In the era of power and performance per watt, noise is just as important as any other metric. NVIDIA has managed to outfit all of its high end GPUs with relatively quiet coolers and the 8800 series is no different. We tested the noise level of each of these cards while the system was idle, and we also took the ambient noise level of the room (with the system off) for reference. We found that under stress, the cards didn't experience any extra noise from fan speed-ups. For reference, the ambient noise level of the room while testing was 38.1 dB.

Noise Level

The only card that really stood out in these tests was the Sparkle Calibre 8800 GTX. While the peltier element does a great job cooling the GPU, the fans required to cool the peltier make this card much louder than the competition. The Calibre 8800 GTX was about 6 Db louder than any of the other 8800s, with the rest of the cards all getting a fairly consistent noise level of about 48 dB. In fact, the Sparkle Calibre is one of the few cards that can actually surpass ATI X1950 XTX noise levels, a dubious achievement at best.

Final Words

We've looked at the 8800 GTX and GTS and we've seen the kind of performance it's capable of from our 8800 launch article. Today we put each of our 8800 samples through a series of tests and saw what kind of power consumption, heat, and noise levels, as well as what kind of user-overclocks they were capable of. We found the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX and the MSI GeForce NX8800 GTX got the highest overclocks of the group and saw some impressive gains in performance because of this.

The EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX w/ ACS3 seems to do a pretty good job keeping heat down, resulting in the highest overclock of the roundup, and there weren't any problems with excess noise with this card. On the opposite end of the spectrum was the Sparkle Calibre 8800 GTX. Thanks to the card's unique peltier cooler, the Calibre 8800 GTX had extremely high power demands, even for a card as power hungry as the 8800. Although the GPU ran cooler thanks to the peltier element, we couldn't overclock it any further and it managed to be the loudest card in the roundup. Extra noise, heat and power with no tangible benefit is not what we like to see.

Because most of the 8800s we had for this roundup kept the reference designs, we didn't see much difference between them in terms of power, heat and noise (with the exception of the Sparkle Calibre 8800 GTX). Also, as we said earlier, because it's so early on in the 8800's launch, the prices for these cards were generally the same: $650 for the 8800 GTXs and $480 for the GTS cards. We weren't able to find either of the Sparkle cards or the Leadtek Winfast 8800 GTX for sale yet, and the EVGA cards currently available appear to be the standard (i.e. non-ACS3) model, but aside from the Calibre sample, we can expect them to have around the same price tags.

If we had to recommend one of these 8800 cards over the others, the slight nod goes to the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX w/ ACS3; not only did our sample of this card get one of the highest overclocks, but it also ran fairly cool compared to our other 8800 GTXs. If it comes to market for the nearly same price as the others, the decision is simple; on the other hand, a $25-$50 price premium might be too much. If you are among the lucky few able to drop down the money for one of these cards, the EVGA 8800 GTX with ACS3 cooling is the one to go for. If you can't find the EVGA card, then pretty much any of the reference designs will work, and although Sparkle gets extra points for trying something different with its peltier cooler the implementation just didn't work out.

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  • peternelson - Saturday, November 25, 2006 - link

    I'm hearing rumours of an even never "dual" type card called 8850gx2.

    Anandtech can you reveal any news on this?
  • at80eighty - Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - link

    Annual Computernerd Wanfest of 2006 just rolled into town (im a wanking nerd btw :-p)

    what i saw in the papers was an ad for an XFX 8800 GTX. but this article doesnt mention it's existence (or i missed it)

    or did you pick he GTS as it was a better deal than the GTX?
  • Modular - Saturday, November 18, 2006 - link

    I was just wondering why there are no charts showing the core temps when the cards were overclocked. I'd be interested to see how much more heat these things crank out @ faster speeds. I also heard that they no longet throttle the GPU core when in 2D mode. That seems silly to me as it probably is a huge reason for the high idle power draw as well as the high idle core temps...
  • dpante1s - Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - link

    Would be very interesting to see a roundup just for the 8800 GTS cards as I think that many users may only afford to buy this one but would like to know which one of those is the best for overclocking...
  • crystal clear - Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - link

    More GeForce G80 Series Revealed
    Published on November 13th, 2006">

    G80-200, G80-400, G80-600,G80-850, G80-875

  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    I believe your overclocking results are horribly flawed and misleading. The max core clock varies with each semiconductor part, so you can't just take 8 cards from different companies and determine which company overclocks the best! They all got different G80 dies.

    Now, cooling could affect the overclock amount. But based on the cooling results, there's no correlation. Look at Sparkle's poor overclock versus its great cooling, as well as EVGA's and MSI's great overclocking versus heat. No correlation.

    At least Page 5 said "Whether the overclocks we reached are due to variability in cores or..." But Page 8 showed more misunderstanding with "The temperature levels of this card under load are even lower than the XFX 8800 GTS by over ten degrees. This is somewhat perplexing considering that our Sparkle Calibre 8800 GTX sample didn't overclock very well compared to the other 8800 GTXs."

    The conclusion should have been "8800GTX's overclock between 627-659MHz", and don't bold the one in the table from the company that happened to get the best die.
  • shamgar03 - Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - link

    I concur, unless the author can present more evidence?
  • cryptonomicon - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    They're valueable to me :(
    Would love if they every got included on vid card roundups like these...
  • shank15217 - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    the new nvidia cards are doing great but just take a look at the older 7 series and compare it to the ATI offering. ATI 1950XTX hands the geforce 7 series its butt. I have a strange feeling the R600 will give Nvidia a run for its money.
  • xsilver - Monday, November 13, 2006 - link

    i found it interesting that on one of your graphs that the overclocked GTS is able to noticibly beat the GTX
    would it be possible at a more sane 1600x1200 resolution?

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