We got the chance to play around with one of the best 8800 GT cards we've seen thus far. We're talking about Gainward's Golden Sample card with a massive 1024MB of GDDR3 memory. This is the stuff that geek wet dreams are made of, it's not just the gigabyte of memory crammed onto the red PCB, but the massive and very attractive heatpipe cooler which is almost silent.
Not only does it let you enjoy the silence, but it also manages to chill the card to even lower temps than the reference cooler. Although it's a dual slot solution we don't think enthusiasts will mind as they're used to dual slot coolers on cards with similar performance.
We already saw the same cooler on Gainward's 8800 GT Goes Like Hell (GHL) card, which was put through its paces here. Gainward's Geforce 8800 GT GHL runs at 700MHz core, while the Golden sample is clocked at 650+ MHz. The plus means that the card can easily be overclocked, and we were able to prove this in our first overclocking run. A 700MHz clock wasn't a problem and we managed to push the Golden Sample card to 730MHz without any stability issues.
Gainward uses Samsung's 1nm memory chips which are rated at 1000MHz. Since the memory is clocked at 950+ MHz it's obvious that there's some headroom for overclocking. Once again we see the plus in the clock speed and once again we had no trouble pushing the clocks a tad higher. We overclocked the memory to 1020MHz. You can see eight 64MB memory modules on each side of the card. On the back you can see a large heatsink which helps cool and protect the memory chips on the back.
The fist results we got are good enough to recommend this card, of course if you can manage to find it anywhere. The additional 512MB of memory isn't of much help in certain situations, but those who want a 1024MB card will know how to utilize its potential. In 3DMark 06 the 1024MB card outperforms reference cards, and when overclocked to 730MHz core and 2040MHz memory it shows it can do even more. The Shaders are clocked at 1625MHz, 125MHz over the reference 1500MHz.