The Card

The GeForce 8800 GT, whose heart is a G92 GPU, is quite a sleek card. The heatsink shroud covers the entire length of the card so that no capacitors are exposed. The card's thermal envelop is low enough, thanks to the 65nm G92, to require only a single slot cooling solution. Here's a look at the card itself:



The card makes use of two dual-link DVI outputs and a third output for analog HD and other applications. We see a single SLI connector on top of the card, and a single 6-pin PCIe power connector on the back of the card. NVIDIA reports the maximum dissipated power as 105W, which falls within the 150W power envelope provided by the combination of one PCIe power connector and the PCIe x16 slot itself.

The fact that this thing is 65nm has given rise to at least one vendor attempting to build an 8800 GT with a passive cooler. While the 8800 GT does use less power than other cards in its class, we will have to wait and see if passive cooling will remain stable even through the most rigorous tests we can put it through.

Earlier this summer we reviewed NVIDIA's VP2 hardware in the form of the 8600 GTS. The 8800 GTX and GTS both lacked the faster video decode hardware of the lower end 8 Series hardware, but the 8800 GT changes all that. We now have a very fast GPU that includes full H.246 offload capability. Most of the VC-1 pipeline is also offloaded by the GPU, but the entropy encoding used in VC-1 is not hardware accelerated by NVIDIA hardware. This is less important in VC-1, as the decode process is much less strenuous. To recap the pipeline, here is a comparison of different video decode hardware:



NVIDIA's VP2 hardware matches the bottom line for H.264, and the line above for VC-1 and MPEG-2. This includes the 8800 GT.

We aren't including any new tests here, as we can expect performance on the same level as the 8600 GTS. This means a score of 100 under HD HQV, and very low CPU utilization even on lower end dual core processors.

Let's take a look at how this card stacks up against the rest of the lineup:

Form Factor 8800 GTX 8800 GTS 8800 GT 8600 GTS
Stream Processors 128 96 112 32
Texture Address / Filtering 32 / 64 24 / 48 56 / 56 16 / 16
ROPs 24 20 16 8
Core Clock 575MHz 500MHz 600MHz 675MHz
Shader Clock 1.35GHz 1.2GHz 1.5GHz 1.45GHz
Memory Clock 1.8GHz 1.6GHz 1.8GHz

2.0GHz

Memory Bus Width 384-bit 320-bit 256-bit 128-bit
Frame Buffer 768MB 640MB / 320MB 512MB / 256MB 256MB
Transistor Count 681M 681M 754M 289M
Manufacturing Process TSMC 90nm TSMC 90nm TSMC 65nm TSMC 80nm
Price Point $500 - $600 $270 - $450 $199 - $249 $140 - $199


On paper, the 8800 GT completely gets rid of the point of the 8800 GTS. The 8800 GT has more shader processing power, can address and filter more textures per clock, and only falls short in the number of pixels it can write out to memory per clock and overall memory bandwidth. Even then, the memory bandwidth advantage of the 8800 GTS isn't that great (64GB/s vs. 57.6GB/s), amounting to only 11% thanks to the 8800 GT's slightly higher memory clock. If the 8800 GT does end up performing the same, if not better, than the 8800 GTS then NVIDIA will have truly thrown down an amazing hand.

You see, the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB was an incredible performer upon its release, but it was still priced too high for the mainstream. NVIDIA turned up the heat with a 320MB version, which you'll remember performed virtually identically to the 640MB while bringing the price down to $300. With the 320MB GTS, NVIDIA gave us the performance of its $400 card for $300, and now with the 8800 GT, NVIDIA looks like it's going to give us that same performance for $200. And all this without a significant threat from AMD.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we'll need to see how the 8800 GT and 8800 GTS 320MB really do stack up. On paper the decision is clear, but we need some numbers to be sure. And we can't get to the numbers until we cover a couple more bases The only other physical point of interest about the 8800 GT is the fact that it takes advantage of the PCIe 2.0 specification. Let's take a look at what that really means right now.

