Introduction

We have spent a bit of time lately looking at retail GeForce 8800 hardware, and while the GTX is quite a powerful part, the GTS 320MB is the most important card in NVIDIA's lineup right now. It is finally time for us to take a look at what the market has to offer in terms of the currently most affordable 8 Series hardware. As we saw in our initial review, the 8800 GTS 320MB provides excellent performance in all but the most memory intensive situations for people with the most popular panel sizes.

Our exploration of retail 8800 GTS 320MB hardware will look at a few different factory overclocked models alongside one stock speed card to get an idea of what kind of value these options offer. This is a parallel to our recent factory overclocked 8800 roundup, and we hope to learn if the same trends we saw in GTX and 640MB GTS hardware still hold true for the 320MB variety.

The major metric for judging the value of these cards will be in understanding how much performance gain an overclocked card offers relative to its price premium. In other words, we want to see if we can expect more or less performance per dollar when looking at any given card. It certainly is true that some people will want the fastest card they can afford and won't care if they're paying a premium, but price is more important for this class of card than for the ultra high end hardware; anyone looking for the fastest cards possible without regards to price is already going to be looking at 8800 GTX cards.

ASUS GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB
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  • bob4432 - Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - link

    obviously they are all using nvidia's reference design for the pcb and most for the cooling setup. now when a company like evga orders their multi-thousand gpu order, do they spec out what exact ram chips they want vs msi, asus or xfx? to me the cards look identical to even the purple on the solid caps we can see coming out the back. is this for the memory ics too?

    would i be correct in saying that you are basically picking a brand based strictly on customer service and warranty as the cards are all pretty close in performance since they are just using the nvidia design and are not designing the cards in house?
    Reply
  • KCjoker - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    I just bought a EVGA 8800GTS 320mb that came at the stock 500/1600 speeds for $260USD. I would've got the 640mb version but since I only game at 1280X1024 I didn't see the need. This card rips through games at stock but I have OC'd(600/1900) it anyway since EVGA's Lifetime warranty covers it so long as you don't physically damage the card. If you're looking for a great mid range card this is it. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    quote:

    If you're looking for a great mid range card this is it.


    I dont know if I would consider ANY 8 series cards right_now "mid-range". Mid-range, in my head, that would be a 7 series card, with 6 series cards being botttom feeders.
    Reply
  • bigpow - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    do what I did, skip all the PC upgrades and just buy an Xbox 360
    Reply
  • mkruer - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    I assume that the power is for the whole system. I did not read anything explicitly stating this. Reply
  • SleepyItes - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    On the XFX page, "The XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB Extreme is bundled with Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter just like the MSI card."

    Should be "...just like the Asus card."
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    thanks Reply
  • Spacecomber - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    Do stock 8800 GTS cards readily overclock to the same range of speeds that these factory overclocked cards offer? Do these factory overclocked cards have the potential for more overclocking than what you can accomplish with the standard clock speed cards? In particular, didn't you guys want to know whether the Sparkle cooler offers the potential for even more overclocking, beyond what it is set to at the factory? Reply
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    Is there any chance of getting a case mounted temp sensor for these reviews?
    It seems to me that you would have to make a tradeoff with the Sparkle. Sure, you get lower GPU temps, but that heat and the heat from the TEC has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is going to be "somewhere else inside the case", since it doesn't appear to have any kind of exhausting fan setup.
    Reply
  • metalfan49 - Tuesday, March 27, 2007 - link

    I was thinking about this too. Especially as summer is coming and I won't have the weather to help keep my stuff cool. Reply

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