of graphics cards for various price ranges.

Thirdly, have a look at the test results. We are not going to analyze each test in this article, primarily because for us it makes sense to draw a general bottom line in the end. We will, however, make sure that we make our readers aware of anything unusual.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Test results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.



CRYSIS, Rescue, DX9, High

Test results: CRYSIS, Rescue, DX9, High



CRYSIS, Harbor, DX9, High

Test results: CRYSIS, Harbor, DX9, High



CRYSIS, Rescue, DX10, Very High

Test results: CRYSIS, Rescue, DX10, Very High



CRYSIS, Harbor, DX10, Very High

Test results: CRYSIS, Harbor, DX10, Very High



Call Of Juarez

Test results: CoJ



Company Of Heroes

Test results: CoH



3DMark05: MARKS

Test results: 3DMark05 MARKS



3DMark06: SHADER 2.0 MARKS

Test results: 3DMark06 SM2.0 MARKS



3DMark06: SHADER 3.0 MARKS

Test results: 3DMark06 SM3.0 MARKS


Conclusions

Our test results have proved that most 8800 GT cards reviewed today do not differ much from each other in performance. However, the overclocked products demonstrate very good results in CRYSIS, our current reference for 3D performance. These cards are even faster than the more expensive 8800 GTX in a number of tests. All 8800 GT cards heavily outperform the RADEON HD 3870.

ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E is a reference card operating at increased frequencies. So it features all problems of the reference cooler: noise and mediocre cooling efficiency. A special note to fans of this brand: ASUS has nothing to do with its manufacturing, it's manufactured at a third-party plant by NVIDIA's orders, like all reference cards. It has a bonus in the bundle—a modern game and a leather CD album.

Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E is not a standard solution. It has twice as much memory, and it operates at increased frequencies. Our tests demonstrate that CRYSIS responds well to the increased memory volume, although it does not need 1 GB of video memory in a general case. The best memory size for top graphics cards is 768 MB, like in the 8800 GTX. However, time flies, games demand more and more resources, and NVIDIA has abandoned the architecture with a 384-bit bus and 768 MB of memory, so we can have only 1 GB. It may soon become a new standard for top graphics cards. On the whole, the card from Gainward produces a very good impression.

MSI GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB PCI-E is a reference card. Like ASUS, MSI does not manufacture these graphics cards on its own, it just buys ready cards from NVIDIA. So it's a usual reference card. The cooler is quiet, but the card gets very hot. However, hot air is thrown out of a PC case, so there is nothing to worry about. This product is the fastest card of all modern graphics cards. No other card can outperform it, because the 8800 Ultra/GTX is already discontinued.

Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-E is an interesting product. However, it combines a lot of pros and cons. Advantages of the card are quite clear—it's a graphics card for overclockers. I've also published test results of this card operating at increased frequencies (I used the jumper to raise the core voltage.) Besides, such cards are bundled with coolers from Zalman (according to Galaxy web site). A manager from this company assured us that such a noisy cooler was installed on our sample by mistake. The cooler is indeed very noisy. Unfortunately, external power connectors on the card are very close to each other, and manufacturers didn't take into account that such connectors in PSU cables may be too thick to plug two of them at once. You will have to use adapters. And the main problem: we couldn't show our readers the true temperature readings of the overclocked card with the "correct" stock cooler.

Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E is not a reference card, Palit has traditionally modified the PCB layout. The card is equipped with an efficient cooling system. It's a two-slot device, but it's not a problem these days. The graphics card operates at increased frequencies. However, the manufacturer should have overclocked it a tad higher—this card would have become a very interesting offer in this case. Still, it's a very good card as it is. The manufacturer should stop using the same box with different labels for all products. Real brands make good boxes for each type of graphics cards.

Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E is manufactured by Gigabyte, although it's a copy of the reference design. An efficient and quiet cooling system from Zalman allows to overclock the card without overheating problems. As we didn't got the box with bundled components for this card, we cannot evaluate them.

Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E is a reference card again, but it's equipped with an efficient and quiet cooler from Zalman. It's an overclocked card, but this product operates at the lowest temperatures among our today's cards. This is a very good point.

As always, the final choice is up to the reader. We can only inform you about products and their performance, but can't make a buying decision.

And another thing that we are not tired to repeat from article to article. Having decided to choose a graphics card by yourself, you have to realize you're to change one of the fundamental PC parts, which might require additional tuning to improve performance or enable some qualitative features. This is not a finished product, but a component part. So, you must understand that in order to get the most from a new graphics card, you will have to acquire some basic knowledge of 3D graphics and graphics in general. If you are not ready for this, you should not perform upgrades by yourself. In this case it would be better to purchase a ready chassis with preset software (along with vendor's technical support,) or a gaming console that doesn't require any adjustments.

To find more information regarding the current graphics card market and the performance of various cards, feel free to read our monthly special i3DSpeed.

Gainward Bliss GeForce 8800 GT Golden Sample 1024MB PCI-E, Palit GeForce 8800 GT Sonic 512MB PCI-E, Gigabyte GeForce 8800 GT Zalman Edition 512MB PCI-E, Leadtek GeForce 8800 GT ZL 512MB PCI-E get the Original Design award (February):

ASUS GeForce 8800 GT TOP 512MB PCI-E gets the Excellent Package award (February):

We express our thanks to
ASUS Russia and Tatiana Albetkova
Galaxy and Igor Flipek
Gainward Russia and Maria Safonova
Palit Russia and Alexander Likhtman
MSI Russia and Maria Kisliakova
Gigabyte Russia and Tatiana Lysanova
Leadtek Russia and Natalia Lagunenko
for the provided graphics cards.

PSU kindly provided by TAGAN
Dell 3007WFP monitor kindly provided by NVIDIA

Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
March 3, 2008

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i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
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