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Overclocking

The specification of the GeForce 8800 GTX – its complex PCB, tech process, clock rates of the G80 chip and the amount of transistors in it – couldn’t raise any hopes for good overclocking. We thought the overclockability of such a complex graphics card must be near zero.

However, the reality broke our theoretical constructions as we increased the main GPU frequency from 575 to 625MHz and the card was stable at it for a long time. We don’t know what the frequency of the shader processors was at that, if it changed at all, because it may be fixed at 1350MHz. If this frequency indeed grew up proportionally, it must have been 1467MHz. This 8% frequency growth should have affected the heat dissipation of the GPU.

The memory frequency was increased by 50MHz, too, from 900 (1800) to 950 (1900) MHz. Considering the 384-bit memory access bus that made the wiring of the PCB more complex and that we exceeded the rating frequency of the memory chips, this is a good enough result. Anyway, the GeForce 8800 GTX can be overclocked without extreme methods like volt-modding and without replacing its native cooler with a higher-performance water- or cryogen-based one.

Now it’s time to see the new graphics architecture in action.

Testbed and Methods

We benchmarked the GeForce 8800 GTX card on platforms with the following components:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 CPU (2x2.60GHz, 2x1MB L2 cache)
  • ABIT AN8 32X mainboard (nForce4 SLI X16) for Nvidia GeForce graphics cards
  • Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe mainboard (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200) for ATI Radeon graphics cards
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EL DDR SDRAM (2x1GB, CL2-3-2-5)
  • Maxtor MaXLine III 7B250S0 hard disk drive (Serial ATA-150, 16MB buffer)
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 sound card
  • Enermax Liberty 620W power supply (ELT620AWT)
  • Samsung SyncMaster 244T monitor (24”, 1920х1200@75Hz max display mode)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c
  • ATI Catalyst 6.10
  • Nvidia ForceWare 96.97 Release Candidate

The drivers were set up in such a way as to deliver the best quality of texture filtering.

ATI Catalyst:

  • Catalyst A.I.: Standard
  • Mipmap Detail Level: High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh: Always off
  • Adaptive antialiasing: Off
  • Temporal antialiasing: Off
  • High Quality AF: On
  • Other settings: by default

Nvidia ForceWare:

  • Texture Filtering: High quality
  • Anisotropic sample optimization: Off
  • Trilinear optimization: Off
  • Force mipmaps: None
  • Threaded optimization: Auto
  • Gamma correct antialiasing: On
  • Transparency antialiasing: Off
  • Vertical sync: Force off
  • Other settings: by default

Since we’re dealing with a completely new graphics architecture, we will first carry out a short theoretical investigation before running real-life games on our GeForce 8800 GTX. This will help us identify the weak and strong points of the GeForce 8800 architecture. We use the following programs for that:

  • Marko Dolenc’s Fillrate Tester
  • Xbitmark version 0.65
  • Futuremark 3DMark05 build 1.2.0
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 build 1.0.2
 
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