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Conclusion

It is time for us to do some summarizing. We have tested two models of Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS, one of which is a direct opponent to the AMD Radeon X1950 XTX, while the other is meant for a performance-mainstream sector and is priced at $299. So what do the test results have to tell us?

The senior model with an official price of $449 has been good in terms of performance. The GeForce 8800 GTS outperformed the AMD Radeon X1950 XTX in most of our tests. There are only a few applications in which it provides the same performance as the AMD card and is slower than the dual-chip GeForce 7950 GX2. Considering the highest performance provided by the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB, we would not compare it directly with the last-generation products because the latter do not support DirectX 10. Moreover, the GeForce 7950 GX2 offer a lower quality of anisotropic filtering and may be incompatible with some games.

The GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB is surely the best solution in the $449-499 price range, yet we want to warn you that the new-generation products from Nvidia are still not perfect. There are flickering shadows in Call of Juarez . And you have to resort to special tricks to launch Splinter Cell: Double Agent on ForceWare 97.94. So, although the GeForce 8800 GTS will deservedly hold the title of the best $449 graphics card until the arrival of AMD’s new-generation products, we would advise you to make sure before the purchase that it is compatible with your favorite games.

The new GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB is a good buy for its official price of $299. Among its advantages are support of DirectX 10, high-quality anisotropic filtering and good performance in common display resolutions. So, if you are going to play in resolutions of 1280x1024 or 1600x1200, the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB will be an excellent choice.

Unfortunately, the technically promising graphics card, which differs from the more expensive version in the amount of memory only, is sometimes much slower than the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB not only in games that demand a lot of graphics memory (e.g. Serious Sam 2 ), but also in applications that didn’t reveal any difference between graphics cards with 512MB and 256MB of memory before. Particularly, these are TES IV: Oblivion, Neverwinter Nights 2, and F.E.A.R. Extraction Point . 320MB is considerably more than 256MB, so this is a memory management problem, probably a driver issue. Anyway, even with the mentioned drawbacks, the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB looks much more appealing than the GeForce 7950 GT or Radeon X1950 XT, even though the latter are going to become cheaper now.

The MSI NX8800GTS-T2D640E-HD-OC is a product with good accessories bundle which difference from Nvidia’s reference card goes beyond the box design, accessories and the sticker on its cooler. This graphics card is pre-overclocked by the manufacturer and ensures a considerable performance boost over the reference GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB in most games. Of course, it cannot match the GeForce 8800 GTX, but it’s not bad to have some extra frames per second. These graphics cards seem to be carefully selected and tested to ensure their ability to function at increased frequencies because our sample did quite well during overclocking. It is possible that many samples of the NX8800GTS OC Edition can be overclocked above their default frequencies.

We should give MSI special credit for accompanying its product with a two-disc edition of Company of Heroes which is considered the best strategy game of the year by many game reviewers. If you are indeed going to buy a GeForce 8800 GTS, we strongly recommend that you check out this product from MSI.

MSI NX8800GTS-T2D640E-HD-OC

Highs:

  • Increased performance over the reference GeForce 8800 GTS
  • High performance at high resolutions with enabled FSAA
  • Supports new modes and methods of antialiasing
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering
  • Unified architecture with 96 shader processors
  • Future-proof with support of DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.0
  • Effective cooling system
  • Low level of noise
  • Good overclockability
  • Good accessories

Lows:

  • Some issues with the drivers
  • High power consumption

GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB

Highs

  • High performance for its class
  • Supports new modes and methods of antialiasing
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering
  • Unified architecture with 96 shader processors
  • Future-proof with support of DirectX 10 and Shader Model 4.0
  • Effective cooling system
  • Low noise level

Lows:

  • Buggy drivers (problems with graphics memory management; low performance in certain games/modes)
  • High power consumption
 
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