GeForce 8800 GT Round-Up: Asus, EVGA, MSI
Unlike the majority of today’s high-end graphics cards, the GeForce 8800 GT features a single-slot cooler. The cooler, and its associated shroud, cover the entire front side of the card and it is outfitted with a relatively small, fan. The card’s 512MB of frame buffer memory and GPU both make contact with the cooler which is made of aluminum and copper.
The GeForce 8800 GT’s PCB is shorter than the oversized 8800 GTX, and it features only a single SLI connector. Outputs include a pair of dual-link DVIs and an S-Video / HD output. GeForce 8800 GT cards require a single 6-pin supplemental PCI Express power connector as well.
All three of the cards we’ll be featuring here have these aspects in common and differ only in clock speeds, bundles, and appearance.
The MSI NX8800GT – and the other two cards from Asus and EVGA below – is essentially an NVIDIA reference board design with higher GPU core and memory clock speeds and with a custom decal affixed to its fan shroud. MSI includes a driver / utility CD with their card, along with a user’s manual, a quick installation guide, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a dual Molex-to-6-Pin PCI Express power adapter, an S-Video cable and a HD component output dongle. Sorry folks, no game was to be found.
The MSI NX8800GT has a core GPU clock speed of 660MHz with 950MHz (1.9GHz DDR) memory. Those are increases of 60MHz and 50MHz, respectively, over NVIDIA’s reference specifications. And we should also note the card has a 3-year warranty.
Asus’ offering is based on NVIDIA’s reference design as well. The Asus EN8800GT TOP has a custom decal affixed to its fan shroud, and it is bundled with a leather CD / DVD case, a driver and utility disk, and a second utility disk that includes a number of proprietary Asus applications in addition to a copy of 3DMark06. The card’s bundle also includes a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a dual Molex-to-6-Pin PCI Express power adapter, a HD component output dongle, and a full version of the current, DX10 title Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts – a quality title to say the least.
The Asus EN8800GT TOP happens to be factory overclocked too. Its GPU core is clocked at an impressive 700MHz and its memory is clocked at 1GHz (2GHz DDR). These relatively high clock speeds, made the Asus EN8800GT TOP the fastest of the three cards featured here. And like MSI’s entry, the Asus EN8800GT TOP carries a 3-year warranty.
This brings us to the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT KO. Like the other two cards featured here, the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT KO is virtually unchanged from NVIDIA’s reference design, save for the card’s custom fan-shroud decal. Its bundle includes a user’s manual, a couple of EVGA stickers, a driver / utility CD, dual DVI-to-VGA adapters, a dual Molex-to-6-Pin PCI Express power adapter, an S-Video cable and a HD component output dongle. Along with these items, however, the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT also comes with a full version of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars – one more adapter than the other cards and a game that’s on-par with Asus’ choice.
Like the MSI NX8800GT and the Asus EN8800GTS TOP, the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GT KO is factory overclocked. This card’s GPU came in at 675MHz with 975MHz (1.95GHz DDR) memory, which falls right in between the MSI and Asus cards. EVGA’s lifetime warranty, however, is much better than either company’s.