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Conclusion

The Gainward Bliss 8800 GT 512MB GS GLH might have left a better impression on us with all its exciting features such as superb performance in games, audio-over-HDMI, good accessories, compatibility with all mainboards, an efficient and silent cooling system, but, unfortunately, this impression is somewhat spoiled by the defective heatsink. The heatsink’s sole being not quite flat, there was poor contact between it and the GPU. The graphics card would overheat and hang up as a consequence. We solved the problem by replacing the thermal grease and polishing the heatsink, but that’s not quite what you want to do with a graphics card you’ve just purchased. When you buy a product that claims to be special – and Gainward’s Golden Sample series is special indeed – you expect it to work normally and to be free from factory defects. Gainward should really make sure that serially produced Bliss 8800 GT 512MB GS GLH come with a normal cooler if the company doesn’t want to worsen its reputation in the customer’s eyes. Hopefully, this is a defect of our specific sample of the card or only concerns presale sample that are not going to be sold in retail.

With a normal cooler, the Gainward Bliss 8800 GT 512MB GS GLH is a very appealing product. As opposed to the cards with the reference PCB design, it is absolutely silent while delivering the same or better performance. On the downside are its price and availability. First, the card is going to be more than the official price of $259 because it belongs to the Golden Sample series and has per-overclocked frequencies. The current shortage of G92 chips may affect its price, too. The same shortage limits the card’s availability – you are not going to find it freely available at your local shop. Anyway, the price is still going to be lower than the price of the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX, so if the problem with the cooler was a defect of our particular sample, the Bliss 8800 GT 512MB GS GLH can be viewed as the best choice for a devoted gamer.

This graphics card may also be interesting to people who are building an advanced multimedia system capable of running modern games because it features a silent cooler (but it prevents you from installing the card into small system cases) and supports audio-over-HDMI. Although the latter feature is not native (an integrated audio core is currently available on ATI’s Radeon HD series only), the SPDIF adapter will help avoid a clutter of cables just as successfully.

Highs:

  • Excellent performance in games;
  • In some cases runs faster than Nvidia GeForc e8800 GTX;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent anisotropic filtering quality;
  • Fully-fledged support of hardware HD-video decoding;
  • Advanced post-processor for HD-video;
  • HDMI sound output support;
  • PCI Express 2.0 support;
  • No compatibility issues;
  • Quiet and efficient cooling system;
  • Good accessories bundle;
  • Low price for the performance.

Lows:

  • Defective cooling system on our particular sample;
  • Low overclocking potential;
  • Outdated DVD player bundled with the card.
 
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