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.

Index The Test
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  • redbone75 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    You meant we will not "accept" them;) Reply
  • redbone75 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    But anywho, I completely agree with you. I just built a complete rig for a buddy of mine for barely more than that. And I mean, complete, he needed everything from monitor (Samsung 941BW) to keyboard and mouse and speakers(7.1). Core 2 Duo based (E6320 on a Gigabyte DS3, 2 gigs of Corsair DDR2 800, 320GB hdd, X1900 GT). All for under $1100 USD after rebates. Not a gaming rig for sure, but a respectable system nonetheless. Even if I had the money I wouldn't see any justification in buying an $830 card that offered only marginal gains over it's less expensive sibling. Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    What do you mean not a gaming rig? You can game fine on that, the video card can handle native resolution for most games. I game with a slightly lesser system than that. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    If you buy a Ferrari and don't crash it, you can probably resell in 5 years for 80% or more of the cost new. Try that with a video card. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, May 03, 2007 - link

    Please look up exotic car prices. You will find you do NOT get an 80% return on anything other than a few tiny examples of cars that were generally unavailable at the time of their initial offerings. Also note that when you take advantage of the gouging to non-established customers of exotic cars, the depreciation will often be even more than adds would appear to indicate, as the orginal paid-for price may have been much higher than MSRP. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, May 03, 2007 - link

    the "few tiny examples" are the ones that appreciate, such as the Enzo. If you were one of the 399 that bought one from the factory for around $650k, you now have a car worth over a million, and likely to keep heading up as dumb comedians crash them. Something relatively common though, such as a 355 from 10 years ago, is still worth over 50% of new (assuming you bought one through a dealer, not paid extra to get one immediately). Even NSXs from the early 90s are still worth $25-35k. And judging by the current market, even in 20-30 years, the Ferrari will still have some value because it is a Ferrari, independant of actual performance relative to current models. Any computer hardware, unless extremely limited production so that it is a collectors item, will be essentially worthless by the time it is 3 or 4 generations old. Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    There is a difference in the pace of advancement between these 2 industries a new Ferrari from 2003 is not so much inferior compared to the Ferrari from 2008 perse.

    You can barely compare video cards that are 5 years apart. If the pace of advancement was slower video cards would hold their value longer as well.

    Reply
  • ss284 - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Voodoo 5 6000 Reply
  • swaaye - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    Except that V5 6000 was never released to consumer retail and thus it's incredibly rare. So its value is just due to obscurity. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, May 02, 2007 - link

    looks like teh sux0rs.

    unfortunately, ATI still doesn't have anything that can touch any of the 8800's :(
    Reply

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