GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS SLI Performance Update

Introduction, Specifications and Related Info

A few short weeks ago, NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce 8800 series of graphics cards and the nForce 600 family of core logic chipsets on the very same day. The flagship parts in each of these product categories, the GeForce 8800 GTX and the nForce 680i SLI, made the basis of what NVIDIA has dubbed their "Ultimate Gaming Platform". The feature set and initial testing of the GeForce 8800 series of cards and the nForce 680i SLI chipset definitely gave credence to this title, but at the time of the launch NVIDIA hadn't quite worked all of the kinks out of the G80's early drivers.  As such, we only included a handful of preliminary SLI benchmarks in our coverage of the launch.

Since then, however, NVIDIA has released a couple of fresh sets of Forceware drivers for the GeForce 8800 series, so we thought it was a good time to revisit the GTX and GTS to see how a pair of each type of card performed in a dual-GPU SLI configuration. So, armed with dual GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS cards, and a top-of-the-line testbed, we set out to do just that...

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: 

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 GeForce 8800 GTX and GTS SLI configurations 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 related details.

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