According to NVIDIA the G80 series has been in development for nearly 5 years and as you can tell from our tests it?s clear that it was time well spent. The 8800 GTX simply walks away from every card on the market in almost every single test. What?s even more impressive is just how much a single 8800 GTX kicks the crap out of the older 7900 GTX SLI and 7950GX2 in Tomb Raider: Legend using Next Generation Content!
Going forward it can?t be stressed enough how important DirectX 10 will be for future games. The downside is that there are only a handful of DX-10 games coming and we don?t yet have Windows Vista and therefore no DirectX 10. The ?killer app? for DX-10 that many were looking forward to before the end of the year is the game ?Crysis.? EA announced late last week that it has been delayed into early 2007, citing that it is waiting on the launch of Vista. Fortunately in the mean time the GeForce 8800 series does one helluva job ripping through everything you can throw at it and begs to be given more.
Speaking of more, our test system was a bit overwhelmed by the 8800 GTX and was most evident in Serious Sam 2 HDR tests where it dropped a total of 3.8 frames per second from our lowest resolution to our highest, nearly doubling the frame rate of 7900 GTX. In order to bring the 8800 GTX to its full potential you?re no doubt going to need an Intel Core 2 Duo system, an overclocked one at that. That’s not to say if you’ve “only got an Athlon64″ that this is a bad purchase, you’re just not going to see the same increases as someone with a new Intel processor.
Heat could be a bit of a concern for the 8800 series. Our GTS idled near 60c and loaded near 80c so it would be wise to make sure that it?s getting some cool air from the front of the case. NVIDIA has done a wonderful job with the stock cooler on the 8800 series. They?ve finally listened to us and designed an awesome looking cooler that exhausts most of the heat out of the case. The best part is that they?ve done it while keeping everything nice and quiet. It?s very rare that you ever hear the fan, there is no frenzied spin up during system startup, in fact it doesn?t even spin for the first few seconds but eventually bring up the speed slowly.
The one thing keeping the 8800 GTX out of the hands of every PC gamer with a pulse is the cost. With an MSRP of $599 it is prohibitively expensive; such is the cost of owning the best of the best. A pair of these will set you back a minimum of $1200 but will provide absolute gaming nirvana for the next 18 months to those of you that just picked up that 30? Dell thanks to the recent price drop.
The 8800 GTX will be the fastest video card for some time to come and is the card to have for anyone with coin to spend on it, at least until we see the debut of ATI?s R600 sometime in the first quarter of 2007, rumors say February. It promises to be an 8800 GTX killer if you can stand the wait for it.
The 8800 GTS gets a very strong recommendation; if you?re looking anywhere near its $449 MSRP you need not look at anything else. The 7900 GTX and 7950GX2 are now being phased out (if you can still find them) and the X1950XTX doesn?t have the DirectX 10 capabilities of the 8800 GTS. The overclocked performance of our retail EVGA card was incredibly close to the 8800 GTX. If you’re into overclocking you may as well save yourself a good chunk of change and grab the GTS.
As some news sites have posted there were a number of 8800 GTX cards that were built with an incorrect resistor which can cause your machine to crash. We?re not telling you this to cause a panic but to keep you informed. NVIDIA has stated that all the cards with the problem have been pulled and fixed. If by some strange chance you do end up getting a card that artifacts and crashes your computer you should contact the card partner (XFX, eVGA, etc) immediately for an RMA. Legit Reviews was ?lucky enough? to get such a card that had the problem. We?ve spoken to XFX and EVGA and they assured us that they have taken the steps necessary to ensure that all of their cards have been checked and fixed if needed. Note that this problem was on the 8800 GTX only. According to XFX we were the only site to experience problems with our 8800 GTX.
It?s unfortunate that we didn?t get to spend more time with these two cards before our article needed to be posted. The replacement GTX card and the 8800 GTS arrived on my doorstep a mere 22 hours before the article deadline so as you can imagine it?s been benchmark frenzy here.
Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 series ushers in the next generation of gaming and leaves everything else in its wake. Bring on DirectX 10!