Performance Summary and Final Comments
Performance Summary: In virtually all tests, the ASUS EN8800GTX was the top performer. 3DMark06 did the best job at demonstrating the performance potential of all cards tested whereas Half-Life 2: Lost Coast showed us where other factors, like CPU speed for example, can hold back this powerhouse from realizing its fullest performance potential.
As we bring this review to a close, there are a couple of things to consider. First and foremost, there is no arguing that the ASUS EN8800GTX is built with the most powerful GPU currently available on the market today. This card barely broke a sweat in a mainstream system, and when it did appear to slow down a bit, all cards performed on roughly the same level, showing other factors were coming into play. At first we were ambivalent about these results, questioning whether a more powerful CPU should have been used or a monitor capable of higher resolutions. In the end, we decided that these tests do have merit. There is no doubt that with a premium class CPU installed, and/or a monitor capable of higher resolutions, we would be able to better demonstrate the differences between all of the cards tested and we would also be able to better show the benefits of SLI as well. But then again, that is what we did in our launch article back in November. With the results achieved in this particular article, we were able to address users with more affordable CPUs and monitors where resolutions don't reach much beyond 1600x1200. What this shows is that the ASUS EN8800GTX, or any GeForce 8800GTX for that matter, is a killer gaming card that is best enjoyed with other hardware in its class, otherwise you might be getting a bit too much muscle. It's like dropping the engine of a Ferrari in the common SUV, you'll get a lot of muscle but you won't be doing 300MPH any time soon. That is, until more DX10-class titles hit the market. In the mean time, what's more interesting perhaps is turning up AA and Aniso Filtering to the max and enjoying as much eye candy as you can get with this card.
Selling in the ballpark of $595 - $629, the ASUS EN8800GTX doesn't come cheap, and we've see similar models for up to $60 or $80 less. Regardless, this card will pay handsome dividends when installed in a system with the power to complement it. On the flip-side of the equation, if the video card costs more than the hardware in your system, you might be throwing cash away. In that case, it may be wise to save a few dollars and set your sights on a card that might be more suited to your current hardware, such as an Asus EN8800GTS which sells for $200 less and will still bring potent DirectX 10 capabilities to your system.