Review: Geforce 8800 GTS 512MB is ultra fast
Today, the 11th of December, we’re officially talking about the new Geforce 8800 GTS based on the G92 graphics chipset. Although it bears the same name as its predecessor, the new 8800 GTS series is different from the old 8800 GTS based on the G80 core. The new card has a somewhat improved architecture and more Shader units. The new speeds are 650MHz for the core, 1625MHz for the Shaders, and 970MHz for the memory. This time around the card packs 512MB of GDDR3 memory, not 640MB as before.
Previous versions were bound to use 320MB or 640MB of memory due to a non-standard 320-bit memory controller. Today’s 8800 GTS 512MB has a 256-bit memory controller, which results in a lower memory bandwidth.
We tested the MSI NX8800 GTS, which had the core overclocked to 730MHz, with the memory at 1,944MHz and the Shaders at 1,825MHz. This is significantly faster than Nvidia’s suggested default speeds.
The card is dual slot, just like the previous version, except that it has a brand new cooler design. Nvidia did their job and manufactured a dual slot cooler that's much quieter than the 8800 GT’s single slot solution (the 8800 GT is also based on G92). The fan is quite large, and that means better cooling. The fan is at a slight angle and pointed at the core, which probably results in better cooling.
Power is handled by a single 6 pin power connector. The rear I/O side features two yellow DVI connectors; both are dual link with a maximum resolution of 2,560x1,600, and a single TV-out port.
The new 8800 GTS is aimed at users who prefer higher resolutions, because only then will you see the performance difference between this card and the more popular (not to mention much lower priced) 8800 GT. If you’re waiting on an 8800 GT, and it’s really tough to get one, the new 8800 GTS will be a good alternative if you can afford the cost difference. The 8800 GT is slower, the core is clocked at 600MHz, and the memory is clocked at 900MHz.
The 8800 GT overclocks well, and we’ve seen many cards running at the 8800 GTS speed, or even higher. We compared the 8800 GT at 700MHz to our 8800 GTS, and the results we got are quite interesting.
Where the 8800 GT features 112 Stream processors, the 8800 GTS has 128. It’s a direct result of enabling the eighth cluster on the G92 GTS core. Each cluster packs 16 Stream processors.
The cards based on the G92 core are DirectX 10, PCI Express 2.0 and all are manufactured in the 65nm process, and they feature VP2 (Video Processor 2) within the chip. You couldn’t find this feature in G80 cards because it was exclusive to Nvidia's low-end cards. This basically means that you get PureVideo HD acceleration support when you're playing high-definition video files, as well as post-processing done entirely in hardware, which takes the load off your CPU.
MSI's 8800 GTS has the same retail packaging and bundle as the 8800 GT that we tested here.