With Microsoft Vista and DirectX 10 poised to flood the mainstream market, those looking to take advantage of all of the new OS's capabilities will need a quality graphics solution to appreciate new graphical features and eventually next generation gaming.
Currently, the only DX10 ready graphics cards available come in the form of NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 series, while ATI's DX10 solution is still looming off in the distance. At this stage of the game, NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 comes in two flavors, the high-end GeForce 8800GTX and the slightly scaled down GeForce 8800GTS. Some may balk that there are only two DX10 cards currently offered on the market today and normally we might agree that the more choices the better, however, after our in-depth coverage of the GeForce 8800's initial launch, it's hard not to be impressed with what NVIDIA has delivered, even if it is the only DX10 solution available at this time.
Today, we are going to take a look at ASUS's take on the GeForce 8800GTX, the EN8800GTX. Following closely with NVIDIA's reference design, ASUS brings a potent graphics solution to market that is complemented with a well rounded retail package to help feed those insatiable gaming desires. In the pages ahead, we'll take a closer look at the EN8800GTX and evaluate its performance compared to a number of high-end cards currently available. We'll also take an approach to performance based on a system with a mid-range CPU to help the average user ascertain whether the purchase of a premium video card will pay full dividends in the end.
1.8GHz (900MHz DDR3)
Up to 2560 x 1600
PCI Express X16
YES, via DVI to VGA Adapter
YES, via HDTV Out cable
YES, via S-Video to Composite
Dual DVI Output
DVI to VGA adapter
3D Game: Ghost Recon, GTI Racing
ASUS Utilities & Driver
Card Size: 10.5 inch length, 4.97 inch width, 1.43 inch height
ASUS Exclusive Innovations
HDCP Compliant: Allow playback of HD DVD, Blu-Ray Disc and other protected content at full HD resolutions
Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
ASUS Splendid: Watching movies on PC is as good as on Top-of-the-line consumer television
ASUS Video Security Online: Keep an eye on your home at all times no matter where you are
ASUS Game LiveShow: Stream live gaming action onto the internet and share with other gaming enthusiast
ASUS Game Replay: Recording gaming action and strategy into MPEG4 files to share with other gaming enthusiast
ASUS Game Face Messenger: Easy IM and live game conference in any PC games
ASUS OnScreen Display: Adjust the fame settings and enhance gaming experience without leaving the game
Graphics GPU Features
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX
Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
NVIDIA SLI Technology ready
NVIDIA unified architecture with GigaThread technology
Full support for Microsoft DirectX10.0 and Shader Model 4.0 enables stunning and complex special effects
NVIDIA Quantum Effects Technology
True 128-bit floating point high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting
Two dual-link DVI outputs support two 2560x1600 resolution displays
The EN880GTX's accessory bundle and packaging is comprehensive. Along with the card itself, ASUS dropped in some essentials and extras to complement the card nicely. To start, ASUS provided two CDs, one with drivers and the other including proprietary ASUS utilities, such as GameFace and LiveShow, which are further covered in the specifications above. Additionally, ASUS included a copy of 3DMark06 for personal benchmarking as well as two games, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter and GTI Racing.
The package comes with power adapters to convert Molex 4-pin to 6-pin PCI power connections, which require a total of four Molex leads from the PSU. There was also a DVI to VGA adapter for connecting the card to an analog monitor and an component video cable was included as well to support other types of mainstream HDTV connections.