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NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Graphics Card Review Rev. 4.0
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Introduction

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT is built upon the new G92 GPU. The G92 is a refresh of the ground-breaking NVIDIA G80 GPU which gave us graphics cards like the GeForce 8800 GTX and the GeForce 8800 Ultra. Like those graphics cards, the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT features a massively-parallel unified architecture, as well as support for DirectX 10.

If you have not already read about the technology behind the G80 GPU, do take a look at our NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX/GTS Tech Report. It will give you a good grounding on the new NVIDIA unified architecture and the G80 GPU, which is the basis of the new G92 GPU. For more details on the actual architecture of the new G92 GPU, do take a look at our NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Tech Report.

Now, let's take a look at how the GeForce 8800 GT compares against its predecessors. Here's a comparison table of NVIDIA's mid-range graphics cards of the past and present.

GeForce
8800 GT
GeForce
7950 GT
GeForce
7900 GT
GeForce
7800 GT
Architecture
G92
G71
G71
G70
Manufacturing Process
65 nm
90 nm
90 nm
110 nm
Transistor Count
754 Million
278 Million
278 Million
302 Million
DirectX Support
10
9.0c
9.0c
9.0c
Interface
PCI Express 2.0
PCI Express
PCI Express
AGP/PCIe
Stream Processors
112
-
-
-
Vertex Shaders
-
8
8
7
Vertex Shader Version
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
Pixel Shaders
-
24
24
20
Pixel Shader Version
4.0
3.0
3.0
3.0
ROPs
16
16
24
16
Core Speed
600 MHz
550 MHz
450 MHz
400 MHz
Fill Rate
33,600 MTexels/s
13,200 MTexels/s
10,800 MTexels/s
8,000 MTexels/s
Memory Bus Width
256-bits
256-bits
256-bits
256-bits
Memory Type
GDDR3
GDDR3
GDDR3
GDDR3
Memory Speed
900 MHz
700 MHz
660 MHz
500 MHz
Memory Bandwidth
57.6 GB/s
44.8 GB/s
42.2 GB/s
32.0 GB/s

The new GeForce 8800 GT offers a tremendous performance advantage over the older mid-range GeForce GT graphics cards. It boasts a fill rate that is over 2.5X greater than the GeForce 7950 GT and over 4X greater than the GeForce 7800 GT.

Its improvement in memory bandwidth is more modest in comparison. At 57.6 GB/s, it has 28.6% more bandwidth than the GeForce 7950 GT and 80% more bandwidth than the GeForce 7800 GT. Not bad but it is certainly far from what the GeForce 8800 GTX (86.4 GB/s) and GeForce 8800 Ultra (103.68 GB/s) can achieve.

 

New Silicon

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT is based on the new NVIDIA G92 GPU. This is basically a tweaked and G80 silicon die-shrinked using the 65 nm process technology. This allows NVIDIA to cramp even more transistors into the die and yet produce a smaller chip.

The NVIDIA G92 GPU has 754 million transistors, which is 73 million (10.7%) more transistors than the NVIDIA G80 GPU's 681 million transistors. Yet, the G80 GPU has the same number of stream processors as the G92. So, why so many more transistors?

The graphics core in the new G92 GPU remains essentially unchanged from the G80. The increase in transistor count in the NVIDIA G92 GPU is actually due to the new VP2 PureVideo HD video processor integrated into the new GPU, as well as support for PCI Express 2.0.

 

Models & Pricing

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT will be available in two "flavours" - the standard 512MB model and a cheaper 256MB model. Both models will retain the same clock speeds and the 256-bit memory bus. So, the only real difference is the size of the memory buffer.

At launch, the standard NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 memory will be priced from US$199 to US$249, depending on the vendor and value-added features. The 256MB model will be slightly cheaper at US$179-US$199, again depending on the vendor and value-added features.

That's really quite cheap, isn't it? But will the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT make a great Christmas present, or should we be looking for something with even better value? Let's find out in this review.



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