MSI GeForce 8800 GTX (NX8800GTX-T2D768E)

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As enthusiasts, we are always anxiously awaiting new GPU architectures, with additional pipelines and more memory. All of these aspects usually go into creating the next must-have flagship video card. Like us, you've probably been wondering when single GPU cards would sport a full gigabyte of memory. Dual-GPU cards, like NVIDIA's GeForce 7950 GX2, already boast 1GB of high-speed GDDR3. And as exciting as that may sound, it isn't quite as geek-tastic as having 1GB of memory coupled to a single GPU.

We all know it's coming; it's only a matter of time. NVIDIA's latest line-up, the GeForce 8 Series, got us one step closer as the 8800 GTX features 768MB of fast GDDR3 memory. New architecture, new features, DirectX 10 support, 768MB of GDDR3 RAM and a 384-bit memory interface; the 8800 GTX has a lot of exciting things going for it. And at over ten and a half inches in length, the 8800 GTX is definitely a monster.

Today, we have an MSI 8800 GTX (specifically, the NX8800GTX-T2D768E) on the test bench. In addition to comparing it to a GeForce 7950 GX2 and Radeon X1900 XTX, we'll hook it up to a 65-inch 1080p TV for some big-screen gaming.

MSI 8800 GTX: Features & Specs
Model Number: NX8800GTX-T2D768E
Memory: 768MB DDR3

Video Output Function:
    - TV-out + HDTV Support
    - Two Dual-link DVI Connectors
    - SLI Bridge

384-Bit Memory Interface
Clocks:
    - GPU: 575 MHz
    - Memory: 1.8 GHz (effective)

Performance:
    - Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec): 86.4
    - Fill Rate (Billion pixels/sec): 36.8
 
NVIDIA unified architecture:
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.


GigaThread Technology:
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support:
World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA SLI Technology:
Delivers up to 2x the performance of a single graphics card configuration for unequaled gaming experiences by allowing two cards to run in parallel. The must-have feature for performance PCI Express graphics, SLI dramatically scales performance on today's hottest games.

NVIDIA Lumenex Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates.
16x Anti-aliasing: Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.

128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR):
Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects - now with support for anti-aliasing.

NVIDIA Quantum Effects Technology:
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU - all while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA):
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

OpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support:
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology:
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support:
Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs:
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates - up to 2048x1536@85Hz. 

Dual Dual-link DVI Support:
Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.

Built for Microsoft Windows Vista:
NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface.

NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology:
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
NVIDIA PureVideo HD is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.

Hardware Decode Acceleration:
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.

HDCP Capable:
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.

High-Quality Scaling:
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.

Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.

Bad Edit Correction:
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadences. PureVideo HD uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.

Video Color Correction:
NVIDIA's Color Correction Controls, such as Brightness, Contrast and Gamma Correction let you compensate for the different color characteristics of various RGB monitors and TVs ensuring movies are not too dark, overly bright, or washed out regardless of the video format or display type.

Integrated SD and HD TV Output:
Provides world-class TV-out functionality via Composite, S-Video, Component, or DVI connections. Supports resolutions up to 1080p depending on connection type and TV capability.

Noise Reduction:
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.

Edge Enhancement:
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.


    

Like the last MSI card we reviewed, the MSI 8800 GTX is packed in a box sporting an angelic woman and a carrying handle. The back of the box of course boasts some of the main features of the card. Once we opened the box, we were glad to see the $600 card surrounded by styrofoam.

  

We were also glad to see a decent bundle included with this flagship card. MSI includes a handful of accessories: two VGA-to-DVI adapters, two PCI Express power cables, one S-video cable and one TV-out cable (with S-video and component video connectors). In addition to the accessories, the bundle includes a bunch of software, including Serious Sam II, CyberLink PowerCinema and Power2Go, and all the utilities listed below.

MSI developed software
. VGA Driver
. MSI Live Update Series ( Live VGA BIOS & Live VGA Driver)
- Automatically online download & update VGA BIOS & Drivers, reduce the risk of getting the wrong files, and never have the trouble on web site searching.
. StarOSD
- StarOSD can monitor system information, adjust monitor figuration, and overclock system.
. Dual Core Center
. GoodMen
  Automatically release the system memory space, reduce the risk of system hang-up.
. LockBox
- Instantly enter the data lock mode when you must leave your system for a while.
. WMIinfor
- Automatically list the detail system configuration, it helpful for engineering service people.
. MSI VIVID
- Vivid brings the easiest way to optimize graphic quality. Colorize your vision when browsing photos!!! Sharpen characters edge! Enhance contrast when playing game!
. MSI Live
- Including all real time life information you need, such as Live MSI Product News, Live Daily Information, Live Personal Schedule Manager, Live Search and more.
. MSI Secure DOC
. E-Color
. MediaRing
. ShowShift
. ThinSoft Be Twin
. Adobe Acrobat Reader
. Norton Internet Security 2005
. Microsoft DirectX 9.0

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