Review: So good you can't find it
Another super fast 8800 GT card found its way to our labs, and it once again proved that 65nm G92 chips are great overclockers. 8800 GT cards offer great bang for the buck and Nvidia's partners don't hesitate to sell overclocked versions of these cards.
We've already reviewed a couple of overclocked 8800 GT's, but this time, the EVGA card runs at 700MHz. This is the famous 8800 GT SSC series, and you can rest assured that it's the best one around. So far, no one has dared to overclock this card further than 700MHz, at least to our knowledge.
EVGA 8800 GT Superclocked card's memory runs at 1000MHz (2000MHz DDR), whereas the Shaders got a 250MHz boost, and now run at 1750MHz. EVGA ships Enemy Territory: Quake Wars with these cards, and that definitely makes this card even more appealing.
At these high speeds, the card can handle anything you might dish out. However, its terminal flaw is the same thing that haunts the rest of 8800 GT cards – lack of availability. If you don’t mind paying more, 8800 GTS cards are somewhat easier to get; they’re also based on G92, and EVGA has plenty in stock.
8800 GT features a 65nm chipset with maximum consumption of 110W, which isn’t half bad when you consider its strength. It packs DX10, Shader model 4.0, PCI 2.0 interface, 112 Stream processors and VP2 (Video Processor 2) that so far has been exclusive to Nvidia’s low-end cards. This means PureVideo HD support in high definition video content acceleration and post-processing done entirely in hardware, thus ridding the CPU of this intensive task.
The card has a quiet single slot cooler, but the core sometimes hits 92 degrees Celsius. You can manually set the fan’s RPM, and significantly improve cooling. Maximum RPM is just too loud for us, so you should try to find the right value so as not to compromise cooling or your hearing. Still, the EVGA card at 700MHz had the same temperatures as reference cards at 600MHz and the same cooler.
Within the product box you’ll find a plastic box containing the card and the rest of the “usual” stuff, including Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. When we say usual, we mean two DVI-to-VGA dongles, S-video and HDTV cable, 6-pin power cable, PCIe cable, driver CD and the user’s manual.
We incorporated Gainward 8800 GT GLH results also running at 700MHz. Both cards run at almost identical speeds, it’s only the memory clocks that are different; Gainward has the edge there, but only by 25MHz.
It’s fun seeing overclocked 8800 GT beating the new 8800 GTS based on the same G92 core, and running at 650MHz.
EVGA 680i SLI (Supplied by EVGA)
Intel Core 2 Duo 6800 Extreme edition (Supplied by Intel)
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
Overclocked 8800 GT’s were better than 8800 GTS (G92), but the difference between Gainward and EVGA is virtually non-existent. Gainward’s using a dual slot cooler, and that’s the only thing that sets these two apart. The rest of the results are quite similar to Futuremark tests – there’s no real winner. Both cores run at 700MHz and Shaders at 1750MHz. Compared to Nvidia’s reference 8800 GT, EVGA 8800 GT ,SSC is much better.
In Company of Heroes, the EVGA card beats Nvidia’s reference 8800 GT by 13%. It also performs well versus 8800 GTS, and at lower resolutions it even beats 8800 GTX.
It's as if World in Conflict was playing tricks on 8800 GT cards, so initially EVGA outperformed Gainward, then the tables turned, and finally, at higher resolutions and with antialiasing on, the cards performed identically.
In F.E.A.R. the difference between reference and overclocked cards is clearly visible – Nvidia’s 8800 GT was slower by up to 19%. F.E.A.R. does like higher clocks, so even 8800 GTS couldn’t compete with an overclocked EVGA 8800 GT SSC card.
In Crysis at 1280x1024, we gamed with anti-aliasing on, and EVGA 8800 GT SSC scored 33.4 frames, which is the best result for any G92-based card scored.
EVGA has a great card that can even lock horns with the 8800 GTS with 128 Stream processors. Geforce 8800 GT SSC can do that because it runs at 700MHz, and that’s a whole 100MHz more than reference cards offer.
With 513MB GDDR3 memory running at 1000MHz (2000MHz DDR), this card is a diamond – and it’s just as hard to find. We’ve already seen that 8800 GTS is a great card, but it costs a bit more than overclocked 8800 GT, although GTS is also a good overclocker.
In current games and gaming at standard gaming resolutions, 8800 GT and 8800 GTS are more than enough. If you want more, then you should check out EVGA’s Triple SLI here.
If you can find this card in retail, then we seriously recommend you snatch it up, and do it fast, because it might take a while before you get another chance.