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NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS 512MB G92 Tested

We've received an anonymous sample of the yet to be released 8800GTS G92 based graphics card which we put to the test.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Nov 27 2007 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Introduction





Update: We've just run benchmark tests of the 8800GTS in Crysis under Windows XP with DirectX 9.

Also worth noting is that we've carried over our Crysis test results from when we had both an 8800GTX and Ultra in our lab. You will find these results on page 18.


*Knock Knock*

As I wander over to the door on a typical Tuesday afternoon I'm greeted by the usual fellow, a courier! With a box in hand and PDA for me to sign I was expecting what was just going to be another run of the mill sample.

Generally speaking, I see who it's shipped from and remember what exactly it is before I put it in a pile which has an imaginary "To Do" sign above it; but this was different. The name written on it was unfamiliar to me, so I open the white box not knowing what to expect and low and behold, there is a note!



Below that note was a graphics card, and not just any old graphics card, oh no! This is the highly anticipated 8800GTS 512MB G92!



The only other item was a CD which had drivers on it. This is the story of the new G92 based 8800GTS, so sit back and be prepared to be taken on an adventure of fast graphics cards and even faster results.

Clearly I had a mission ahead, and of course have chosen to accept!

The Card




In an all black OEM design there isn't a whole lot to see when faced straight on with the 8800GTS. Unlike the 8800GT we find ourselves with a dual slot cooler which carries with it a bigger fan.



This generally means two things for us, less noise and better cooling. The cooler of course takes up pretty much the whole front of the card with only a PCI Express port showing at the bottom.



The design of the card is all very standard for today's generation. Heading to the right of the card we have a single PCI Express power connector between the plastic from the heatsink and the PCB.



As you would expect we have only a single SLI connector sitting across the top of the card which we unfortunately won't be making use of today. It's possible that we've seen the last of the dual connector design for the 8 series. It will be interesting to see if it pops up in the next generation of NVIDIA cards due out early next year.



Moving onto the I/O side of things we continue with the very standard lay out, Dual DVI connectors of which both offer Dual Link connectivity with a maximum resolution of up to 2560 x 1600, and our little TV-Out port. AMD continue to offer Video In/Video Out (VIVO) on their high-end cards and NVIDIA continue not to offer it. For the most part we don't think it's that important of a feature but the inclusion of it on the AMD offerings is a nice one nonetheless.


Talking Spec

Getting down to the nitty gritty there are some key details we should make mention of. Based on the new G92 core, we have the standard features to come with it such as PCI Express 2.0, a 65nm die and 1:1 texture addressing units : texture filtering units.

These are the features we know to be standard across all of the upcoming 8800GTS G92 based graphics cards, but as far as model specifics go we have in this case 512MB of GDDR3 memory. That 512MB comes clocked in at 1940MHz DDR while the core and shader clocks come in at 650MHz and 1625MHz respectively.

The memory bus comes in at a reduced 256-bit like the 8800GT, which is oddly enough down from the original 8800GTS 320/640 which had with it a 320-bit bus.

Not all is lost though! To put the speed into comparison the 8800GT sports 512MB of DDR3 memory at 1800MHz DDR and with a core speed of 600MHz. The 320MB/640MB DDR3 8800GTS cards came in with a memory speed of 1600MHz DDR and a core speed of 500MHz.

Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): ASUS Blitz Extreme (Supplied by ASUS)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Corsair XMS3 DDR-3 1066MHz 7-7-7-21 (Supplied by Corsair)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA-2
Power Supply: SevenTeam ST 850W (Supplied by Bronet)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 7.10, Forceware 169.01, Forceware 169.06 (8800GTS 512MB)

We would've loved to have included loads of cards for our comparison, but with limited time we just didn't get the chance. We don't have an 8800GTX on hand in the lab at the moment and hunting one down has become next to impossible with no one having any stock of the card.

What we have included though is what we believe to be a number of very important cards. There is of course the HD 2900 XT and the 8800GTS 320MB. What?! No 640MB card included you say? - Who are we kidding, the difference is so tiny that it doesn't really matter which one you use for the most part.

Next up is the new G92 based 8800GT which we looked at the other week along with the new AMD 3870 coming from ASUS.

If you're in the market for a new high-end video card you have three options; 8800GT, 3870 and of course the new 8800GTS 512MB. What's really important is which one should you buy?

With the standard array of benchmarks ranging from synthetic to real world and Windows XP to Vista we hope to be able to tell you that by the end of this review. Is the new G92 based 8800GTS worth looking at? Let's find out!


3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.




Straight away we see a good jump on the previous 8800GTS and a little lead on the 8800GT.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




We can see that when things become a bit more intensive the lead on the 8800GT increases and the new G92 based 8800GTS really separates itself from the 3870.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode One opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode One with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




Moving into the real world department, decent gains when compared to the 8800GT are only seen at the higher resolution.

Benchmarks - Prey


Prey

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here




Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.




Big gains all over the place here; a huge performance increase from the older 8800GTS 320MB, and the AMD based 3870 struggles as normal under OpenGL.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R.

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.vugames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/
Buy It Here




F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.





The 8800GTS manages to sit in a decent position here, nothing too out of the ordinary.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.






The more intensive COH sees excellent gains again at the higher resolution. It's becoming clear where this card is aimed at.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict (DX9)

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





WIC minimums sit very tight with the GTS again being better at the higher resolution.

High Quality AA and AF




Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



Wow! 10k with AA and AF on! This is very impressive and we can see that the AA and AF strengths of NVIDIA really show here.


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)



Huge gains over the older 8800GTS 320MB; not massive over the 8800GT though.


