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XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB & 8800 GTX XXX Editions
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Date: Feb 13, 2007
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introductions and Specifications

Here we are, barely 12 weeks out from the initial introduction of the GeForce 8 series, and NVIDIA is ready with yet another new product based on the GPU formerly code named G80. The new GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB we'll be showcasing here today is essentially the same card as the original 8800 GTS, except that the 320MB model simply has half of the amount of frame buffer memory. According to NVIDIA's reference specifications the original 640MB 8800 GTS and the new 320MB model share the same GPU and memory clocks, memory interface, stream processor configuration, PCB, etc.

The actual GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB card we'll be testing here today, however, comes by way of XFX and it is not clocked at NVIDIA's reference specifications.  XFX's GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition sports higher GPU and memory frequencies, which will give it a marked advantage over "stock" models. 

In addition, we're also going to be showcasing XFX's flagship GeForce 8 series card here today, the GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition. Like the 320MB model, the GTX XXX is clocked much higher than stock. In fact, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition is the highest clocked air-cooled GTX currently on the market.

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Series
Features & Specifications
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.


NVIDIA G80 Wafer:
She's a Big One

 

   
The GeForce 8800 GTX GPU

 

   
The GeForce 8800 GTS GPU

 


We've already covered the architectural features and benefits of the NVIDIA G80 GPU at the heart of the GeForce 8800 GTS and GeForce 8800 GTX, so we won't go into detail again here. To familiarize yourself with NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 series cards, previous product offerings, and their multi-GPU platform as whole, please take some time to peruse the articles listed below:

The details and performance data in the articles listed above will give you much of the background information necessary to better understand the new graphics cards we'll be showcasing here today. If you're unclear about anything on the proceeding pages, please look back to these articles for a multitude of back-up data on the subject matter.

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XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX

XFX bundles their GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition card with a nice assortment of accessories and software. Included in the box along with the card itself, were a pair of DVI to DB15 VGA monitor adapters, an HD component output dongle, an S-Video cable, a user's manual, and a couple of CDs. One disc contained the obligatory drivers, while the other contained a full version of the game Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. GRAW, as it is known, is a great title to showcase some of the capabilities of this card, so we commend XFX for its inclusion.

    

    

As you probably suspect, the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB shares many of the same features of the flagship 8800 GTX. The two cards do differ in a number of key ways however. For one, the 8800 GTS is built upon a shorter 9" PCB. The card also requires less power; NVIDIA recommends a 400W PSU that can supply 26A on its 12V rails. As such the GTS has only one 6-Pin PCI Express power receptacle. The GTS also has only a single SLI edge connector along its top edge, so at some point in the future the GTX is likely to offer a few additional features when running in as yet unannounced SLI modes. 

    

    

    

Underneath the XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition's cooler, which is identical to the one used on the GTX, lies a G80 GPU clocked at 580MHz and 320MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1.8GHz. NVIDIA's reference specifications call for a 500MHz GPU with 1.6GHz memory.


GeForce 8800 GTS Block Diagram

 

The GTS has "only" 96 streaming processors enabled in the GPU, and its memory rides along on a 320-bit interface, as opposed to 128 stream processors and a 384-bit interface on the GTX. The 320-bit memory interface means the GTS is outfitted with 10, 32-bit DRAMs. And the 320MB model is simply outfitted with lower-capacity chips than the original 640MB card.

XFX is also launching two other 320MB 8800 GTS cards today, one with its core clocked at 560MHz and another that runs at NVIDIA's recommended 500MHz.  Prices for the three cards range from $299 to $335.

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XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition

The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition ships in a similar looking box to the brand new 320MB GTS. Their bundles are similar as well, except for the fact that the GTX does not include a copy of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.

    

XFX's GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition is built upon a 10.5" long PCB, and the GPU and RAM are adorned with a massive dual-slot cooling apparatus. The more astute among you may notice the PCB on this card is green and not black like the first batch of GTX cards. The cooler is outfitted with a fan that is designed to draw air in from the back, and blow it across the heatsink's fins, where is it ultimately expelled from the system through vents in the case bracket. There are however, also some vents cut in the fan shroud towards the front of the card, which also aid in bringing temperatures down.

    

   

    

The 8800 GTX reference specifications call for a G80 GPU clocked at 575MHz with 768MB of RAM clocked at 1.8GHz. And due to the GTX's 384-bit memory bus, cards are equipped with 12, 32-bit DRAM chips, which all reside on the front side of the PCB. XFX's GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition, however, has its GPU clocked at 630MHz and its memory clocked at 2GHz.  Those are some significant clock speed increases, which will give this card an advantage over stock models in terms of performance.  The number of stream processors (128) and the memory bus width (384-bits) remain unchanged.


