|ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB AMP! HDMI Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 24 February 2008|
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ZT-88TES3P-FCP Detailed Features
So now that you're up to speed with the many features NVIDIA has loaded into the GeForce 8800 GT, it's time to take a closer look into the inner-workings of this add-in card partner. ZOTAC designs the ZT-88TES3P-FCP from the reference NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB video card, however there are many area's where ZOTAC has gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Ever since the GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS were first released, the double-size graphics card was adopted as a standard for design by both NVIDIA and ATI/AMD. Very few enthusiasts ignored the potential at the time, and many were quick to put the new G80 GPU into action. When NVIDIA returned to a single card-slot design with the G92, the improved cooling would have to make some physical sacrifices to play along with the plan.
ZOTAC changes the landscape with their new GeForce 8800 GT 512MB AMP! Edition HDMI output ZT-88TES3P-FCP graphics card which is based on the more efficient G92 GPU and fits into a single slot expansion footprint. The efficient G92 GPU allows manufacturers to utilize a single expansion-unit height heatsink, which in turn takes away the ability to exhaust heated air outside of the case. Very few manufacturers, ZOTAC included, have improved upon NVIDIA's G92 reference cooler design, In the image above, the larger blower fan and heatpipe underbelly are exposed as a ZOTAC add-in improvement.
The underside of nearly every GeForce 8800 video card I have seen look identical. With the exception of a few manufacturer decals, the ZT-88TES3P-FCP is very much the same as NVIDIA's reference design. Once you remove the collection of twelve fine-threaded screws the heatsink portion of the graphics card can be separated from the PCB.
By design, the cast-aluminum heatsink is complimented with a copper insert where the base and G92 GPU mate together. Additional thermal conductive pads are strategically placed between key components such as DDR3 vRAM modules and the heatsink. ZOTAC also uses a pre-applied thermal interface material (TIM) between the GPU and the copper base inset into the heatsink. Even though NVIDIA ditched the heatpipes in their G92 refernce design, ZOTAC offers better cooling performance in their AMP!'ed GeForce 8800 GT with finsink-over-heatpipe design.
After a nice cleaning, the bare GeForce 8800 GT 512MB video card was a lot more photogenic. Since the circuit board design offers such an ergonomic layout, aftermarket coolers have already become more available than the actual graphics card. Digressing for just a moment, I really want to see Arctic Cooling offer a rear-exhausting cooler for the GeForce 8800 GT. There are at least ten aftermarket cooling solutions for the GT after only two months past the launch date, and not one of them removes the heat from inside the case.
ZOTAC makes good use of the hardware NVIDIA offers them. In the image below you get a good (clean) look at the 65nm process G92 GPU, which in my opinion is as much an improvement to the industry as the 90nm process G80 was when the GeForce 8800 series launched. Offering 112 Stream processors, the ZOTAC factory overclocked G92 GPU operates at 660MHz.
A 256-bit memory bus allows the GeForce 8800 GT to offer 512MB of usable video frame buffer. Qimonda supplies the DDR3 vRAM modules; a part that looks very similar to the Aeneon PC3-10666 we recently reviewed as part of our High-Speed DDR3 Overclocking and Review Series. ZOTAC did not overclock this portion of the product, which could indicate that it's already running near the maximum stable range of 1800MHz. However this could be great news for gamers and hardware enthusiasts wanting to get more out of their purchase, and Benchmark Reviews even has a step-by-step How-To Guide for such a project.
In our next section, Benchmark Reviews begins testing on the ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MB AMP! Edition video card after we explain how it's all done here in our lab.