8800GTS shootout - XFX 8800GTS XXX vs Gainward 8800GTS "Golden Sample"

Introduction and Specification

Introduction

Many of Nvidia's partners have decided to bump the clock speed on the 8800 parts quite recently. This is a great way that customers can get their hands on some overclocked parts that still have a warranty intact. With this in mind we got in a couple of rather speedy 8800GTS to thrash through our tests.

Let's see how they got on...

8800gts both cards

GeForce 8800

nVidia released the G80 series of GPU's back in November last year and took the market by storm, totally outgunning everything out there. With full (and well implemented it has to be said) DirectX 10 support and steaming DirectX 9.0c support the enthusiast market has lapped these blazingly fast GPU's up like hot-cakes.

Having previously reviewed both the 8800GTX (click) and the 8800GTS (click) , I am approaching this review in a slightly different manner to usual, as you will see later on.

In the meantime let's take a look at the basic specs of the 8800 series.

8800 specs

Specification

We've seen a run-through of what is underneath the skin of the G80, let's see how it specs up on paper:

NVIDIA® Unified Architecture

* Unified shader architecture
* GigaThreadTM technology
* Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 10
o Geometry shaders
o Geometry instancing
o Streamed output
o Shader Model 4.0
* Full 128-bit floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline
NVIDIA LumenexTM Engine
* 16x full screen anti-aliasing
* Transparent multisampling and transparent supersampling
* 16x angle independent anisotropic filtering
* 128-bit floating point high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting with anti-aliasing
o 32-bit per component floating point texture filtering and blending
* Advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data
* Support for normal map compression
* Z-cull
* Early-Z
NVIDIA Quantum EffectsTM Technology
* Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation
* Simulate and render physics effects on the graphics processor
NVIDIA SLITM Technology1
* Patented hardware and software technology allows two GeForce-based graphics cards to run in parallel.Scaling performance and enhance image quality on today's top titles.
NVIDIA PureVideoTM HD Technology2
* Dedicated on-chip video processor
* High-definition H.264, VC-1, MPEG2 and WMV9 decode acceleration
* Advanced spatial-temporal de-interlacing
* HDCP capable3
* Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing
* Noise Reduction
* Edge Enhancement
* Bad Edit Correction
* Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
* High-quality scaling
* Video color correction
* Microsoft® Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) support Advanced Display Functionality* Two dual-link DVI outputs for digital flat panel display resolutions up to 2560x1600
* Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for analog display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85Hz
* Integrated HDTV encoder provides analog TV-output (Component/Composite/S-Video) up to 1080i resolution
* NVIDIA nView® multi-display technology capability
* 10-bit display processing
Built for Microsoft® Windows VistaTM
* Full DirectX 10 support
* Dedicated graphics processor powers the new Windows Vista Aero 3D user interface
* VMR-based video architecture
High Speed Interfaces
* Designed for PCI Express® x16
* Designed for high-speed GDDR3 memory
Operating Systems
* Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
* Windows XP/Windows XP 64
* Linux
API Support
* Complete DirectX support, including Microsoft DirectX 10 Shader Model 4.0
* Full OpenGL® support, including OpenGL 2.0

Overclocked

Now XFX and Gainward have gone a few MHz better than these stock speeds of 500/1600 going up to 550/1760 for the Gainward Bliss "Golden Sample" Edition and 550/1800 for the XFX "XXX" Edition. It's also worth noting that XFX have overclocked the stream processors on their XXX Edition to 1500MHz, as compared to 1200 at stock. The gainward card is running at the stock 1200MHz (according to RivaTuner ).

The stream processors in the GTS were cut down from 128 to 96 and as such we've seen more clock speed increases throughout the GTS range as they seem to have that little bit extra to squeeze out of them. This also means that the overclocked GTS are getting close to the performance of the GTX.

Let's take a look at the cards.
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Most Recent Comments

05-03-2007, 13:08:13

FarFarAway
Take 2 hot-to-trot 8800GTS

1 reviewer with an overclocked Core2Duo system

Mix with plenty of benchmarks

Lets see what you get

05-03-2007, 13:15:42

Hyper
Excellent review Kemp.

