The GeForce 8800 Ultra

Physically, the layout of the board is no different, but NVIDIA has put quite a bit of work into their latest effort. The first and most noticeable change is the HSF.

We have been very happy with NVIDIA's stock cooling solutions for the past few years. This HSF solution is no different, as it offers quiet and efficient cooling. Of course, this could be due to the fact that the only real changes are the position of the fan and the shape of the shroud.

Beyond cooling, NVIDIA has altered the G80 silicon. Though they could not go into the specifics, NVIDIA indicated that layout has been changed to allow for higher clocks. They have also enhanced the 90nm process they are using to fab the chips. Adjustments targeted at improving clock speed and reducing power (which can sometimes work against each other) were made. We certainly wish NVIDIA could have gone into more detail on this topic, but we are left to wonder exactly what is different with the new revision of G80.

As far as functionality is concerned, no features have changed between the 8800 GTX and the 8800 Ultra. What we have, for all intents and purposes, is an overclocked 8800 GTX. Here's a look at the card:



While we don't normally look at overclocking with reference hardware, NVIDIA suggested that there is much more headroom available in the 8800 Ultra than on the GTX. We decided to put the card to the test, but we will have to wait until we get our hands on retail boards to see what end users can realistically expect.

Using nTune, we were able to run completely stable at 684MHz. This is faster than any of our 8800 GTX hardware has been able to reach. Shader clock increases with core clock when set under nTune. The hardware is capable of independent clocks, but currently NVIDIA doesn't allow users to set the clocks independently without the use of a BIOS tweaking utility.

We used RivaTuner to check out where our shader clock landed when setting core clock speed in nTune. With a core clock of 684MHz, we saw 1674MHz on the shader. Pushing nTune up to 690 still gave us a core clock of 684MHz but with a shader clock of 1728MHz. The next core clock speed available is 702MHz which also pairs with 1728MHz on the shader. We could run some tests at these higher speeds, but our reference board wasn't able to handle the heat and locked up without completing our stress test.

It is possible we could see some hardware vendors release 8800 Ultra parts with over 100MHz higher core clocks than stock 8800 GTX parts, which could start to get interesting at the $700+ price range. It does seem that the revised G80 silicon may be able to hit 700+ MHz core clocks with 1.73GHz shader clocks with advanced (read: even more expensive) cooling solutions. That is, if our reference board is actually a good indication of retail parts. As we mentioned, we will have to wait and see.

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  • nefariouscaine - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    thats is way over priced for the gain (or loss) in performance I see here. I just hope that the test bed (which I doubt) is bottlenecking the speeds. But the cost for a BFG water cooled (pre-installed) 8800GTX is high 750-900 so this isn't that far out of the ball park for what some people will pay (I'm not one of em). I'm excited to see what ATI(AMD) is going to step up with as I'm not too impressed with the new parts we've seen from Nvidia this past month. I'm not a brand fan boy but a performance fan boy - someone please release something to wow the living $#!* outta me again Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    quote:

    We are all for higher performance, and we don't mind higher prices. But it is ridiculous to charge an exorbitant amount of money for something that doesn't offer any benefit over a product already on the market. $830 isn't the issue. In fact, we would love to see a graphics card worth $830. The 8800 Ultra just isn't it.


    Look guys, $830 for a graphics card is F'n WAY too much. I do not care what you say, how you try and justify the cost, whatever, the cost is too much, even if the card performed much better. This just goes to show, how greedy these people are, much like the memory comcpanies who have finaly comes down to a semi reasonable price.

    We the people, and you the reviewers, need to let these greedy a-holes know that these prices are way too much, and that we will not except them. Until then, you, myself, and everyone else can exspect to pay out the rear for crappy stuff, such as this.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Well, if people don't feel it is acceptable they don't buy it, I mean these are luxury products they aren't critical to survival so the sky's the limit on the price of these things. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    There are people who buy 2 8800GTX cards to run SLI, so some are willing to spend that much on video. This card just doesn't offer the performance to go with the price.

    I know in the past Anandtech has not been big fans of SLI, but assuming the price on the 8800 Ultra does stay at $830+, it would be interesting to see tests of it vs 2 8800GTS cards in SLI, as price would be similar.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Unfortunately due to some issues of SLI scaling or driver immaturity according to the TechReport 8800 GTS 640 SLI is for the most part inferior to 8800 Ultra. :( The only thing SLI is better at is Oblivion. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    you mean, there are some people out there with more money, than brains, right ? I am not putting you, or anyone else down on this subject (well maybe the manufactuers for trying to pull a fast one), but this is so freeking obvious, I figured I better say something before someone else does. I also understand that any company out there, is in business to make money, first and foremost, but come on . . .this is blatantly obvious greed.

    Anyhow, appearantly, my father teaching me, when I was young, to always try and respect everyone, and not to cheat,steal from anyone (especially a customer), was wrong, because obviously, everyone now days just seems to be interrested in money only, a screw the morals attitude. Lie, cheat, steal your way into becomming a big business, and if these three methods do not work, what next ? These common tactics practiced by the PC markets big OEMs is no better than the average theif on the street mugging you. As a matter of a fact, I say it is worse, because at least everyone should be able to figure out the theifs true intentions are, and call them what they really are.

    Ask yourself why, not two months ago, you were paying $250 usd + for an average 2GB DDR2 6400 kit. Take a look at the currect prices, and wonder again(a hint: it is hovering right around ~$100 usd right now).

    Anyhow, prices like these, and higher are to be expected if we never see another ATI(AMD), and nVidia, has shown me their true colors.
    Reply
  • sxr7171 - Thursday, May 03, 2007 - link

    Yeah because they are twisting your arm really hard so that you buy this and it hurts badly. There is a big difference between a mugging and an offer to buy something, it's called coercion. Look it up sometime. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Sunday, May 06, 2007 - link

    There is another word, it is called 'monopoly', look it up sometime, and hope it does not come into play here any time soon, because we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

    Ask yourself why this year, prices have jumped roughly 250%-300%, when years past, prices for graphics cards climbed gradualy. There is something called 'fair market value', and then there is blatant robbery. Maybe the cards are actually worth this much ? Given the benchmark results, they are not.

    Yeah, whatever . . . right ? Anyhow, this kind of 'tactics' on nVidias behalf has made me re-think my potition on who to buy graphics cards from, and nVidia better hope ATI does not come out with anything near what they have, because they will lose market share, the way I see things.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, May 03, 2007 - link

    Well, personally, I wouldn't consider spending any more than $150 on a video card. I don't play games, so the only reason I bought something as good as the 7600GT I have is that a) it was $90 after rebate, b) I wanted to be sure I had enough power to drive my 1920x1200 display without any issues, and c) i didn't want a card stealing from my system memory. Now I understand people who are into gaming and want to spend their money on it, after all some would probably say I'm crazy to spend $1400 on a lens for my camera. So if nVidia (or AMD, or whoever) released a $830 video card that was 25% better than anything else out there, I'd be fine with it. I wouldn't buy it, but wouldn't consider it a dumb move for those who want one.

    Also, I don't think they are stealing from their customers. Assuming you are buying based on the specs as-delivered (and not based on possible overclocking headroom) then you know what you are getting, and are willing to pay more for it. It's not like they took preorders promising something much better and then delivered the current configuration.

    I have no idea why RAM jumped up to the high of around Christmastime (maybe high demand, maybe another factory fire, who knows), but now that a second 2GB kit to match what is in my system is $102, I'm highly tempted to get more.
    Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    'companies' / 'expect' . . . Reply

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