GIGABYTE GeForce 8800GT TurboForce

The 8800GT is a terrific graphics card, period. But let's see if GIGABYTE can make their TurboForce edition stand out.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sun, Mar 2 2008 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:04 PM CST
Rating: 82%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction





GIGABYTE graphics cards seem to be few and far between these days because they like to do things a bit differently. We're all for standing out from the pack, and the latest card from GIGABYTE to jump into that category would be the TurboForce Edition of the 8800GT.

GIGABYTE have a nice little thing going on at the moment; we get a card from them, it's got a nice aftermarket cooler, it's got some decent OC specs along with a pretty good bundle. This is always nice to see in the world of graphics cards, and at least it keeps it interesting.

They have also recently introduced their Ultra Durable 2 technology into their graphics cards to give them a bit more of an edge. Sure you pay more for a GIGABYTE graphics card, but we tend to find that it's worth it. What we need to find out now though is whether or not you should spend more on the GIGABYTE 8800GT.

The Package




The front of the box looks very cool with its Neverwinter Nights 2 theme. Across the top of the card we can see the brand and some NVIDIA logos to the right. Smack bang in the middle of the box we have a giant NWN2 logo.



Moving around the box, the bottom gives us the model and some more details on the card. The right of the box lets us know that it's a TurboForce Edition, comes with NWN2 and uses the Ultra Durable 2 technology.



Going to the back of the box we have mention of the Zalman fan across the top along with some more details on the card. The main focus on the back though is the Ultra Durable 2 highlight. This gives you an idea of what exactly you gain from these features. It's nice to see GIGABYTE explain this as so often you see someone release a product with new fangled features but not actually explain the advantage.



Moving inside the package the cable department is pretty light. We have the little TV-Out box that we see with most GIGABYTE cards along with a DVI to VGA connector and Molex to PCI Express connector.



Paperwork wise there isn't a whole lot more; manual, quick install guide and game manual along with a driver CD and a copy of Neverwinter Nights 2. The package isn't all that exciting but GIGABYTE tends to let the features of the card do the talking more so than the bundle.

The Card




With the package out the way it's time to move onto the card and see what exactly GIGABYTE has done with the 8800GT 512MB. The Zalman cooler that they use isn't anything new, we've seen it used on the HD 3870 that GIGABYTE released a few months back.



With that said though, it really is a tried and tested cooler that seems to be extremely efficient. The copper in the middle of the cooler helps move the heat and the aluminum fins help the heat dissipate quickly.

Like the Leadtek 8800GT that also used a Zalman cooler, be it a different model GIGABYTE have chosen not to cool the memory on the card. While it probably isn't needed people still like to have it cooled.





Having a quick look around the card there isn't much else to it really. The rear of the card has a single PCI Express power connector that is needed while the top has a single SLI connector like the standard 8800GT.



The I/O department is also very standard with two Dual Link DVI ports and a single TV-Out port.


Specifications

GPU-Z doesn't seem to be a big fan of the GIGABYTE offering which puts out some unknown figures, as seen below.



What we can tell you though is that the core is up from the stock 600MHz to a juicy 700MHz, the shader clock follows the big increase moving from 1500MHz to 1675MHz and finally the memory has moved from the stock 1800MHz DDR to 1900MHz DDR.

These are some pretty nice increases and should result to a card that can scream along.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


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): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 8.1, Forceware 174.11 (9600GT Win XP), Forceware 171.16 (9600GT Win Vista)

We should all have a pretty good understanding of the upgraded test bed and lineup of games, so we won't go into any detail there. What we've done though is compare the GIGABYTE 8800GT TurboForce against the Leadtek 8800GT which also carries a Zalman cooler and comes pre-overclocked, though not as highly. We've also included the Galaxy 9600GT to see what kind of gains a highly overclocked 8800GT offers us against the mildly overclocked Galaxy 9600GT.


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 the superior overclock on the GIGABYTE 8800GT giving us a nice little jump on the overclocked Leadtek 8800GT.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.






Moving over to PT Boats we can see that the overclock doesn't seem to be as helpful this time around.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




CINEBENCH manages to get a negative effect from the overclock with the score going down to about the same as the Galaxy 9600GT.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode Two 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 Two 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 Two 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.




Episode Two manages to see some gains from the overclock, but with big numbers already they're not exactly what you would call noticeable.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
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 gets an FPS bump across the board when compared to the lesser overclocked Leadtek offering.

Benchmarks - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars


Enemy Territory: Quake Wars

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Version
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.splashdamage.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.enemyterritory.com/





Enemy Territory: Quake Wars is the latest Quake incarnation to make it out of the iD labs and carries with it a fast paced experience that manages to place a good amount of strain on your graphics card.

We use a custom made time demo which shows a bit of everything and manages to give us a good solid benchmark for the graphics cards that we test.




ETQW also sees a little increase at all resolutions, though nothing major.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
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 sees small bumps with the overclock, but again nothing major.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




UT3 manages to really make use of the overclocking with a gain of almost 10FPS at the highest 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



Moving back to 3DMark06, and this time with AA and AF on we can see the overclock from the GIGABYTE offering really throwing it out in front again.


Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR)



Episode Two on the other hand shows just a slight increase that equates to about 5%.


World In Conflict





WIC sees a small bump again like our non AA/AF tests.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


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.




With Windows XP loaded up and a run of 3DMark we can again see the speed increase across all resolutions on the GIGABYTE 8800GT.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).




Windows XP CINEBENCH performance paints a different picture with the GIGABYTE coming out ahead this time, though all cards are quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
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.





That small gain in World in Conflict is continued to be seen under Windows XP.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.




At the lower resolution the lower clocked Leadtek comes out ahead here, though when we climb up in resolution the GIGABYTE offering continues to take the lead.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode Two HDR) - XP


Half Life 2 (Episode Two 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 Two 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 Two 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.



Bumps across the board are seen with the GIGABYTE offering, though again we've already got big numbers coming out of all cards.

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.




The older Zalman cooler the GIGABYTE uses runs the card just a little warmer then the newer cooler Leadtek use.


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 older cooler is also slightly louder.

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 usage on a whole is slightly up when compared to the Leadtek offering, nothing too major though.

Final Thoughts




The GIGABYTE 8800GT is quite the performer and continues to show good gains over the Leadtek offering. While the cooler might not be as effective due to it being louder and hotter than the newer Zalman used on the Leadtek, personally I think it looks better.

Value wise the GIGABYTE offering is pretty good; it comes in a little pricier than your normal brands, but that's to be expected with the cooler and the massive overclock.

At the end of it all though, we feel a bit disappointed with the GIGABYTE 8800GT offering. When we tested the HD 3870 Ultra Durable 2 model the card ran cooler and with less power than the competition. The 8800GT on the other hand doesn't really seem to have this advantage. Yes, it's cooler than a reference design, but that's to be expected with the aftermarket cooler. Power pretty much sits at the same level though.

On a whole the GIGABYTE 8800GT is a good card, the bundle isn't bad with the inclusion of Neverwinter Nights 2 and the overclock on offer is very healthy. The card is going to be popular because GIGABYTE is a trusted brand which always put out quality products.

You're not going to be disappointed with the GIGABYTE 8800GT TurboForce. It does what it's supposed to do and does it well.

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.

Newsletter Subscription

Similar Content

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
Buyer Guides
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles