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Conclusion

Our tests show that the new graphics card from Nvidia, GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, is a highly successful product in many respects. It not only sets a new performance level in its price category but also brings about many improvements over the older cards.

Particularly, we mean the return to the highly efficient cooler that used to be installed on older models of GeForce 8800 GTS. As a result, the new card is not only faster but also more reliable. You don’t have to worry about overheat with the new cooler as you had to with the reference GeForce 8800 GT cooler. The level of noise is very low, too.

Our today’s tests show that this new graphics card from the $299-349 price category is indeed as fast as the Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX, which comes from the $549-649 sector, in most of games despite having less memory and lower memory bandwidth. The only exception is the resolution of 1920x1200 where the influence of the memory subsystem parameters on performance is substantial especially with enabled FSAA. The two cards also differ greatly in certain games, mostly those that use DirectX 10: Call of Juarez, Lost Planet and World in Conflict. Interestingly, these three games have one thing in common. All of them have very high system requirements, and none of existing graphics cards can deliver a comfortable frame rate in them at the highest graphics quality settings. In Crysis, the most technically perfect game of today, the new card is only inferior to the GeForce 8800 GTX at 1920x1200, and we don’t think it is because it felt a lack of graphics memory but rather because the available memory was not efficiently utilized by the ForceWare driver.

In other words, Nvidia really offers you the performance of a GeForce 8800 GTX for $299-349. It is quite possible that, like with GeForce 8800 GT, there will be pre-overclocked versions of GeForce 8800 GTS 512 or even versions with 1GB of memory, and such cards won’t leave a chance to the GeForce 8800 GTX. The G80 generation will have to leave the scene to better solutions. That’s the law of the market, and the next generation of GeForce cards, with the index of 9800, is already looming in the horizon (see this news story for details).

Alas, it is going to be impossible to purchase a GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB for $299 in near future. Nvidia can try to solve this problem directly, i.e. reducing the price of the G92, but also by recommending its partners to use cheaper components (see this news story for details). Anyway, it is already clear that there is no reason why you may want to buy a GeForce 8800 GTX today. But if you’ve got such a card already, you don’t have to replace it with a GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB as the latter delivers roughly similar performance.

As for the specific card from Leadtek, it received highly positive verdict from us, although it is not a unique products but just a copy of the reference card from Nvidia with Leadtek’s logotype stickers on the cooler. If you are not hunting for any unique high-tech features, the WinFast PX8800 GTS 512MB is going to be a good choice, and you’ll get a full copy of Neverwinter Nights 2 game with it as a bonus.

Highs:

  • Excellent performance in games;
  • Outperforms Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX in some cases;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering;
  • Hardware HD video decoding support;
  • PCI Express 2.0 support;
  • No compatibility problems;
  • Low noise;
  • Highly efficient cooling;
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 game in the accessories bundle;
  • Low price for this performance level.

Lows:

  • The cooling system may be too big to fit into a compact case;
  • The price may be increased because of the shortage in stores.
 
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