Prey



We again see excellent gains when compared to the older 8800GTS 320MB, and of course being an OpenGL based game the gains are decent when compared to the 3870.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - Vista


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




We see big numbers under Vista with 3DMark06. We can see the higher resolution cracking 10k with ease and working towards 11k while the 8800GT still sits a fair bit back from 10k.

Benchmarks - Call of Juarez (DX10) - Vista


Call of Juarez (DX10)

Version and / or Patch Used: DX10 Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.techland.pl/en/
Product Homepage: http://www.coj-game.com
Buy It Here




Call of Juarez is a Western-themed FPS from Techland. The North America release was one of the first games to utilize DX10.

Call of Juarez is loosely based on a number of Western movie hits from the last four decades, particularly the Spaghetti Westerns that became popular in the sixties and early seventies. The game features two different characters: Billy "Candle", a young fugitive accused of murder and the Reverend Ray, an ex-outlaw who turned to religion, believing that God Himself has chosen Ray to be the instrument of His wrath.





We finally see some competition in COJ where the AMD offerings have continued to dominate this benchmark. While the 3870 does come out ahead we wouldn't say that it dominates the 8800GTS 512MB.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet (DX10) - Vista


Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_lostplanet_home.html




Driven to the brink of extinction on ice-covered wastelands, humankind fights to survive. From extreme conditions and insurgent Snow Pirates to hostile gargantuan alien Akrid, all that you can trust are your instincts.

Combining a gripping single player campaign and intense multiplayer modes with support for up to 16 players online, Lost Planet is an epic gaming masterpiece. Enormous world maps unfold as players' battle across vast snow fields and deserted cities either on foot or in armed, robotic Vital Suits.



Lost Planet really sees a big gain with the new 8800GTS here.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes (DX10) - Vista


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.




COH performance is again good for the 8800GTS, showing roughly a 10% gain at the higher resolution when compared to the 8800GT.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




In the heat department we find it sits around the same as a 3870 while the single slot 8800GT continues to run very warm indeed. It's no surprise temperature is considerably up compared to the older 8800GTS 320MB, simply because of the amount of power on offer from the new G92 based version.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




Like you would expect, the bigger fan has helped keep noise way down. It sits in line with the older 8800GTS 320MB and the new 3870. The smaller fan on the 8800GT really manages to squeal away creating quite the noise indeed.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




Power manages to take a big jump from the 8800GT and we see we're almost at HD 2900 XT power levels again. There's no denying that you're going to want a decent power supply if you're going to run one or two of these bad boys.

Final Thoughts




It shouldn't come as any real surprise that the new G92 based 8800GTS is quite the performer. This really opens up a whole lot of questions though, and how exactly NVIDIA attack the market with this card will be interesting as well.

NVIDIA always takes pride in having stock when the NDA is lifted, and it doesn't look like this is going to be any different. A few suppliers have told us that they have ordered their stock and come December 11th they will be shipping their cards off to the local retailers.

This is all good and well, but the 8800GT had stock for about five minutes. Will we see the same issue with the new 8800GTS 512MB? Well, for starters the card is going to cost about $50 - $100 USD more than the RRP of the 8800GT. The problem is that the 8800GT is in such short supply that the card's price has been jacked up $50 - $75 USD meaning that the card could almost come in at the same price.

This is what I personally think will happen all over again; the 8800GT 512MB will be gone. NVIDIA have released it and caused a big drama by getting everyone excited and taking the attention away from the 3870.

The 256MB version of the 8800GT will come out and of course it won't be as good as the 512MB version, though it should run off the already well established name. The GTS will come in on December 11th and be fairly well priced at around $299 - $349 USD.

We all know that the majority of graphics card purchases are going to happen between now and probably up until around the 20th of December. After that, retailers are going to hit a dry spell for the simple fact that if you could hold off from purchasing a graphics card just before Christmas you can hold off until we see the new NVIDIA based DX10 cards come in January.

I could be wrong though, maybe the 8800GTS 512MB will come out on December 11th and we will see a bucket load of 8800GT 512MB stock pop up at the same time, but with local Australian distributors' back orders sitting in the 100s and stock coming in the 10s I can't see how that's going to change in the next week or two.

With all that said though, what are our thoughts on the 8800GTS 512MB? Well, quite frankly we love it. It's a good step up from the 8800GT if you're venturing into 1920 x 1200 territory, and the card also manages to do better with less noise and heat which is always great.

The 3870 and 8800GT will continue to battle it out, but even with a decent driver update it's probably safe to say that 3870 performance isn't going to catch up to the 8800GTS 512MB. That's ok though, as the card is not only cheaper than the 8800GTS but also the 8800GT. What's more, stock availability is much healthier.



We thought we would do a quick little overclock of the card before we wrapped things up. With a core speed of 720MHz and 2104MHz DDR on the 512MB of GDDR3 we managed to climb up and over 14,500 in 3DMark06. It will be interesting to see what the likes of BFG and ASUS do with their OC2 and TOP models respectively.

8800GTX stock has pretty much dried up and is overpriced now. The Ultra is just an absolute sick waste of money and the 3870 really has nothing on the new G92 based variant of the 8800GTS. This means that if you're looking for a top video card this Christmas the 8800GTS 512MB is probably going to be the card you're looking at.

When the NDA lifts early next month we will begin to look at some brands and see what they've managed to do with the new 8800GTS 512MB. Of course we have to thank the mystery company who sent us the card; you know who you are!


Update: We've just run benchmark tests of the 8800GTS in Crysis under Windows XP with DirectX 9.

Also worth noting is that we've carried over our Crysis test results from when we had both an 8800GTX and Ultra in our lab. You will find these results on page 18.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis (XP DX9)

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here




From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.






Crysis performance is great, and thanks to having some extra cards on hand when we tested Crysis previously you can see how the new 8800GTS 512MB fairs against the GTX and Ultra variants of the 8800 series.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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