Overclockability, Noise, Compatibility
Although the WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme comes pre-overclocked by the manufacturer, we still tried to speed it up further.
We managed to increase the GPU frequency to 720MHz with the default cooler – the shader domain was clocked at 1800MHz at that. That doesn’t seem much in terms of frequency growth, yet you should keep it mind that the default GPU frequencies of this GeForce 8800 GT model are already as high as 680/1500MHz. Nvidia’s new graphics core seems to have a good frequency potential: the growth from 600/1500MHz to 720/1800MHz with an air cooler is quite an achievement.
The memory chip refused to overclock just as we had expected and the graphics card was only stable at a memory frequency of 1050 (2100) MHz. That’s normal considering that these memory chips have a rated frequency of 1000 (2000) MHz and that we didn’t change the cooler or volt-mod the card. A better cooler may help reach higher frequencies, of course. Since we had a very modest frequency growth, especially with the memory chips, we didn’t test the Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme at the overclocked frequencies.
We measured the level of noise produced by the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. We got the following results:
The fan was very loud when we started up the system, but its speed then lowered considerably to a comfortable level. The card was practically inaudible among the noise from the HDDs and the fans of the PSU and CPU cooler. We should note that our testbed is configured like a top-end gaming system that is rather noisy by itself. In a quieter environment, for example in a multimedia system, the cooler of the GeForce 8800 GT is going to be more distinct. The option of manual control over the fan speed is currently blocked on the GeForce 8800 GT, which is quite right because an inexperienced user could reduce the speed too low, putting the card under the risk of overheat. The single-slot cooler works at its limit already.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t measure the power consumption of the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT. Despite the declared compatibility with mainboards that do not support PCI Express 2.0, the new card does have some issues in this respect. Particularly, the Leadtek card proved incompatible with our Intel Desktop Board D925XCV (Intel 925X) and EPoX EP-9NPA+ SLI (Nvidia nForce4 SLI) that are based on chipsets that support version 1.0a of the PCI Express standard.
Although PCI Express 2.0 cards are compatible only with mainboards with PCI Express 1.1 and higher, our GeForce 8800 GT worked on an ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200) which only supports PCI Express 1.0a, according to the official PCI-SIG website. Moreover, the Leadtek WinFast PX8800 GT Extreme worked well on an experimental ATI RD480 (ATI CrossFire Xpress 1600) mainboard.
So, the GeForce 8800 GT has some incompatibility issues and we recommend you to check this out before you purchase that card. The problem may be corrected by modifying the graphics card’s BIOS but that’s a risky matter. We’ll be keeping an eye on that subject and informing you until the situation is clear.
By the way, this is not the first case of incompatibility of Nvidia’s graphics cards with some mainboards. We can recall the GeForce 7950 GX2 and some models of GeForce 8800 GTX as examples. Now there is the same problem with the GeForce 8800 GT and the users have to hope that Nvidia will see to this issue and take measures to correct it.