Budget gamer always dreamt for high performance with low cost. When Nvidia released its 8600 series a few months ago, it gave many gamers big hope. Unfortunately, even though it was cheap and DirectX 10 supported, the 8600 turned out to be a weak performer. Even the high-end GPUs of the Geforce 7 series outperformed the 8600.
Nvidia did not settle quitely with the consumer's opinion about the 8600. Recently, they launched the 8800GT to patch-up the dissappointment caused by the 8600 series. Nvidia's new Geforce 8800GT promised consumers to deliver stunning performance for little bucks. Currently retailing at around 250 to 300$, the 8800GT did succeed in satisfying its user with a remarkable performance.
One of the intresting fact about this card that I found was that even though this card belongs to the Geforce 8 Family, it had the architecture naming of the 9 series(G92). Nvidia once used to name its card's architecture depending on its family like G7x for GeForce 7, G8x for GeForce 8. But after I noticed the naming of the 8800GT's architecture, I came to know that Nvidia no longer followed that rule.
The support for PCIe 2.0 and compatibility with HDMI further highlights the potential of this card.
CHIP/ARCHITECTURE/DESIGN : The Geforce 8800GT's G92 is attached to a 65nm process. There are 754 million transistors integereted in the G92. This totals an approx. 11% increase when compared to its predecessor, the G80. The card's cooling system consist of a satisfying 2" Fan which along with the heatsink covers almost the whole card. Thus hiding the capacitors. The card contains two dual link DVI output and a single output for analog HD. Other than those, there is a SLI connector located on the top and a single 6-pin PCIe connector on the back of the card.
BENCHMARKS (NOTE: PERFORMANCE IN GAMES DEPENDS MORE OR LESS ON OTHER CONFIGURATIONS LIKE RAM, CPU, HARD DRIVE ALSO) :
Crysis: Crysis being one of the most demanding and resource hungry game completely fits to test the true potential of a DX10 GFX card. With the Gefore 8800GT, I got some satisfying results. With a resolution of 1600x1200(No AA), I managed to get a decent 34 fps. At 1920x1440, I go a tolerable 25 fps. Switching ON Antialising might be sometimes painful, so be carefull.
Supreme Commander: The Geforce 8800GT has got the power to handle this game very smoothly. You can easily get around 45 fps at a resolution of 1600x1200(No AA). Even at 1920x1440 with all settings switched to high, this card can produce a surprising 25fps which is not at all bad after considering that you have switched all the graphical settings to high.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion : You must be wondering why I tested such an old game. Despite of being old, Oblivion is still one of those amazing and most wanted games. And it also gave high-end graphic card very hard time. Surprisingly, Obliving fared so well with the 8800 that even a high resolution of 1920x1440 with all the settings high, the game gave a marveleous result of 40fps.
POWER CONSUMPTION/NOISE LEVEL : Another good this about this card that it consumes very less power even when it is at its best. Nvidia has rated this card to consumes 105W. Is there any DX 10 card that consumes so less?
The 8800GT is the most silent card I've ever seen in the 8 series. Other card make noise when you run resource hungry applications and games. Unlike those, this baby will cry only at startup for something like 3-5 seconds.
As I said before, this is one of those cards that will surely satisfy budget gamers. Nvidia has surely proved that you can still enjoy resource hungry games for a cheap price. If you are looking for an ultimate gaming frenzy without paying your fortune, then this card is your first stop.