As you can see in our testing the 8800 GTX SLI is bottlenecked by the CPU in nearly every test we ran. This is where the added cost that I mentioned in the beginning of the article comes in. Even running on an Intel Core 2 Duo is going to hold a pair of these cards back in most tests.
8800 GTX SLI separates the men from the boys, only by using these cards with an X6800 processor and running at resolutions above 1920×1200 are you going to get the true value for your money, and that means a 30″ widescreen monitor. If you are running less than this you are wasting your money on 8800 GTX SLI.
NVIDIA really came to play with the 8800 GTX and in SLI you can bet that just about anything you can throw at them will run as smooth as silk. I spent several days with the cards in my own system trying to find something that could bring them to their knees and only found a couple of games that did just that. While not a wildly popular title, Marvel Ultimate Alliance can absolutely kill a single 8800 GTX at just 1920×1200 with Dynamic Lighting enabled. Throw in some AA and you have a card that is just able to keep the frame rates playable.
While I would love to say that everything is rosy in the world of SLI with the 8800’s that’s not the truth. Heat is a concern with these two cards as mentioned previously. I’m not sure how much the heat affects a Creative X-Fi so be sure to get a little air flow towards that area for those of running a 680i motherboard.
The second issue is game compatibility. SLI on the 7900 and lower series would accelerate just about any game you wanted to play but NVIDIA is still catching up with the 8800’s. Games like Tomb Raider: Legend and Marvel Ultimate Alliance were no faster with SLI than they were with a single 8800 GTX. These are titles with enhanced features built into the game that could really use the extra horsepower of a second 8800.
Finally we have price. Someone looking at purchasing a pair of these and putting them to good use is looking at a minimum ~$1200 system for just the CPU, Motherboard, two 8800 GTX’s, a 30″ LCD, 750+ Watt power supply, and system memory. No matter how you slice it that’s a tidy sum. But for those ready to spend the money for the ultimate gaming experience there is nothing that can hold a candle to it.
Legit Bottom Line: A pair of XFX 8800 GTX’s offers uncompromised performance that has no equal. If you’re trying to power that large flat panel LCD in the latest games, you’ll find a pair of these cards are worth every penny.