GeForce 8800 GTX Block Diagram

Other than its green color, another interesting aspect with regard to the GTX's PCB is that it has two SLI edge connectors along the top. NVIDIA hasn't disclosed any specific information about what the second SLI connector could be used for, but new SLI functionality is likely on the way.

The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition is also equipped with a pair of 6-Pin PCI Express power receptacles. Overall, NVIDIA has stated the 8800 GTX consumes a maximum of 185W (this card will be marginally higher), and the company recommends a 450W PSU that can supply 30A on its 12V rails.

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Our Test Systems and 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested all of the graphics cards used in this article on an EVGA nForce 680i SLI based motherboard powered by a Core 2 Extreme X6800 dual-core processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the BIOS and set all values to their default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Pro with SP2 and the October DX9 update was installed. When the installation was complete, we then installed the latest chipset drivers available, installed all of the other drivers necessary for the rest of our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, the hard drive was defragmented, and a 1024MB permanent page file was created on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of the benchmarking software, and ran the tests.

The HotHardware Test System
Core 2 Extreme Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Cards -









Memory -


Audio -

Hard Driv
e -

 

Hardware Used:
Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz)


EVGA nForce 680i SLI
nForce 680i SLI chipset

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX

XFX
GeForce 8800 GTS 320M XXX
GeForce 8800 GTS 320M
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 8800 GTS
GeForce 7950 GX2
GeForce 7900 GTX
Radeon X1950 XTX (CF Master)


2048MB Corsair PC2-6400C3
2 X 1GB

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

74GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

OS -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-




Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -

OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Pro SP2
nForce Drivers v9.53
DirectX 9.0c (December Redist.)

NVIDIA Forceware v97.92

ATI Catalyst v6.12


Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
Need For Speed: Carbon v1.2*
FarCry v1.4*
F.E.A.R. v1.08
Half Life 2: Episode 1*
Prey v1.2*
Quake 4 v1.3*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/

3DMark06
3DMark06 is the latest addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

According to 3DMark06, the XFX GTX and 320MB GTS are marginally faster then their stock counterparts. Also note that we've included numbers from a reference 320MB 8800 GTS to illustrate how a card clocked at NVIDIA's recommended frequencies performs in comparison to the original GeForce 8 series cards.

If we drill down and look at the individual shader model 2.0 and shader model 3.0 / HDR test results, you can see why XFX's cards perform better than the reference models.  Their higher clock speeds give them advantages in compute performance and memory bandwidth, which result is slightly better performance in both tests.

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Half Life 2: Episode 1

Performance Comparisons with Half-Life 2: Episode 1
Details: http://www.half-life2.com/

Half Life 2:
Episode 1
Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  So, when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion in mid-2003, gamers the world over sat in eager anticipation. Unfortunately, thanks to a compromised internal network, the theft of a portion of the game's source code, and a tumultuous relationship with the game's distributor, Vivendi Universal, we all had to wait quite a while to get our hands on HL2.  Armed with the latest episodic update to HL2, Episode 1, we benchmarked the game with a long, custom-recorded timedemo that takes us through both outdoor and indoor environments. These tests were run at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently, and with color correction and HDR rendering enabled in the game engine as well.

There are a few things to look at in the graph above.  Here you should key in on the performance of the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition in comparison to a stock GTX.  Also, take a look at the performance of the new XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition versus the reference 320MB card, and the new 320MB GTS cards' performance in comparison to the original 640MB model.

As you can see, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX is clearly the top dog thanks to its higher clock speeds. It outpaced the stock GTX by a couple of frames per second at both resolutions. Interestingly enough the XFX 320MB GTS XXX is also faster than the 640MB card, due to its higher clocks and the fact that EP1 doesn't utilize all of the frame buffer memory at these resolutions.

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FarCry v1.4

Performance Comparisons with FarCry v1.4
Details: http://www.farcry.ubi.com/

FarCry
If you've been on top of the gaming scene for some time, you probably know that FarCry was one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC in the last few years.  Courtesy of its proprietary engine, dubbed "CryEngine" by its developers, FarCry's game-play is enhanced by Polybump mapping, advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, dynamic lighting, motion-captured animation, and surround sound. Before titles such as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 hit the scene, FarCry gave us a taste of what was to come in next-generation 3D gaming on the PC. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry using a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint. The tests were run at various resolutions with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.

All of the cards we tested tore right through our custom FarCry benchmark. And the performance trend among all of the cards mirrors that of the Half Life 2: Episode 1 results on the previous page. Once again, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition was the best performer, and the new 320MB 8800 GTS XXX Edition outpaced both the 640MB and 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS reference cards.

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F.E.A.R.v 1.08

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R
More Info: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/

F.E.A.R
One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. Taking a look at the game's minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card in the Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-classes or better, to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.07, we put the graphics cards in this article through their paces to see how they fared with a popular title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to their maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (Soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were then completed at resolutions of 1,280x960 and 1,600x1,200, with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.