Definatly made a good read

05-03-2007, 14:06:56

ionicle
looks like a good deal, does that GTS

but i am waiting to get a X1950XTX, when the R600 comes out, the price should plumit!

or so i hope

05-03-2007, 14:25:07

markkleb
Hey Kempez, do you thing a XFX XXX 320Mb version would be better than a regular 640Mb version?

05-03-2007, 14:38:52

FarFarAway
I didn't try the 320mb version I'm afraid mark - but I put it in the conclusion as a consideration

05-03-2007, 16:34:36

ai_01
nice review kemp =P

@ markkleb out of the box, GTX is better, GTS stock is 500 whereas GTX is 550-575. I dont think price/performance wise thou a GTX is worth more to get.

05-03-2007, 16:54:12

darkorb
ai_01, he means XFX XXX 8800gts 320mb vs. the XFX 8800gts 640mb

i think

05-03-2007, 17:14:13

Toxcity
One hell of a review there Kempez!

Really nice read.

Both cards coming out with pretty good results too.

05-03-2007, 17:15:46

ai_01
i look like an idiot :iamwithst

its about 100-90 US more for an extra 320mb of ram. my vote is the XXX, or any GTS w/the lower 320mb, and just overclock it, i like evga and XFX, they both clock well.

05-03-2007, 17:34:51

darkorb
Btw, very nice review Kemp!

05-03-2007, 18:14:37

BigD
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ai_01'
i look like an idiot :iamwithst

its about 100-90 US more for an extra 320mb of ram. my vote is the XXX, or any GTS w/the lower 320mb, and just overclock it, i like evga and XFX, they both clock well.
i went with the 640mb version because it was only 50 bucks more... and ill still overclock it

great review!

05-03-2007, 18:23:47

markkleb
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='darkorb'
ai_01, he means XFX XXX 8800gts 320mb vs. the XFX 8800gts 640mb

i think
Yep, thanks for explaining better what I was trying to say.

It seems in other reviews of 512Mb cards VS 256 mb cards most said the extra memory didnt to too much.

So it seemed to me the XFX XXX 320Mb GTS may be better "in the real world' than the reg 640Mb GTS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ai_01'
i look like an idiot :iamwithst
I would NEVER say that, thanks for pointing out the need for me to be more specific in my posts.

05-03-2007, 18:28:09

BigD
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='markkleb'

So it seemed to me the XFX XXX 320Mb GTS may be better "in the real world' than the reg 640Mb GTS.
maybe in dx9 but i think the 640mb version will pull ahead in dx10 when it is avail to use

i think the 640mb is more future proof, and games use more than 320mb now anyways

05-03-2007, 20:46:37

FragTek
Good read, review, and comparison. XFX really seems to have hit a homerun with the higher paced stream processors, it looks to make all the difference. Now how to figure out how to do this yourself, muahahaha.

05-03-2007, 22:49:22

ai_01
i was talkin to myself =P

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='markkleb'

I would NEVER say that, thanks for pointing out the need for me to be more specific in my posts.

05-03-2007, 23:13:14

BigD
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='FragTek'
Good read, review, and comparison. XFX really seems to have hit a homerun with the higher paced stream processors, it looks to make all the difference. Now how to figure out how to do this yourself, muahahaha.
probly something in the bios.. now im starting to think

06-03-2007, 04:36:34

Mr. Smith
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='BigD'
maybe in dx9 but i think the 640mb version will pull ahead in dx10 when it is avail to use

i think the 640mb is more future proof, and games use more than 320mb now anyways
Deffo - 640 is the better one IMO - already there is proof that the 320mb version has a bottle neck in COH, sure, that is just one game, but what about future, more taxing games? For a little extra cash I'd rather have that extra performance!

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='FragTek'
Good read, review, and comparison. XFX really seems to have hit a homerun with the higher paced stream processors, it looks to make all the difference. Now how to figure out how to do this yourself, muahahaha.
That is what I wanted to know too! So, currently no one knows how?

@ Kempez - damn fine review my man!

Edit: Overclocking stream processors - aparently a feature to overclock this seperately in later Forceware drivers was announced way back in November 06. It seems that nothing has happened but it all has something to do with CUDA which is not too far from C language. So, er - get on it! Write that code!

