Gainward Bliss 8800 Ultra

Introduction, packaging, package and specification

Introduction

Let's first of all take a top-of-the-line GPU...say the 8800 Ultra from nVidia. Next add some spice in the form of one of nVidia's top AIB's - Gainward. What we have is a recipe for something nice, or so I hope.

We take Gainward's "Bliss" 8800 Ultra for a spin, rack up some 3DMark scores and have a play with some pretty tight games. How does it fair? Read on...

Packaging

In their recent style Gainward have used their usual female CGI character on the box. The packaging is pretty attractive although I would not be sure how much it would stand out on shelves next to the likes of BFG and XFX.

gainward 8800 ultra gainward 8800 ultra box

The inside of the box protects the card very well as is usual with Gainwards excellent packaging system.

gainward 8800 ultra inside box

No worries about damage during transit here then.

Package

The package that comes with the 8800 Ultra is Gainwards standard well thought-out package including:

* Install Manual
* CyberLink PowerDVD
* CyberLink DVD Solution
* Driver Disk
* 2 x Dual molex to PCI-e 6 PIN power connectors
* 2 x DVI to VGA converter
* 1 x S-Video to Composite/Component cable

gainward 8800 ultra package

That's a pretty decent looking lot of hardware to go with this top-end card. However, on the games front I feel it's pretty severely lacking, especially after the excellent bundle that Sapphire and ATI managed to put together on the HD2900XT.

Specification

From Gainwards site:

Product Name: BP8800ULTRA-768-DD
Barcode: 471846200-8576
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra
GPU Clockspeed: 612 MHz
Memory: 768MB 0,8ns DDR3
Memory Clockspeed: 2160 MHz
Pixels per clock (peak) :
Bandwidth:
Ramdac: 400 MHz
Bus: PCI-Express
Cooling: Fan (Two-slot)
Video-Features: Component, S-Video & Composite Out
Connectivity: Dvi + Dvi + Video-Out


And some more detailed specs:

NVIDIA® Unified Architecture

* Unified shader architecture
* GigaThread™ 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 Lumenex™ 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 Effects™ Technology

* Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation
* Simulate and render physics effects on the graphics processor

NVIDIA SLI™ Technology1

* Patented hardware and software technology allows two GeForce-based graphics cards to run in parallel to scale performance and enhance image quality on today's top titles.

NVIDIA PureVideo™ 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 Vista™

* 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

* Windows Vista /Windows Vista 64
* 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

1 - NVIDIA SLI certified versions of GeForce PCI Express GPUs only.
2 - Feature requires supported video software. Features may vary by product.
3 - Requires other compatible components that are also HDCP capable.

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Most Recent Comments

18-07-2007, 07:08:13

FarFarAway
We take the nVidia's top-end Ultra and give it a thorough "thrashing"

How did it do?

Don't be lazy, read for yourself

18-07-2007, 07:17:22

mVp24
Typo?

The fan on the 8800 Ultra is of a similar ilk page 2, last paragraph.

18-07-2007, 07:20:05

FarFarAway
No that's not a typo

look it up

18-07-2007, 07:20:23

Mr. Smith
Nice write up.

I thought the Ultra's had a tonne of OC headroom... Evidently not.

Not free game with a 400 card? C'mon.

Looking at the OC results, budget or not, get a GTX and OC it - nothing that hasn't been said before. With the money saved get a better CPU or more RAM.

I want a GTX...

Edit: LOL - I think ilk is a very English word

18-07-2007, 07:21:12

FarFarAway
I found the Ultra got better scores than the GTX across the board - mainly due to those stream processors mefinks

18-07-2007, 07:22:43

mVp24
Well sorry Kemp :P

It's almost 4:30 AM here, gonna read it later.

Gnite!

<3

18-07-2007, 07:25:58

Mr. Smith
I was wondering, can you not just get that bios tool nbitor (can't remember), make a copy of the ultra's bios, then flash the GTX with the Ultra's bios and have the stream proccy clocked?

You can do the core/shader clocks/mem yourself.

Just a thought. Surely stream processors are oc'd at bios level...

18-07-2007, 07:33:23

FarFarAway
I dunno mate tbh

It's going back tomorrow and I don't do hard/BIOS mods in reviews for obvious reasons

18-07-2007, 07:48:20

Rastalovich
Great review, throw in a class game and the 402 would be easier to spend.

Other than that, whether the peformance over it`s rival is worth that 70 or so extra is up for debate. Seemed to give a nice increase when clocked tho, so u know there`s an further increase to be had.

If u bought this - would u immediately strip the cooler and apply u`r own thermal goo ? That stuff looks as hap-hazard an application as the trend seems to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mr. Smith'
I was wondering, can you not just get that bios tool nbitor (can't remember), make a copy of the ultra's bios, then flash the GTX with the Ultra's bios and have the stream proccy clocked?

You can do the core/shader clocks/mem yourself.

Just a thought. Surely stream processors are oc'd at bios level...
Keep an eye out tbh, cos some1 somewhere would have looked into it.

18-07-2007, 09:11:43

Mr. Smith
Kempez, can you do me a favour? Make a copy of the Ultra's bios while you have it and email it to me?

