TweakTown

Palit GeForce 8800GT Sonic Graphics Card

Palit are reknowned for offering a quality well priced graphics card. We see if this holds true for the 8800GT Sonic.
@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Thu, Dec 13 2007 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Palit

Introduction

IntroductionAnother day, another 8800GT; this time it comes in the form of a Palit offering. The good news is it's a bit more interesting than your standard run of the mill 8800GT which we have all become so accustom to now.Palit has decided to mix it up this time around with a new heatsink/fan combination, and we've got to say that it's about time we saw something other than the loud, hot, boring, single slot cooler that we have seen from most other manufacturers over the past few weeks.Palit do a good job of impressing us here; they seem to be consistently one of the cheapest partners on the market but it doesn't seem to come at the cost of specs or build quality. Let's hope that the latest card from them in the Palit 8800GT Sonic doesn't disappoint us.Well there's only one way to find out if the card does it for us or not, and that's by diving deep within the box. Before we do though, let's have a quick look at the box itself.

The Package

The PackageAhhh, Frobot. You've got to love the cool green frog in his robot suit. Like all high-end models from Palit, instead of opting for the standard flat color they use the funky reflective type; and as usual being an NVIDIA card it follows with a green box.The front of the box gives us the standard run down as usual, we can see the brand across the top left corner along with the top right corner giving us the standard run down of Vista Certification, NVIDIA chipset and of course HDCP ready.
The bottom left corner shows us that a copy of Tomb Raider Anniversary is included in the package, and moving to the right we have more details on the card like the model, clocks of both the memory and core, amount of RAM, connectivity options along with the HDMI inclusion and PCI Express 2.0 support.
Turning the box over, we have some more technical information in a multitude of languages. Across the bottom we also have some more logos along with the Palit website and e-mail address.
Moving inside the package we have a quick installation guide in the paperwork department along with a driver disk and copy of Tomb Raider Anniversary as we saw mentioned on the front of the box.
The cable department is a pretty standard affair; apart from the normal component/RCA out, molex to PCI Express connector and DVI to VGA connector we also have a DVI to HDMI connector included.The package is pretty standard for a Palit card, everything you need to get up and running without any real drama along with the inclusion of a full version game. In this case we also have a DVI to HDMI connector which is nice.

The Card

The CardWith the package out the way it's time to move onto the card and straight away we can see the inclusion of the new cooler that Palit has decided to use. Using a blue colored aluminum, the cooler feels excellent and is up to the normal high grade that we have become accustom to from Palit.
Due to the design not covering the whole card, Palit have also placed a heatsink towards the back right of the card to cover some of the hotter components. We can also see the plate in the background that covers the memory which is nice; it is so often that we see companies just chuck a heatsink on the core and not worry about any of the other components.
As you would expect, we have the standard PCI Express power connector which is a lot more visible this time around thanks to it not being covered under a bit of the heatsink fan cover as normal. We can also see a closer look at the heatsink that is down the back of the card.
The top of the card also has the standard SLI connector like all other 8800GT cards, and here we can also see a better look of how the plate covers the memory to help keep all components on the card cool.
Finally we move over to the I/O department of things and we have with us our Dual DVI ports which of course support up to a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 thanks to their Dual Link connectivity, along with the standard TV Out port.What we can also see here is that the card is now a dual slot one as opposed to all the other 8800GT cards we have seen which use the standard single slot heatsink. It's not really a huge deal with so many people becoming used to the idea of a decent video card taking up two slots, and if it helps keep both the noise and the temperature down when compared to the stock 8800GT then it's worth it as far as we're concerned.SpecificationsLike we had mentioned earlier, this particular card carries the Sonic name which tells us hat it comes pre-overclocked out of the box. Palit hasn't gone too crazy with the speeds and has chosen to simply bump the core up to 650MHz over the standard 600MHz, with the memory moving up to 1900MHz DDR over the standard 1800MHz DDR. The shader clock has also taken an increase thanks to the core going up which moves it from 1500MHz to 1650MHz.

