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Conclusion

The new GPU from Nvidia is not just a success. We can say that it pushes the performance bar in the $199-259 sector up much higher, and it is in this sector that there have been serious problems with gaming performance until the arrival of the GeForce 8800 GT. The new card is a kind of revolution since the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB/320MB become outdated while the GeForce 8800 GTX is not as much better than the new card as to justify its price of $599.

The release of the GeForce 8800 GT cannot but provoke serious changes in Nvidia’s current product line-up. The GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB will be discontinued, while the GeForce 8800 GTS will be replaced with an updated version that has 112 active shader processors to fill in the gap between the GeForce 8800 GT and GeForce 8800 GTX. Perhaps, the latter card will become cheaper because it doesn’t seem right to buy a $599 card while you can get almost the same performance from a $259 product unless you want the support of triple- or quad-SLI technologies for further upgrade.

Although belonging to the mainstream category, the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB delivers fantastic performance in most of today’s games, being just a little inferior to the monstrous GeForce 8800 GTX. That’s the effect of the tech process that helped increase the frequency of the shader processors greatly. Moreover, the Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme sometimes had a higher performance than the GeForce 8800 GTX in our tests! The new card was only occasionally inferior or equal to the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB. So, Nvidia hasn’t developed a new GPU for the high-end market in the whole year since the release of the G80, but it now offers a product that makes the speed of the GeForce 8800 GTX affordable for buyers of mainstream graphics cards.
It is yet too early to claim that the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT is the best graphics card of this winter, though. The recently announced ATI Radeon HD 3850 and HD 3870 are targeted at the below-$239 price sector but support DirectX 10.1, a HDMI interface and a better implementation of multi-GPU technologies.

We should also note certain drawbacks of the new product, the most important of which is its incompatibility with some mainboards that support the older PCI Express 1.0a standard. Perhaps this can be corrected by BIOS updates, yet the problem exists and many potential users can be taken aback at this news. We recommend you to make sure your mainboard supports PCI Express 1.1 before purchasing a GeForce 8800 GT. The new card has no problems with that standard as well as with PCI Express 2.0.

Another drawback that needs mentioning is the design of the cooling system. It’s not quite clear why the developer limited himself to the single-slot form-factor if dual-slot coolers have long become a typical attribute of top-end graphics cards. Perhaps they wanted to simplify the installation of the GeForce 8800 GT into small system cases such as cases for multimedia systems. So, the cooler is indeed compact, but this compactness means a reduced efficiency since the hot air is not exhausted out of the system. We guess there’ll be quite a lot of GeForce 8800 GT models with more efficient coolers on the market, though.

The Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme doesn’t differ from Nvidia’s reference card in anything except for the GPU and memory frequencies. This product indicates that G92-based solutions feature excellent scalability and can easily reach the performance of a GeForce 8800 GTX and even higher.

The Leadtek product deserves our praises for its performance as well as accessories, particularly the copy of Neverwinter Nights 2. Of course, the pre-overclocked version of GeForce 8800 GT is going to cost more than the version with the reference frequencies, yet still much less than $599, which is the price of the 8800 GTX. So, if you are searching for a compromise between top performance and price, the Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme may be just what you need.

Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB

Highs:

  • Best performance in $259 price range;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent anisotropic filtering quality;
  • Fully-fledged hardware support for HD video decoding;
  • HD video post-processing;
  • PCI Express 2.0 support;
  • Compact design;
  • Good overclocking potential;
  • Low recommended price.

Lows:

  • Not the most efficient cooling system;
  • Compatibility issues with some of the mainboards.

Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme

Highs:

  • Performance close to that og GeForce 8800 GTX;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent anisotropic filtering quality;
  • Fully-fledged hardware support for HD video decoding;
  • HD video post-processing;
  • PCI Express 2.0 support;
  • Compact design;
  • Full version of Neverwinter Nights 2 game included;
  • Low price for the performance level.

Lows:

  • Not the most efficient cooling system;
  • Compatibility issues with some of the mainboards.
 
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