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Written by Olin Coles   
Wednesday, 02 May 2007
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra Sneak Preview
Closer Look: 8800 Ultra
Features and Specifications
GeForce 8800 Ultra Conclusion

GeForce 8800 Ultra Conclusion

Cited from NVIDIA's press release, the GeForce 8800 Ultra offers an average 12% performance gain in popular games when compared against their previous top-dog: the 8800 GTX.

Based on testing the GeForce 8800 Ultra and the GeForce 8800 GTX at a variety of resolutions from 1280x1024 up to 2560 x1600. The system used featured the Intel Conroe 2.93GHz CPU, C55+MCP55 chipset, and 2048MB of RAM. Applications tested include 3DMark 2006, Battlefield 2142, Battlefield 2, Call of Duty 2, Doom3, FarCry v1.4 BETA, Prey, Quake 4, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Half-Life 2 Episode One, and Half-Life 2 Lost Coast. Maximum increase was 27.4%; minimum increase was .4%; average was 12.7%. Data is available upon request.

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra Preview

I'm not so sure anyone, not the hardcore computer enthusiast, and not even professionally competitive hardware-crazed gamer, could justify an average 12% performance gain for roughly $300 more than the cost of the GeForce 8800 GTX. Sure, the GeForce 8800 Ultra is a great product, but let's be real about this: pay 55% more for a 12% gain. Not just no, but hell no. Here's what I would do to get the same performance and save a lot of cash:

First, you could easily purchase any GeForce 8800 GTX from NewEgg for $530-$600, plus have dozens of manufacturers to choose from. Next, simply use the Benchmark Reviews Guide: How To Overclock the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Series and raise the GPU from the stock 575MHz to 612MHz and memory from 1800MHz to 2160MHz. After all, the GTS in the project for that article managed a GPU overclock from 500MHz to 600MHz, and the memory clock went from 1600MHz to 2060MHz. Granted the GTS wasn't able to become a GTX because of the difference in architecture, but a 8800 GTX is exactly the same as the 8800 Ultra in regards to architecture. So If an 8800 GTS can reach GTX numbers, than it seems very likely that the 8800 GTX could easily become an Ultra.

GeForce 8800 Ultra GeForce 8800 GTX GeForce 8800 GTS
Stream Processors 128 128 96
Core Clock (MHz) 612 575 500
Shader Clock (MHz) 1500 1350 1200
Memory Clock (MHz) 1080 900 800
Memory Amount 768MB 768MB 640MB or 320MB
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit 320-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 103.7 86.4 64
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 39.2 36.8 24

According to Glen Robson, general manager of Dell gaming products "Dell is deeply committed to designing PCs that cater to gamers' needs and desires and offering the latest and greatest GPUs is a key technology differentiator. NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra GPUs deliver stunning performance gains today and support the key features that will facilitate an awesome visual experience on DirectX 10 titles." This will mean that you will soon hear the praises of Dell's XPS series posting unbelievable benchmark scores with SLi configured 8800 Ultra's. But as of this afternoon, neither the Dell Premier Partner site nor the Solution Provider sites gave any hint that the Dell XPS 710 series was being updated .

So can I recommend the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra? In a word, No. Unless you are blessed with a five-digit monthly income, or can win one for free, it seems to be an absolute waste or money. At the very least, NVIDIA could have gotten away with offering their new GeForce 8800 Ultra with this inflated price tag if they had added some new technology. A good start would have been DDR4 and possibly a newly released (or more likely binned) GPU. But what we got instead was the same old product with a new name and a small twist on the dial. No thanks.

Pros:

+ Extremely quiet operation
+ Top performing GPU available
+ DirectX 10 Compatible
+ Convenient molex power location
+ SLi & Quad-SLi compatible
+ Durable construction

Cons:

- Extremely expensive
- Limited availability
- Dull design and plain finish
- Poor price to performance ratio
- No HDMI output
- Same architecture as G80
- Minor improvement over 8800 GTX

Ratings:

  • Presentation: 9.0
  • Appearance: 8.25
  • Construction: 9.0
  • Functionality: 9.5
  • Value: 3.0

Final Score: 7.75 out of 10.

Questions? Comments? Please visit the Benchmark Reviews Discussion Forum.


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