|GeForce 8800 Graphics Performance: GT vs GTS vs GTX|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 24 January 2008|
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GeForce 8800 Performance Conclusion
Since the days of Battlefield 2 there haven't been very many games to seriously stress mid and high-performance video cards. The Battlefield 2142 was more of a lukewarm please-all with nearly no landscape to speak of, and until EA and Crytek GmbH came along with Crysis there hadn't been any major milestones to speak of for almost three years. Company of Heroes was (and to some players it still is) one of the most popular games of 2006, but its scalable Havok game engine allowed just about anyone with a personal computer to play the game. World in Conflict could very well be characterized as the CoH for 2007, especially since CoH: Opposing Fronts offered almost nothing new to gamers in regards to performance. WiC is equally scalable, but the large world-scape can have a greater impact on frame rate. When it comes down to PC video games, there are only a handful of titles that stand out more than those which I have tested here in this review. The important lesson is that the GeForce 8800 GT has the modern technology to handle them all at nearly their highest settings without dropping below the acceptable 30 FPS level.
For only a short while longer, the GeForce 8800 GT is third in line for the NVIDIA throne. Our comparison series has been squarely aimed at the upper-end performance segment, picking out the three most dominant product on the market. Some (but not many) gamers have stepped up to the overpriced GeForce 8800 Ultra, and only a few more went as far as the GTX. For over a year now the GeForce 8800 GTS has been the best selling card within the 8 Series lineup, and now it has been replaced by the GeForce 8800 GT. Unlike the GeForce 7900 GT of the past generation, the new 8800 GT offers tremendous performance and power efficiency with a slight reduction in cooling fan noise.
I consider the entire pre-G92 GeForce 8800 series to be very attractive as a whole, primarily because of the double-height heatpipe cooling. While the general appearance of the GeForce 8800 GT video card is attractive, the plastic shell covering the heatsink gives this product too much of a plastic look... very similar to what NVIDIA did with the 8800 Ultra's cover. Overall I think the look will work, but it's tough going from a high-tech middle-end product to a rather low-tech looking middle-end product; even if it is much better on the inside.
Unlike the higher-end 8800 series GeForce products, the 8800 GT does not expose any electronic components. I once owned the GeForce 8800 GTX, but after a errant SATA cable swiped off one of the capacitors, I learned that perhaps I was better off with a graphics card using a smaller footprint. NVIDIA has designed the GT to sustain above-average abuse, and since no components are exposed there is very little chance that you'll have to RMA a product that falls apart on you. The fully covered 8800 GT will work very well in cramped environments where the video card will be in contact with cables and components.
Looking back over our battery of benchmark tests, there were several times when one card seemed to win out over the competition, only to be badly beaten in the next round. One thing is certain: the GeForce 8800 GTS is a no-win product at this point. Made only worse by the recent update to a 512MB and 1GB version, the price for a 256-bit memory interface is hardly worth the small performance gain. Put plainly, the old 8800 GTS was a good price point in the days where you had to choose between either a 7900 GTX/7950 GTX at the low end or an 8800 GTX/Ultra at the high end. Now there are far more graphic cards that put out better performance for less cost, and the new 8800 GTS isn't fitting in quite as well. This leaves us with a showdown between the 8800 GT and the GTX.
Until the GeForce 9800 GTX launches later in April (2008), there is still a large segment of the consumer market that has to shop for the best price-to-performance product for their gaming system. As our test results have indicated, it all comes back to the 8800 GT and GTX. While 3DMark06 clearly favors the 8800 GTX, there isn't much real-world application for a benchmark suite because it's only good for testing. Crysis tests were dominated by the mighty 8800 GT, whereas the GTX barely outperformed the GTS in this GPU-heavy game. Cinebench only gave a very small margin back to the GT over the GTX, but when you get to games like World in Conflict the GeForce 8800 GTX still holds itself supreme. Rather confusing results if you look at them on the surface, but when you take into consideration that the future of gaming will be best benefited by memory frame buffer bandwidth you are left with only one clear-cut winner: GT.
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