Overclockability, Noise, Compatibility
We tried to overclock the MSI NX8800GT-T2D512E-OC as it was, without installing a liquid cooling system or volt-modding the card. The maximum GPU frequency we achieved with the card’s native cooler was 700MHz, which is 100MHz higher than the reference frequency of GeForce 8800 GT, but 20MHz less than we achieved with a similar card from Leadtek. The shader domain was clocked at 1750MHz at that. The memory chips sped up better than on the Leadtek card, notching 1070 (2140) MHz. That’s quite a lot for chips rated for a clock rate of 1000 (2000) MHz. We didn’t test the MSI NX8800GT-T2D512E-OC at the overclocked frequencies since the frequency growth was rather small.
The MSI card coming with the reference cooler developed by Nvidia, its noise level was just as expected:
The level of ambient noise was 36dBA at the time of the test. The level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from a working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA.
Like any other GeForce 8800 GT, the MSI card has good noise characteristics and is unlikely to be audible among the other noise-producing components of a regular gaming system. In a silent system the card is going to be heard more distinctly, yet not annoyingly. The option of manual control over the fan speed is blocked and quite properly. Considering the rather moderate performance of the new reference cooler, the card may overheat if the fan speed is reduced too much.
As for compatibility, the MSI NX8800GT-T2D512E-OC could work with three out of five mainboards we had at our disposal: ASUS P5N32-E SLI, ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe and DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G. The card refused to work with an Intel Desktop Board D925XCV and an EPoX EP-9NPA+ SLI: the screen remained blank and if we booted the OS up using an auxiliary graphics card on the PCI bus, the Device Manager wouldn’t see the installed PCI Express card. Obviously, the support for PCI Express 1.0a is not itself an obstacle to using the GeForce 8800 GT because the card was perfectly compatible with the ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe which supported that PCI Express standard. Perhaps the problem roots in the specifics of the graphics card’s and/or mainboard’s BIOS. You should make sure the GeForce 8800 GT is compatible with your mainboard before purchasing it.