G92: Funky Naming for a G80 Derivative The First PCIe 2.0 Graphics Card
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  • Nick388 - Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - link

    Never thought the 8800 GT was this good! I found some really low prices at this website (http://www.videocardemporium.com)">http://www.videocardemporium.com), but I'm still unsure if I want to try to get two of these in SLI or go for the 9600 GT. Or maybe just slurge for the GTX 280 >.< Reply
  • sickish - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    Just ordered mine Friday, should be here Wednesday.
    I was lucky, ordered it from Newegg at $239.99 and it seems totally worth it after reading these comments.
    Oh and I checked again today and it seems Newegg is all sold out =]]
    Reply
  • mgambrell - Monday, November 12, 2007 - link

    geforce 8800 gt: the only card that crashes my PC in nv4_disp over and over and over.

    no matter which motherboard it is in or which OS is installed or which other expansion cards are installed

    no matter whose 8800 I use.

    nvidia you are now on my shitlist.
    Reply
  • gleblanc - Friday, November 09, 2007 - link

    It'd be awfully nice to have the axes of the graphs labeled. For the first set, I can guess that they are screen resolution on the horizontal axis, and frames per second on the vertical, but I could be wrong, since there's no labels.

    I also couldn't follow the page on comparing the 8800 GT to the 8800 GTX. Your conclusion seems to state that, "the 8800 GT doesn't touch the GTX." However, I can't come up with that conclusion from the graphs. They look roughly comparable in most of the tests that you've shown, with only a slight advantage to the GTX at very high resolutions.

    On the "Out with the old..." page, there is a typo in the second paragraph. In the last sentence, "fasted" should be "fastest".

    Reply
  • True Strike - Thursday, November 08, 2007 - link

    From what I have read here and else where this seems to be THE card to get. Before I make a purchase though, I would very much like to see more data comparing the cards offered by the different card manufacturers.
    Is Anandtech going to be doing an 8800 GT roundup any time soon? Do I have to beg?
    Reply
  • Manch - Monday, November 05, 2007 - link

    How much of an improvement if you SLI'd a 8800GT with a GTX? I know mix n matching is not optimal but the price difference makes me wonder. Would it fall between two GT's and two GTX's? I dont have any experience with SLI. I've avoided it because it's never been a decent upgrade path. Reply
  • hydrasworld - Friday, November 02, 2007 - link

    Ordered mine from Scan.co.uk - Gainward Bliss - £170 GBP

    O.M.G - it really is amazing.

    I bought 2x 7800GTX's (just before the 7900GTX's came out) at £660 for the pair and this card just blows them away.

    On my 24" dell monitor at 1920x1200 with 4xAA on an opteron 175 @ stock 2.2ghz i get average 125fps in Team Fortress 2. Everything else I've tried has been very smooth - world in conflict, bf2142. A *very* noticable performance increase at a billiant price!

    If you're considering an upgrade buy one of these NOW, play todays games at awesome speeds. then get a nice new intel 45nm quadcore + x38 + ddr3 in january when the products are released and prices will be lower.. Then if needed sell the gfx card and buy whatever nvidia are offering in january - if you really need too (which i doubt you will).

    Highly Recommended.
    Reply
  • rap - Friday, November 02, 2007 - link

    quote:

    First, our understanding is that the RV670 based AMD part will not be any faster than the 2900 XT (and will likely be at least a little bit slower).


    Info on the RV670:

    http://www.penstarsys.com/editor/so3d/q4_2007/so3d...">http://www.penstarsys.com/editor/so3d/q4_2007/so3d...
    Reply
  • ksherman - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    A great review, and a great part! Finally a video card that excites me. Too bad I ditched the desktop in favor of a laptop. Reply
  • Screammit - Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - link

    Most online retailers have pulled these items off their websites entirely, as I'm sure these cards have been picked up ravenously by gamers wanting The Holy Grail of video cards, as it seems this is.

    My question is, "Why so cheap, and why now?" for injection into the market, NVIDIA could have raised the price at least $50 (which most retail shops have already done to capitalize on its popularity) and still have a product that sells like crazy. This makes me wonder what is next, and if a better product is in the works that makes them want to get rid of this inventory as quickly as possible before the next big thing comes out. It may be (and yes, I'm reaching) that this card is on the low side in NVIDIA's new product line, and they can clear inventory at a price premium now as opposed to when the full line is released. They have little reason to throw out their best until AMD has shown their hand, and are playing the same game that Intel is, with their 3.0ghz processor that can easily be clocked higher.

    With this in mind, I plan on holding on to my money for now, partially because I can't even find one in stock yet, and partially because having this card at this price point doesn't seem to make much sense unless a full line refresh is coming, and this card is the weakest link, which is an incredible thing to think about, considering how good this card appears to be
    Reply

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