Also - another source suggested that when you OC the core the stream proccy OC's in a ratio (a ratio that nvidia won't confirm!). Furthermore, drivers seem to play a bit part in controlling the stream proccy speed... Just food for thought

08-03-2007, 04:27:50

FarFarAway
Review Amended with UK pricing and a supplier with available products

21-03-2007, 13:14:26

TJS
Good review, Kemp

As markkleb asked which is 'better', I think a review between the 640 and 320mb versions should be on the shortlist. I personally think the 320mb version should be pretty good even with the memory cut in half, especially if you can cut off roughly $75 (which equates to a excellent HSF of almost another GB or RAM).

I'm in line behind Frag and Herr Smith, would like to know how to overclock all aspects of the 8800GTS. I've taken mine to 600/1010 with no problems, currently run it at 600/924 (stock is 513/792, do a little math, wanted the core at 600 so 924 is where the memory should be). I've been using Riva Tuner since the ol' Coolbits is gone (couldn't figure out that regedit download from Tox), only see the core and mem sliders, where is the stream slider (or some other way we can OC it).

TJS

21-03-2007, 20:00:30

FarFarAway
As far as I am aware you can't do an easy OC on the stream processors, although I haven't had time to fully look into it as I am really busy catching up after a family illness.

There's a few cool reviews to come and a 320mb card is on the offing somewhen, just not right now.

21-03-2007, 20:21:13

BigD
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='TJS'
Good review, Kemp

As markkleb asked which is 'better', I think a review between the 640 and 320mb versions should be on the shortlist. I personally think the 320mb version should be pretty good even with the memory cut in half, especially if you can cut off roughly $75 (which equates to a excellent HSF or almost another GB or RAM).

I'm in line behind Frag and Herr Smith, would like to know how to overclock all aspects of the 8800GTS. I've taken mine to 600/1010 with no problems, currently run it at 600/924 (stock is 513/792, do a little math, wanted the core at 600 so 924 is where the memory should be). I've been using Riva Tuner since the ol' Coolbits is gone (couldn't figure out that regedit download from Tox), only see the core and mem sliders, where is the stream slider (or some other way we can OC it).

TJS
i use ATitool for my oc'ing and you can have it load the oc on startup and it tells the temp... i have mine running at 640/1000

havnt seen the temp go above 70*c yet cuz i got some insain air fed to my card at all times... two 80mm fans and a 120mm all blowing on it

28-04-2007, 04:44:22

xh131t10n
Yeah, thanks to your review, i bought the xxx gts 640, WOW wont need to look at staticice for another18 months!

28-04-2007, 09:17:35

FarFarAway
Aye they do pwn somewhat

28-04-2007, 09:32:19

xh131t10n
9500 on 3dmark06 - *sigh*, yeah. . . . .. they really DO pwn!

28-04-2007, 11:36:54

Gaz
very interesting review

29-04-2007, 04:02:36

Rastalovich
Great review Kemp.

Somewhere along the line I was wishing u`d take a screw-driver to those coolers, the pcbs look almost identical asif these guyz are working extremely close together. Like in the same building

I see many are already posing whether it`s better value to get a base card and do all the clocking uself. Meh.

29-04-2007, 04:10:22

Ham
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
Great review Kemp.

Somewhere along the line I was wishing u`d take a screw-driver to those coolers, the pcbs look almost identical asif these guyz are working extremely close together. Like in the same building

I see many are already posing whether it`s better value to get a base card and do all the clocking uself. Meh.
They're all the same as the reference boards i expect.

As for the clocking we can oc the core but not the stream processors

29-04-2007, 07:56:48

FarFarAway
Aye they're all reference boards basically so the coolers the same as the reference. I could have taken em apart but not sure how much use it would have been.

I took the 8800GTX apart in that review.

If your particularly interested I could take apart another GTS and post some pics?

And ye you can OC the core clocks/memory clocks but I haven't found a way of doing the stream processors yet

29-04-2007, 08:14:01

Rastalovich
Is the stream process likely to involve some kind of firm upgrade that some guy is probably working on in his pc room as we speak ? lol Now these are out I guess theres a further reference for him to work off.

If I`m the only one looking for hardcore up-cooler shots, I wouldn`t bother, if I do some searching there bound to be something out there

29-04-2007, 09:38:40

PV5150
I have pics of my EN8800 GTS nekkid if you want to have a look at them
Reply
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