nVidia SLI dual graphics is a great technology as we've always said that and it's really fallen into the market well since its inception sometime ago now.
MSI's GeForce 8800GTS 320MB GTS cards really do a good job of offer great gaming performance with oodles of power but it's clear that unless you're running resolutions of 1920 x 1200 or upwards (or with image quality settings such as AA and AF maxed out), it isn't going to be seen or worth spending that much money. If you wanted a speed bump at the lower resolution or around the 1600 x 1200 mark, we would recommend looking at a single GeForce 8800GTX ($830 AUD or $625 USD in Australia) instead of a pair of these in SLI ($900 AUD or $680 USD in Australia).
MSI have got a nice solid graphic card here and due to their aggressive pricing in Australia, it makes them quite the catch and clearly worth taking into consideration. Hopefully we do see MSI Australia release the overclocked model with Company of Heroes as it is disappointing to not have a game included within this package considering you are spending a bunch of cash.
The key to these cards in SLI really is the resolution you game at, we can't emphasize enough the importance of a high resolution when this much graphics card power is on offer. The other thing to remember is CPU power; you don't want to be bouncing off a wall due to any CPU limitation. We would recommend at least an overclocked E6400 or above for this kind of setup to take full advantage of it.
What would be interesting to check out is how the halved memory of the 8800GTS 320MB impacts SLI performance - 640MB vs. 1080MB but of course you'll end up spending a lot more money on the cards with the extra RAM onboard. In other testing we saw that the higher resolution gaming experience took quite an impact in some sectors when compared to the 640MB version. No doubt we will do some research and hopefully be back with another SLI article in a little while looking closer at this subject area or maybe a couple 8800GTS 320MB factory overclocked graphics cards in SLI.
At present you'll be well served with a pair of MSI's GeForce 8800GTS 320MB cards in SLI and make most of your friends quite jealous we'd imagine - just make sure you have a CPU and motherboard which is also up to the task and don't forget that AMD and ATI's upcoming R600 will probably be on shop shelves around May and nVidia might retaliate with a souped up version of the G80 called GeForce 8800 Ultra around about the same and either may end up being a better buy if you can wait.
Loads of great performance for high resolution gamers
Aggressive pricing making MSI brand more affordable than others
HDCP for HD DVD and Blu-ray playback
Dual Link DVI for 30" LCD owners
Light package missing full version game
Single card solution better for 1600 x 1200 and below
Rating - 8 out of 10
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [The Package]
- Page 3 [The Card]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - PREY]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Company of Heroes]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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