Test System Setup and 3DMark05

Test System SetupProcessor(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 Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows VistaDrivers: Catalyst 7.10, Forceware 169.01, Forceware 169.06 (8800GTS 512MB)Going into the arena with our Palit 8800GT Sonic is a stock clocked 8800GT from ASUS and the older HD 2900 XT from MSI which is also stock clocked.We'll run through all the normal benchmarks, resolutions and operating systems and we will finish up with our thoughts on the Palit 8800GT Sonic and see if they continue to impress us like they have in the past.3DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
We can see the overclocked core and memory really give it the jump when compared to the stock clocked offering from ASUS.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
These gains are also seen when we move to the more intensive 3DMark06.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)

Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from SteamTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.comBuy 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.
Good gains in source are seen as we climb up the resolution ladder, with the lowest resolution not really showing any difference between a stock clocked offering and the overclocked Palit.

Benchmarks - Prey

PreyVersion and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom BenchmarkDeveloper Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com Product Homepage: http://www.prey.comBuy 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.
Prey sees gains from the lowest resolution all the way to the top.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R.Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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.
F.E.A.R. shows some decent gains at both resolutions, but it's clear you're not going to have any drama playing the game on either of these graphics cards.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes

Company of HeroesVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.7Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.relic.comProduct Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.comBuy 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.
Good gains across the board for COH when we check out the overclocked offering from Palit against the stock one from ASUS.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in Conflict (DX9)Version and / or Patch Used: DemoTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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 paints a similar picture across the board with over 40FPS minimum at the high 1920 x 1200 resolution.

High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AFOur 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
Good gains are continued to be seen when we turn on AA and AF. Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)
The source based engine continues to show gains with the overclocked card.Prey
Turning on AA and AF in Prey sees a gain, but nothing huge like we have seen in other games.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - Vista

3DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct 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.
Like you would expect, the overclock on offer from Palit continues to show under Vista.

Benchmarks - Call of Juarez (DX10) - Vista

Call of Juarez (DX10)Version and / or Patch Used: DX10 Benchmark DemoTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.techland.pl/en/ Product Homepage: http://www.coj-game.comBuy 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.
COJ sees some big gains but you can see it's still a very intensive test with a minimum of 21.9FPS at the lowest resolution.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet (DX10) - Vista

Lost Planet: Extreme ConditionVersion and / or Patch Used: DemoTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper 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 seems to get a big gain with the overclocked spec.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes (DX10) - Vista

Company of HeroesVersion and / or Patch Used: 1.7Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.relic.comProduct Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.comBuy 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.
We finish our benchmarking with Company of Heroes managing to see gains across the board.

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.
As you would expect, the better quality cooler helps bring the temp way down.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).
The bigger fan also manages to keep noise down to a minimum.

Power Consumption Tests

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.
No real extra power is needed for the new fan on the Sonic.

Final Thoughts

Final ThoughtsPalit has done an excellent job with the 8800GT, and when it came to doing a bit of overclocking we managed to get past 740MHz and 2000MHz DDR on the memory. What this helped us get was performance above the new G92 8800GTS.There is a lot we like about this card; for starters the fact that it's pre-overclocked is always a nice thing. The aftermarket cooler is simply bliss, the noise and temperature on the stock one is just horrible and it's great to see something better. Sure it manages to take up two slots but it's not really a drama.The fact that Palit has also managed to include a full version game and keep price quite competitive is also another good thing.All in all, the card just has a lot going for it and it's one of the best 8800GT cards that we have seen to date. No doubt there are going to be a number of people having a hunt for this particular card. For all these reasons above, the card gets the TweakTown Editors Choice award for literally getting a tick in all the right boxes. Palit haven't disappointed again, and we'll be keeping an eye out for what they do with the new G92 based 8800GTS 512MB.
What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

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.
Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles