Review: Bliss 8800GT 512MB TV, the top of its class
Geforce 8800GT's are ready and you can order them as of today. You might even find the first cards in the stores near you.
We traditionally receive our first sample from Gainward, and they’re here and quite ready for race day. The full name is Geforce Bliss 8800GT PCX 512MB TV DUAL DVI and it’s based on D8P/G92.
Gainward Bliss 8800GT PCX 512MB TV Dual DVI
Gainward's card runs at reference speeds. That means that it’s 600MHz for the core and 900MHz (1800 MHz) for the memory. Shader processors are clocked at a high 1500MHz. The card has 112 Shader Units and it’s the card with most Shader Units in its class. Rumors of Geforce 8800GT being overclock friendly have been circulating for a long time; Forceware drivers should soon have Shader Overclocking options.
So far the drivers could only affect the GPU and memory clocks. The card is 9 inches long and it’s cooled by a quiet single slot cooler. The card features one PCIe 3x2 power connector, and this is a real 65nm chip and a real PCIe 2.0 product from Nvidia.
To enjoy your Geforce 8800GT experience, you’ll need the new driver
Gainward 8800GT card has 512MB of memory, which is a standard for these cards. Many vendors will offer 256MB versions. which will. of course, cost less. The memory is GDDR3, and we mentioned it runs at reference 900MHz (1800MHz DDR).
Bliss 8800GT uses Qimonda HYB18H512321BF-10 graphics memory. The name implies that the memory is intended to run at 1000MHz, but the reference design uses 900MHz. Due to good memory properties we easily overclocked it to over 1000MHz (2000MHz DDR).
In the picture you see Geforce 8800GT card without a cooler. G92 core is surrounded by 8 Qimonda memory modules, each packing 64MB of GDDR3 memory. The graphics chip is manufactured in 65nm process, and some documents suggest that the estimated board power should be 110W maximum.
The cooler covers the whole surface of the card, and its girth is about one motherboard slot. The card itself is 9 inches long which is a bit shorter than Geforce 8800GTX, and identical to Geforce 8800GTS cards.
You’ll need additional power from one 2x3 pin connector hidden under the cooler lid, in the back of the graphics card.
Gainward Geforce 8800GT card looks quite stylish, especially with the new cooler. However, many doubt the efficiency of the cooler, especially when they see the small fan.
The fan is quiet under a normal workload, but that’s not the case at full RPM. Gainward’s CD contains a tool called ExpertTool, and with it you can handle the fan speed and overclocking. Quite a nice addition, we must say.
Gainward Geforce 8800GT is a PCI-Express 2.0 card, fully compatible with PCI-E slots on all motherboards. If you’re aiming at DirectX 10.1 and planning a long term investment, then you should know that this card doesn’t support it. For a normal user that might not be that big a deal, especially knowing that most people do their gaming on Win XP that supports just DirectX9. However, DirectX 10 is slowly gaining ground and the lack of DirectX 10.1 and Shader model 4.1 support is a big minus for Nvidia.
All the good properties of the Geforce 8800 series are there. Of course, there’s new stuff:a 65nm chip that is much cooler, single slot design, new VP2 engine, 112 ultra fast Shaders and great performance in all the games. The only thing missing is TRI SLI support.
I/O side of the card reveals two dual-link DVI outs, as well as one S-Video with HDTV signal option. The card has HDCP and we heard that with a HDMI dongle you’ll be able to get HDTV out through DVI.
If you opt for the Gainward 8800GT card, you’ll have no trouble spotting it on the shelves. The box is quite large, too large for our taste, but still very well designed. It’s instantly recognizable thanks to the mascot and the rendered female on the front.
Apart from the standard stuff, we found a copy of Tomb Raider – Lara Croft (Anniversary)
We tested several cards that might be interesting to compare to Geforce 8800GT. We used the 163.71 driver on all the cards, except for Geforce 8800GT, where we used ForceWare 167.26. For Sapphire Radeon HD 2900XT, we used the latest Catalyst 7.10.
Our testing configuration was:
OCZ FlexXLC PC2 9200 5-5-5-18 (Supplied by OCZ)
while testing CL5-5-5-15-CR2T 1066MHz at 2.2V
Freezer 7 Pro (Supplied by Artic Cooling)
Artic Cooling - Artic Fan 12 PWM
Artic Cooling - Artic Fan 8 PWM
Even in the first test of good old 3DMark 03, Geforce 8800GT shows its supremacy over Geforce 8800GTS. Although the first two tests showed that it’s a bit slower than HD 2900XT, Geforce reclaimed its crown in 3DMark 06.
We used the latest official drivers, and we opted for maximum detail settings.
Geforce 8800GT exceeded our expectations in Company of Heroes. It might be the drivers that resulted in such good results. Let’s see how it handles the rest.
HD 2900XT wins on first resolution settings, and on the rest of the test it gave Geforce 8800GT a good run for its money.
Geforce 8800GTX increased the performance gap, and it’s definitely the best card for F.E.A.R. Geforce GTS is a bit slower than Geforce 8800GT, but we know that 8800GT is its successor.
This game confirms that Geforce 8800GT is better than Geforce 8800GTS and that ATI can’t handle this Nvidia’s game quite well.
Again, we see a small margin separating 8800GT and Geforce 8800GTX. We used maximum detail setting and the details are so numerous that they would simply overwhelm most of today’s graphics cards. We see that Gainward Bliss 8800GT managed to score more or less playable FPS on 2048x1536.
Gainward Bliss 8800GT has proven to be a good overclocker; we managed to reach core 728MHz and memory 1020MHz.
Gainward Expertool is a tool that will make overclocking easier for inexperienced users.
Our first attempts at overclocking stopped at stable 690MHz core and 1020MHz for memory. The card ran quietly, but we realize that the core temperature presents a limiting factor. In dynamic work mode, core temperature went sky high – 86 degrees Celsius.
By using manual fan speed settings, we managed to raise the frequency up to 728MHz, and the memory to 1030Mhz. Temperature was acceptable – 65 degrees Celsius.
Overclocking results were good. Geforce 8800GTX was overshadowed after 3DMark 06.
Gainward and Nvidia did a great job with the 8800GT. Nvidia offers a lot to gamers, and the price of €250 is just right. The card can even go head to head with 8800GTX, but only until you turn Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering; due to its 256 bit memory interface it just can’t handle it that well.
The card runs at 728MHz, and the memory is easily overclocked over 2000Mhz. Overclocking yields much better results, so hard core overclockers will be very pleased. Also, the card has a single slot cooler and isn’t power hungry.
It is faster than 8800GTS 640MB that ruled this part of the market, and knowing that it’s faster than Radeon HD2900XT stands as a testament to its power. All things considered, we recommend this card to anyone. At this moment, €250 can’t buy you a faster card that will handle 2007 DX 10 games and all your gaming feats.
Its good performance, loads of overclocking potential, along with a low price assure the 8800GT our Recommended award.