nVidia recently released the 8800 GT, a mid-level priced graphics card that is comparable to the 8800 GTS. The 8800 GT has quickly become the hottest card to have and it is hard to find. Luckily today, we have a chance to take a look at the BFG 8800 GT OC.
Graphics cards are one of the most desired products for a computer. Users looking for something with which to play the latest and greatest games crave higher-end graphics cards. A particular graphic card's performance in certain games can make or break that card. This is why AMD and nVidia are both pushing the limits of their cards to try to take the upper hand.
Here is a run-down of what you get. It's the standard items you would expect to receive with a graphics card: CD, manual, HD video cable and two DVI to VGA adapters, and a power adapter. No games are bundled with this card, though some 8800 GTs do in fact come with games. Now it's time to move on with the review and take a look at the graphics card.
First, we should stop a second and take a look at the GPU that is in this card. Let's start with the goodies of the core and how fast it is. To start off, it has 112 Stream processes. This puts it between the GTS (96) and the GTX (128). The reference cards will be clocked at 600 MHz, while the BFG OC version is notched up to 625 MHz. This puts it in a league of its own at this point. The 8800 Ultra only comes in at 612 MHz. This additional clock speed should offer a nice bump when it comes up short on stream processes. The shader clock speeds also come in above the Ultra too.
This new core from nVidia also offers better HD movie playback when viewing movies on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Previously, if you wanted top notch hi-def video viewing you had to downgrade to 8600 GTS. This new core also has the second generation of nVidia's PureVideo HD engine. But I'm guessing that more people are here reading this review because of its gaming abilities and not its hi-def movie playback.
Next up on the bench is the memory. We have your typical 512 MB RAM on this card, which is becoming the standard for the new games. Again, this falls between the GTS (320 MB) and the GTX (640 MB). The memory here is rated on line with the GTX version at 900 MHz. One interesting note is that the reference clock speed and the clock speed for the BFG OC version are the same. It appears they only overclocked the core a bit and didn't touch the memory. The OC2 model does come with overclocked RAM, but that is more money out of your pocket.
My last note before going to the actual card is that this is the first card from nVidia to support PCI-Express 2.0. I'm sure that pops a whole bunch of questions into your head. Will this work in my computer? The answer is easy when I tell you that PCI-Express 2.0 is backwards compatible.
So what is the big deal about 2.0 over 1.0? For starters, it offers twice the bandwidth, which doesn't really mean anything at all at this point. The best cards today can't fill 1.0 so 2.0 is still miles ahead of the cards that go in them. The other benefit is that it offers more power to the slot, so you require fewer power connectors from your PSU directly to your card. No, they aren't turning more energy efficient; they managed to get the slot to provide more power, so they need less from the PSU.
Sadly this card isn't DX10.1 compatible. Does this mean anything to the user? Not really; it's not as big of a deal as it seems. We won't have 10.1 for a few more months at best for Vista. It will be even longer before we see games that support DX 10.1, as we are just now seeing DX10 games hit the market. Also, DX10.1 is more of a tiny upgrade to standardize a few features that were previously optional in DX10.
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