The high-end GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition's higher clocks speeds gave it 5 FPS and 9 FPS advantages over the reference GTX depending on the resolution. F.E.A.R. proved to be somewhat of a stumbling block for the new 320MB GTS cards, however.  At the lower resolution, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition pulled ahead of the 320MB and 640MB reference cards by a couple of frames per second.  But once the resolution was increased, the card's higher clock speeds could not compensate for its smaller frame buffer. Despite having lower frequencies, the stock 640MB GTS was 9 FPS faster than the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX 320MB XXX Edition card at 1600x1200.

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Quake 4 v1.3

Performance Comparisons with Quake 4
Details: http://www.quake4game.com/

Quake 4
id Software, in conjunction with developer Raven, recently released the latest addition to the wildly popular Quake franchise, Quake 4. Quake 4 is based upon an updated and slightly modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Quake 4 is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows, but unlike Doom3, Quake 4 features some outdoor environments as well. We ran this these Quake 4 benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled simultaneously.

As you probably expect by now, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition was the fastest of all the cards we tested in our custom Quake 4 benchmark.  Somewhat surprisingly, the new 320MB cards' smaller frame buffer didn't hold it back at all in Q4. The higher clocked XFX card outpaced both GTS reference cards, at both resolutions, regardless of frame buffer size.

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Prey v1.2

 

Performance Comparisons with Prey
Details: http://www.prey.com/

Prey
After many years of development, Take-Two Interactive recently released the highly anticipated game Prey. Prey is based upon an updated and modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Prey is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a plethora of dynamic lighting and shadows.  But unlike Doom3, Prey features a fare share of outdoor environments as well.  We ran these Prey benchmarks using a custom recorded timedemo with the game set to its "High-Quality" graphics mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled simultaneously.

The results reported by our custom Prey benchmark mirror those of the Quake 4 results on the previous page. The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition was once again the top performer, and the new 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS cards performed on par with the original 640MB model. Of course, XFX's 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS was marginally faster then the other GTS cards because of its higher clocks as well. At these resolutions, Prey is another game that doesn't seem to benefit from frame buffers larger than 320MB.

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NFS: Carbon

Performance Comparisons with Need For Speed: Carbon
Details: http://nfs.ea.com/

Need For Speed:
Carbon
Dating back to the days of floppy disks, EGA, and the Lamborghini Countach, the Need For Speed franchise is undoubtedly one of the most popular in gaming history.  The most recent addition to the franchise is Need For Speed: Carbon, a racing-sim loaded with muscle cars and exotics in addition to a number of lighting and special graphical effects. We ran these NFS: Carbon benchmarks by utilizing FRAPS and tracking framerates on the same track, using the same car with every graphics card. The game was configured with all of its graphics-related options set to their maximum values, with motion blur enabled.  We tested the game at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled simultaneously.

Performance in Need for Speed: Carbon didn't seem to falter with the GeForce 88000 GTS 320MB card's smaller frame buffer. The XFX GeForce 8800 GTS XXX Edition was faster than both reference GTS cards by a few frames per second at both resolutions, regardless of frame buffer size. And the flagship GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition was once again the fastest of the bunch.

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XHD Resolutions: HL2 EP1

For our next batch of tests, we broke out the 30" Dell 3007 WFP and tested the card at XHD resolutions of 1920x1200 and 2560x1600.

Performance Comparisons with Half-Life 2: Episode 1 XHD
Details: http://www.half-life2.com/

Half Life 2: Episode 1
Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  So, when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion, gamers the world over sat in eager anticipation. Upon its release, HL2 was universally lauded, and the sequel won an array of "Game of the Year" awards. Armed with the latest episodic update to HL2, Episode 1, we benchmarked the game with a long, custom-recorded timedemo that takes us through both outdoor and indoor environments. These tests were run at resolutions of 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently, and with color correction and HDR rendering enabled in the game engine as well.

At 1920x1200, the performance trend in Episode 1 looks much like earlier results. The XFX cards were faster than their reference-clocked counterparts. Once the resolution was increased to 2560x1600, however, the 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS cards' performance dropped off considerably. At an ultra-high resolution like this, especially when high-levels of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are used, large frame buffers are a necessity.

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XHD Resolutions: F.E.A.R.

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R XHD
More Info: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/

F.E.A.R
One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. Taking a look at the game's minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card in the Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-classes or better, to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.07, we put the graphics cards in this article through their paces to see how they fared with a popular title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to their maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (Soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were then completed at resolutions of 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600 with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.

XHD resolutions in F.E.A.R. with AA and aniso enabled proved to be a bit much for the new 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS cards. Their smaller frame buffers resulted in much lower performance than the original 640MB model. The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition on the other hand had absolutely no trouble with the game until we upped the resolution to 2560x1600, but it still finished comfortably ahead of the competition.

