Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX review

£247
Price when reviewed

It may once have been the fastest card in Nvidia’s line-up, but the GeForce 8800 GTX is becoming less and less desirable. It still finds its way into many a top-end gaming PC – the £90 saving over the Ultra makes it a more attractive proposition for all but the biggest spenders – but two new upstarts arevery quickly stealing its thunder.

The GTX is one of the older 90nm parts, with 681 million transistors packed onto it. Its 768MB of GDDR3 memory runs at 900MHz, with a 384-bit bus – wider than any of ATi’s offerings. It has 128 stream processors clocked at 1.35GHz, and a core clock of 575MHz. It’s one of only two to support three-way SLI, although as we’ve discovered recently (web ID: 164721) the benefits of this aren’t as great as they may sound.

Taking the results in isolation, the GTX would appear to be an excellent gaming card. It raced to 62fps in our Medium Crysis test, and its 29fps in the High test is just about playable. In Call of Duty 4, it managed a healthy 62fps in our High settings test, and it even managed 45fps in the tough Medium Call of Juarez benchmark.

But when you factor the £247 price into the picture, the GTX is overshadowed. First, there’s ATi’s monstrous Radeon HD 3870 X2, which costs less but comfortably beat the GTX in our high-resolution tests. Then there’s Nvidia’s own 8800 GTS 512MB: essentially an update of the GTX but with a different name, this uses a more efficient architecture, adds support for PCI Express 2.0, costs just £179 and puts in a comparable performance in most of our tests. It’s therefore difficultto recommend the ageing GTX any more.

But the fact that the GTX is still here shows it won’t be long before the 9800s arrive to take back the speed crown.The only questions are how much faster they’ll prove to be and whether they’ll have a more attractive price than thetop-end king, the Radeon HD 3870 X2.

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