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The mass release of GeForce 8 series cards based on the new 65nm G92 chip was one of the most important events that happened in the world of consumer 3D graphics in the second half of 2007. The GeForce 8800 GT is a real gift for every gamer as it brings you the performance of a high-end product at a price of the performance-mainstream class. However, despite the excellent technical specs and superiority in games, there are some things that prevent Nvidia from enjoying an unrivalled dominance in the below-$300 sector.

Today, the GeForce 8800 GT has got dangerous rivals, ATI’s Radeon HD 3850/3870 that are cheaper and more available – the GeForce 8800 GT is still a rare product and its retail price is considerably higher than the manufacturer’s recommended price of $259 for the 512MB version.

The Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT also has two serious technical problems. First, it is incompatible with a number of mainboards that support version 1.0/1.0a of the PCI Express interface. Today, such mainboards are the most widespread variety. The second problem is about cooling. The new cooler developed by Nvidia especially for the GeForce 8800 GT was designed to be compact with all the ensuing consequences. It is a complex device with heat pipes but its design is questionable. For a single-slot cooler, it is preferable that the hot air is exhausted at the rear of the card, also cooling the power circuit elements, like it was with the coolers of Nvidia’s GeForce 6800 and 7800 GTX. On the GeForce 8800 GT the air flow goes in the opposite direction, partially towards the mounting frame and partially to the side panel of the case. This may provoke a heat bag effect in many system cases where the graphics card is installed with the fan facing downward – the hot air will just stay below the card.

The GeForce 8800 GT is similar to the GeForce 7900 GTX in terms of heat dissipation, but the latter came with one of the best dual-slot coolers whereas the former has the described cooler with a rather weak fan that becomes very loud at an increased speed. All of this has a negative effect on the reliability of the GeForce 8800 GT, especially of its pre-overclocked versions that generate more heat. This problem has been reported by many users of such cards at Web forums.

To avoid the potential problems with pre-overclocked cards, Gainward has introduced a unique version of GeForce 8800 GT that differs from the reference card not only in clock rates but also in its cooler system as well as some other features. In this review we will see if the Gainward Bliss 8800 GT 512MB GS GLH can be viewed as an ideal GeForce 8800 GT 512MB.

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