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XHD Resolutions: Quake 4

Performance Comparisons with Quake 4 XHD
Details: http://www.quake4game.com/

Quake 4
id Software, in conjunction with developer Raven, recently released the latest addition to the classic Quake franchise, Quake 4. Quake 4 is based upon an updated and slightly modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Quake 4 is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows, but unlike Doom3, Quake 4 features some outdoor environments as well. We ran this these Quake 4 benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600 with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled simultaneously.

Even at these excessively high resolutions, the new 320MB cards' smaller frame buffers didn't hold them back all that much in Quake 4. Even though it has only half the memory, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition outpaced the original 640MB reference card. And once again, as expected, the flagship GTX XXX Edition finished at the head of the pack.

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XHD Resolutions: Prey

Performance Comparisons with Prey XHD
Details: http://www.prey.com/

Prey
After many years of development, Take-Two Interactive recently released the highly anticipated game Prey. Prey is based upon an updated and modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Prey is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a plethora of dynamic lighting and shadows.  But unlike Doom3, Prey features a fare share of outdoor environments as well.  We ran these Prey benchmarks using a custom recorded timedemo with the game set to its "High-Quality" graphics mode, at resolutions of 1920 x 1200and 2560 x 1600 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled simultaneously.

The results reported by our custom Prey benchmark when running at XHD resolutions virtually mimic those of Quake 4. The 320MB cards' smaller frame buffer wasn't a hindrance as it performed right on par with the original 640MB model.  And the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition's monster specs, and higher frequencies propelled it to the top of the charts.

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Our Summary and Conclusions

Performance Summary: In our performance profile, we're looking at two products on their own distinct merits -- the XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition and GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition. The new XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition card performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. The card's 50% smaller frame buffer - in comparison to the original GeForce 8800 GTS - didn't hinder performance in the majority of situations. Some games, like F.E.A.R. and Episode 1, however, showed a sharp drop-off in performance once resolutions went higher than 1600x1200.  Overall however, the card's performance is only really overshadowed by the flagship GeForce 8800 GTX.

Summarizing the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition's performance is much easier. This card is quite simply the fastest we have ever tested.  And due to its higher-clocked core and 2GHz memory, its currently the fastest, air-cooled, desktop graphics card money can buy.

XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition: The new 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS is an excellent value when you look at its feature set and performance in comparison to the competition.  More often than not, the 320MB GTS outperforms ATI's current flagship Radeon X1950 XTX and it hangs right alongside the original 640MB GeForce 8800 GTS in situations where its smaller frame buffer doesn't hinder performance. It is not necessarily a good alternative to the 640MB model for gamers with higher res monitors or XHD capable panels, however. At XHD resolutions with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, the 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS' frame buffer comes up a little short in a few of today's games. And this will likely be the case with many future gaming titles as well.  If you've got a XHD capable display (1920X1200 on up), we definitely recommend investing a little extra cash in the 640MB GeForce 8800 GTS or the more powerful GeForce 8800 GTX. If you've got a 19" or 20" panel or a monitor capable of resolutions of 1600x1200 and lower, the new 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS would be a perfect fit. For around $300-$340, these new cards will give you all of the features of NVIDIA's current flagship GPU and plenty of performance, with all of the eye candy turned up in just about any game. Couple that with DX10 support, HDCP compliance, a great video engine, and you can clearly see why the 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS is an extremely enticing product.  In addition, XFX's interpretation in particular is a real winner.  The XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition card we tested is one of the highest clocked models available, its bundle is well rounded and includes a decent game, it's priced competitively, and the XFX double-lifetime warranty is second to none. The XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB XXX Edition is a clear Editor's Choice winner.

  • Great Performance
  • Relatively Affordable
  • DX10 for about $300
  • Good bundle
  • SLI Support
  • Great Warranty
  • 1/2 the Frame Buffer of original GTS
  • Performance Drop at XHD Resolutions with AA and Aniso

XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition: XFX's flagship GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition will also be winning an Editor's Choice award from HotHardware for a number of reasons.  For one, the card carries the same double-lifetime warranty mentioned earlier.  And its price, while relatively high for an 8800 GTX at about $630, isn't completely out of touch with other 8800 GTX offerings, especially in comparison to other "factory overclocked" models.  Where the card really shines is in terms of performance.  Quite simply, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition is the fastest air-cooled desktop graphics card money can buy today. If you're building a high-end gaming rig and were planning to purchase a GF 8800 GTX, you owe it to yourself to check out the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition - this card is a monster.

  • KILLER Fast
  • SLI Support
  • DX10 Support
  • Pricey
  • Power Hungry

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