Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT review

£128
Price when reviewed

Nvidia’s top-end cards can be quite confusing, particularly as several models occupy the same performance space. The 8800 GT came after the GTX, and, as such, it made the move to the more efficient 65nm fabrication process. But despite its supposedly lower-spec suffix, the improvements in architecture mean it competes pretty well.

It has 754 million transistors, a core clock of 600MHz and a memory clock of 900MHz – all superior to the GTX. Where it compromises is with its 512MB of GDDR3 memory (the GTX has 768MB) and its trimmed-down 112 stream processors, 16 fewer than its old rival. Both support DirectX 10, but the GT isa PCI Express 2.0 card.

With fairly similar specifications to the GTX, it’s no surprise that performance is also on a par, up to a point. At medium resolutions and quality settings, we found barely a frame of difference: Call of Duty 4 at 1,280 x 1,024 and Medium settings gave us 118fps, to the 122fps of the GTX, while our High test produced 61fps and62fps respectively.

In Crysis, the difference was a little wider, with the 51fps from the GT slightly behind the 62fps of the GTX. At higher resolutions, like 1,920 x 1,200, the gap grew because the GTX’s larger memory capabilities allow more headroom.

So it isn’t far behind a GTX in terms of performance, but we haven’t touched upon the GT’s main selling point: that it manages this for just £128 – about half the price of the GTX. The GT’s closest price rival from ATi is the HD 3870, which costs between £10 and £15 less.

In Crysis, it actually performed better than the GT, while Call of Duty 4 showed the opposite result. The slightly slower 8800 GS is probably closer to the HD 3870 in performance, making the 8800 GTa great way to get those extra frame rates for little extra outlay.

For just £128, the 8800 GT willhave you smoothly playing the latest intensive games at decent resolutions.However, if a few frames per second here and there aren’t vital to you, the launch of the 9600 GT for £18 less may reduce the 8800 GT’s appeal.

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