Introduction & Specifications

When we first took a look at the GeForce 8800 Ultra, back in May, we were left with some mixed feelings. On one hand it was, and still is, the undisputed graphics champ. On the other hand, it didn't introduce any new features and it wasn't a whole lot faster than its significantly cheaper sibling, and former graphics champ, the 8800 GTX. The nearly $250 price delta between the Ultra and the GTX was hard to justify since the Ultra is essentially just an overclocked GTX with a larger cooling apparatus.
Anyone looking for screaming top-end performance that isn't hell-bent on owning the absolute fastest graphics card on the market has a bevy of 8800 GTX cards to choose from. Although no GTX can match the Ultra in core clock, memory and shader clock frequency right out of the box, several factory overclocked 8800 GTXs come pretty close and a couple even manage to exceed the Ultra's stock frequency in one of the three areas. The PNY XLR8 8800 GTX OC is one such product.

PNY Technologies currently offers a full range of GeForce 8 series graphics cards from an affordable 8500 GT to a factory overclocked 8800 Ultra. Possibly the most interesting product in their entire product range is their factory overclocked 8800 GTX. The XLR8 8800 GTX OC is factory overclocked to near Ultra speeds and even exceeds the Ultra's stock core clock frequency, yet it's one of the cheapest factory overclocked GTXs currently available. We're putting PNY's XLR8 8800 GTX OC on our test bench and through its paces to find out if we can really get GeForce 8800 Ultra level performance for a GeForce 8800 GTX price.

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PNY XLR8 Inner Boxes

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


The PNY XLR8 8800 GTX OC has a list price of $579.99 and it is one of the more affordable factory overclocked 8800 GTXs currently available. The XL8 has its core, shader, and memory clock frequencies all overclocked at the factory, so it's ready to rumble right out of the box. It receives a 100MHz (200MHz effective) memory overclock, 108MHz shader overclock and a nice 46MHz overclock to its core. While 46MHz doesn't seem like a whole lot, consider that it makes the XLR8 9MHz faster than a stock 8800 Ultra. All this for about $120 off the price of the cheapest 8800 Ultras, which can currently be found for about $700. Overall, the XLR8's generous factory overclock could give it the muscle it needs to keep pace with a geniune 8800 Ultra.


As previously mentioned, the XL8 isn't just well endowed for a 8800 GTX, but it also happens to be a good value in comparison to other GTXs. We had suspected that PNY skimpted on the packaging and bundle to bring the price down, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn't true. While you won't find any fancy peripherals or free software titles here, all of the essentials are included and the packaging is some of the best we have seen. The box's matte black finish with the gold leaf lettering looks great and the thick, metal-braced, double-boxed construction feels quite sturdy. Everything about the packaging speaks of class and exclusitivity, belying the XLR8's modest price (for a 8800GTX).

Although the bundle doesn't include any free games or software, the essentials are all here and you're provided with everything you need to get going. Included in the bundle is a short S-video cable, two DVI-to-VGA adapters, two dual-molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapters and an VIVO adapter that has component video outputs . A suspiciously beefy "quick start" guide and a driver CD are also included in the package along with a coupon for System Mechanic 7 by Iolo Technologies.

Just like the accessory bundle, the driver disk has all the essentials. Included on the disk are drivers, Aadobe Acrobat Reader, DirectX 9, NVIDIA's Adrianne demo and a handfull of high resolution wallpapers. Also included on the driver disk is a collection of documentation in PDF format such as a digital version of the user guide and NVIDIA documentation such as driver release notes.

Tags:  GTX, pny, XLR8, GT

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