Asus EN 8800 GTX - nVidia's G80 Performance Revealed
Author: Matthew Kemp (kempez)
Product Acquired: Asus
Your first impressions of the 8800GTX tend to be "wow that's a big card", and they are not wrong. Measuring about 27-27cm in length this thing is an absolute beast. even our 7950 GX2 card looked like a toy compared to the 8800GTX.
The Asus card is based on the nVidia reference board (as all release cards are), although Asus have decided to brand it with a character from GRAW. I'm not a fan of branding in this way, but it's not unattractive.
We can see that the card needs a lot of power management on it to service this hungry GPU.
Dual DVI brings HDCP so that you can run your card into a HDCP enabled monitor, when this is required by DRM.
Let's get this card stripped off and see what's underneath...
The chip has a metal shim around the outside of it making it look pretty heavyweight. I'm not quite sure why nVidia felt the need to do this, with the IHS already on the chip, but I'm sure it serves some decent purpose.
We've seen a run-through of what is underneath the skin of the G80, let's see how it specs up on paper:
Default clock of Core: 575 and Memory: 1800MHz
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
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
* Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
* Windows XP/Windows XP 64
* Complete DirectX support, including Microsoft DirectX 10 Shader Model 4.0
* Full OpenGL® support, including OpenGL 2.0
The cooler on the 8800GTX is nVidia's most impressive job so far in my opinion. With a GPU that kicks out as much heat as G80 does, the heatpipes and low speed fan cope pretty well with the heat. ruinning at a steamy 62°C Idle and 80°C Load, the fan wasn't even audible above the case fans in my case (running at low speed settings).
There seems to be an abundence of "goop" on the Asus nVidia reference cooler. I know that the contact area is flat and so I'm a little confused why there's enough TIM that I had to actually scrape it off. The thermal pads are generally used instead of thermal paste on the components not needing such extreme cooing. That said the cooler is pretty good at it's job even under the extreme heat that G80 emits.
Overall the physical aspects of the nVidia reference card are excellent. Apart from BFG who are selling a very highly priced 8800GTX with a DangerDen liquid cooler on them, all nVidia's partners are using the stock cooler so it's good to see nVidia and their partners did a decent job.