Now all I need is a GTX... Or find someone with a GTX thats willing. If I sell my GTS...

Rast - keep your eyes peeled my man! I'm-a startin' googlin' now!

18-07-2007, 09:16:21

FarFarAway
lol I would do but it's in reception being picked up

18-07-2007, 09:21:29

Mr. Smith
Damit. I think it would work. Ultra for the price of GTX

Sorry for the thread jacking.

Back on topic

18-07-2007, 09:46:11

Toxcity
As usual a bloody good review!

But is it really worth the extra dosh? It isn't that much quicker than the GTX.. :eh:

Thanks for the read!

18-07-2007, 10:01:35

FarFarAway
It is noticably smoother in games tbh

18-07-2007, 11:15:27

SuB
i didn't realise the gainward goop was so bad! i'll have to strip my gts and AS5 the core me thinks! (until i get a nice shiny waterblock for it anyway)

kemp what are the chances of getting some of the original sized pics, full resolution ones so we can see a close up for the cards?

perhaps in a zip file at the end of the review as a choice for members or something?

watermarked obviously just full size?

18-07-2007, 11:26:25

Mr. Smith
SuB, not sure how large you are after but if you use Firefox to browse you can install the image zoom tool and zoom right in there, although pixelation occurs if its a low quality image to begin with...

18-07-2007, 11:37:40

FarFarAway
Aye it was resized from a 10MP DSLR to 1024 x 768 then uploaded and resized again.

Umm...I can do mate, though not sure how many people would want that

Failing that tell me what ya wanna look like and I'll upload it and link to it here

18-07-2007, 18:40:36

Allsorts
Those are some amazing fps for 1920 x 1200 with AA&AF. A good read as usual, although with a price tag of 402 I wouldn't have scored it as highly as 7/10 for 'Price'.

18-07-2007, 18:47:42

FarFarAway
Well it's all relative isn't it? OK it's not in the section with the GTS (say 8 or 9), but it's still very fast and 402 is a lot less than it was released for

EDIT: SuB which pic you after?

19-07-2007, 02:18:35

SuB
all really i like to have a nice maaaaassive pic of things everynow and again, just that black plastic thing on the cooler looks a bit.. well.. 'cheap' but i dno

also a decent one of the pcb back and front thats about it really just so its possible to really get a good look at the layout

19-07-2007, 04:21:00

FarFarAway
OK mate give me till tonight and I'll upload the full 5.5mb pics

19-07-2007, 04:44:10

PP Mguire
Hey Kemp a quick question. Why did you turn off the shadows on Oblivion? And can you still not use AA and HDR together with the G80 cards?

19-07-2007, 08:33:14

SuB
sweetness cheers kemp

(i'd also like to know if the 8 series can do HDR + AA i tried farcry in vista but i couldn't get it to work the mouse wasn't detecting properly so i gave up without trying and haven't tried on xp yet lol)

19-07-2007, 08:47:44

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PP Mguire'
Hey Kemp a quick question. Why did you turn off the shadows on Oblivion? And can you still not use AA and HDR together with the G80 cards?
The shadows don't add anything to the game and some of them actually look appalling (self shadows). I set them to that for one review and want to make sure the rest of the cards get the same treatment

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='SuB'
sweetness cheers kemp

(i'd also like to know if the 8 series can do HDR + AA i tried farcry in vista but i couldn't get it to work the mouse wasn't detecting properly so i gave up without trying and haven't tried on xp yet lol)
Ye course they can, that's why I test em at 4 x AA + HDR

19-07-2007, 15:23:14

PP Mguire
Ok, well actualy shadows on the greenery actualy bogs the card down alot more making it more stressful of a bench. Also, if you test them at 4x+HDR then why not in this review?? Just a thought.

19-07-2007, 16:06:48

FarFarAway
I did test them at 4 x + HDR in this review

I am aware that shadows on the greenary affect performance, but I had to do a standard test for all the cards for comparison purposes so I chose no shadows.

19-07-2007, 16:15:59

PP Mguire
According to this

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/articles/2007/07/08184537656l.jpg

AA is turned off. Thats why i asked.

19-07-2007, 16:18:23

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='"review"'
I enforced 4 x AA onto the game (via drivers) on all cards, leaving HDR on as an option in-game.

19-07-2007, 17:18:09

PP Mguire
Ahaha, totaly missed that. What an idiot of me lol sorry.

19-07-2007, 17:29:29

FarFarAway
lol Sok mate, twas an easy mistake

Oblivion won't let you enforce AA and HDR in-game so I use the drivers to do it

19-07-2007, 17:31:58

PP Mguire
Thats what i do, but thats because i have a 7950 card. I thought the G80 and X1900 cards where supposed to allow AA and HDR at the same time? Or is it just Oblivion being a pain?

19-07-2007, 17:43:17

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PP Mguire'
Thats what i do, but thats because i have a 7950 card. I thought the G80 and X1900 cards where supposed to allow AA and HDR at the same time? Or is it just Oblivion being a pain?
afaik the 7000 series can't do HDR + AA in Oblivion at all

And for the ATI cards you have to apply it in the drivers too

19-07-2007, 17:49:33

PP Mguire
Ah mk. Thanks alot.
Reply
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