Gainward Bliss 8800 Ultra

The Card - Close up

Gainward Bliss 8800 Ultra

gainward 8800 ultra vs 8800 GTX

The Gainward 8800 Ultra follows the stock nVidia design for the 8800 Ultra with a black plastic cooler shielding the cooling system below it. The cooling system for the 8800 Ultra is interesting in that the fan actually extends beyond the top level of the cooler, and is not flush with the cooler. After opening up the card and taking a look at the cooler I am not sure exactly why they went with this as it doesn't seem to particularly affect the cooling properties of the cooler that I could see.

gainward 8800 ultra gainward 8800 ultra

Having just said that, the cooler on the 8800 Ultra is quite a lot "cooler" than that of the 8800 GTX. It also does not allow as much branding as the cooler on the 8800 GTX which means the only thing telling you this is a Gainward card is the "G" emblazoned on the middle of the fan.

8800 ultra core

Again the same as on the GTX is the chip itself. With an IHS and a shim it's pretected pretty well from being crushed by the cooler but it is one hot mother of a GPU so one wonders if this inhibits cooling a little.

gainward 8800 ultra heatpipes 1 gainward 8800 ultra heatpipe 2

The cooler is a heatpipe affair very similar to the one on the 8800 GTX and is aluminium with a copper base. There seems to be aluminium added to the Ultra cooler which should dissapate the heat a little more, but with the core running at these blazing speeds...well you can see the results below.

8800 ultra power

Power is supplied as on the 8800 GTX by two 6 PIN PCI-e power plus connectors. Gainward have considerately included 2 x dual molex to 6 PIN PCI-e power connectors so as long as your PC has a decent PSU and a few spare molex's then you'll be ok as far as power goes.

8800 ultra dual link dvi

Two dual-link, HDCP enabled DVI connectors and an S-Video out provide the card with just about every output you will need, although unlike ATI's HD2900XT you won't see an HDMI connector in the box. Still, with the S-Video to Composite and Component connector Gainward have included in the bundle, along with dual DVI out you should be able to hook up pretty much anything to the card.

All in all nVidia and Gainward have done a solid job of outfitting their latest addition to the troup.

The Cooler

The cooler is, as I have said, a dual heatpipe aluminium constructed beasty with a copper base. It's pretty solid although I don't quite know why it has that little "hump" on the top of it.

8800 ultra cooler goop on

8800 ultra goop cleaned off


As usual, there's a whole load of TIM on the GPU itself and as usual it's probably too much. Thermal pads are also used on the memory, Samsung 0.8ns GDDR3 arranged around the GPU in a ring.

gainward 8800 ultra

gainward 8800 ultra

Although the card does have a slight "hump" in it, it didn't interfere during installation in my Silverstone TJ09S. Although, you have to be aware that the size of the cooler means that SATA ports may be hard to get to (and in fact were obstructed on my XFX 650i Ultra.

gainward 8800 ultra fan


The fan on the 8800 Ultra is of a similar ilk to that on the 8800 GTX in that it's silent and kicks out a fair amount of air. Even when you spin it up onto full it doesn't howl at you like the Sapphire HD2900XT did.

Temperatures were pretty normal for the steaming hot G80 GPu, coming in at 60°C idle and 79°C load (22°C ambient). This beat out the 8800 GTX that came in 62°C idle and 80°C load - but this isn't exactly a whole lot.

Now we've taken a close look at the card, let's get onto testing...
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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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