XFX 8800 GTS XXX 320MB Graphics Card

Admin - 2007-05-07 08:25:42 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: May 8, 2007
XFX
XFX
Price: $339.00

Introduction:

I can remember the first time I woke up with a hangover, my father used a phrase and then gave me a glass of wine. The phrase I am referring to is “if you want to relieve a hangover take some of the hair of the dog that bit you”. Believe it or not, it worked and although having a hangover is for the most part a bad thing, I’d like to talk about a hangover you’ll get when this dog bites you. But unlike other hangovers, you might want to keep grabbing for that hair again and again.

XFX, whose logo happens to be a “Dog”, is ready to prove to you that the hair of their dog is worth revisiting. The XFX 8800 GTS is a Direct X10 video card that should satisfy gaming needs for quite some time.

XFX is a division of Pine Technologies, which was founded in 1989. Their mission is to take you where their competition would like to, but simply cannot. XFX boasts incredible mind blowing video performance at a price that won’t hurt your pocket.

Let’s see if this statement proves to be true.


Closer Look:


I’m big on packaging; I must admit at times I buy an item just because the packaging grabbed me. The XFX 8800 GTS would be on of those, because approximately 95% of the time a company takes the time out to research and produce an eye catching package, the product inside is worth the expense. Like many other video card manufacturers, XFX does also provide interior packaging or as I like to call it, “the box inside the box”. It seems that the inside box is just as eye catching as the outer.

 


The 8800 GTS comes well protected. It is cushioned between about an inch and a half of egg crate foam all around.


 

Closer Look:

This graphics board is truly a monster. The heatsink is as big as the card itself and you will need an open expansion slot below to utilize its air intake and exhaust.


 



The bottom of the card is where you will find the model and serial numbers, while the rear of the board contains a six-pin power connector. The 8800 GTS will require a power source to be connected in order to run.

 


The front outputs are dual DVI and S-Video. If your monitor does not support digital output, XFX provides a D-Sub dongle to convert it to VGA.

 


Also included are software drivers, a full version of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, quick install manual and tips and techniques guide.

 


Installation:

To install the graphics board, shut down your system, open your case, remove your old graphics board and insert the XFX 8800 GTS into your PCI-E slot. You will need to have an open expansion slot underneath the card, since it requires it to utilize the air intake on the heatsink. You will also need a PSU that is either SLI ready, or has a six pin supplementary power connector. Minimum PSU requirements are non-SLI 600W or SLI 700W. After everything is connected, replace your case panel and power on your computer. You are now ready to install and configure your drivers.

XFX advises: Do not use a four to six pin converter when connecting PSU to the Board.

Configuration:

Included with the video card is a driver disk, which contains not only the nVidia drivers for the video card, but other interesting software as well. After it is placed in your CD-ROM drive the XFX driver disk will auto run and once accessed, you will find all the available options.


 



The first option on the disk is registration; by registering the video card you will be able to take advantage of XFX’s “Double Lifetime Warranty”, covering not only you for the lifetime of the video card, but also if you happen to sell it when you upgrade in the future for example, the person who buys it from you is also covered too. (Details)

 


The next step is to install the video drivers. The drivers that the disk contains are, Windows Drivers, Directx 9c and TV Capture.

 


Once the video drivers are installed you will have the option to install the included Bundled Software, Trial Games and Personal Cinema.If you are thinking about Overclocking your XFX 8800 GTS video card, an Overclocking tool is included in the bundled software.

 


There are three Trial Games that are offered to try.

 


The Personal Cinema drivers allow you to turn your PC into a media center.

 

Specifications:




 

 


Clock rate
580 MHz

Dual Link DVI - Supporting digital output up to 2560x1600

DUAL
Game Bundle
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Memory Clock
1.8 GHz
Chipset
GeForce 8800 GTS
Memory
320 MB
Bus Type
PCI-E
Memory Type
DDR3
Memory Bus
320 bit
Highlighted Features

RoHS , HDTV ready , Dual DVI Out , SLI ready , HDCP Ready , TV Out

Graphics Core
500 MHz
Memory Interface
320 bit
Fill Rate
24 billion/sec
RAMDACs
Dual 400 MHz
Chipset
GeForce™ 8800 GTS
Memory Bandwidth
64 GB/sec


Features:


Testing:

I will be comparing the XFX 8800 GTS with the Power Color X1950 XT, Power Color X1650 Pro, and the XFX 7600GT Fatal1ty Professional Series. As you can see, I chose two mainstream cards to show the differences that there are, compared to the higher end cards. The benchmarks tested are listed below and the resolutions will range from 800x600 to 1280x1024.



Testing Setup:


Gaming Benchmarks:


Benchmark: Far Cry

    As I have in the past, I will begin with Far Cry. Although it is an older game, it is still a very popular benchmark and I always like to see what results any video card will bring.

Settings:






Over two hundred frames per second at the 800x600 resolution, but at 1024x768 which most of todays gamers play at, one hundred and ninety four is no slouch either.

Testing:

Benchmark: F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. is also a first person shooter and it has its own benchmark built into the game.


 


Settings:





With the newest patch, I found that you can actually run fear at 1280x1024. For a long time I have seen other reviewers (including myself) use the 1280x1024 resolution as a benchmark when the only 1280 resolution was 1280x960. Fear has always seemed to hurt graphics boards, but the 8800GTS seems to like higher resolutions.

Testing:

Benchmark: Call of Duty II

Call of Duty 2, the second instalment in the Call of Duty Series, is an intense action packed WW2 thriller where you can fight on all battlefronts of the European Theater.



Settings:





We did a lot of testing when it came time to choose a level to benchmark COD 2. The reason behind benchmarking Stalingrad, is because of the blended whites due to the snow and when smoke is added it seems to play havoc on a graphics board. Many other levels were tested and where in the past no graphics board was able to achieve higher than 60 FPS at a resolution of 1280x1024 while benchmarking Stalingrad, the 8800GTS is my first to break 75.

Testing:

Benchmark: Quake 4

Quake 4, is the newest arrival in the Quake Series. It can be played in single and multiplayer modes. The x1650 Pro and the XFX 7600 GT were not tested with V1.5.


 



Settings:





Should I blame the lower frame rates on the processor?

Testing:

Benchmark: Need For Speed: Most Wanted

This is a racing game in which you can choose from a number of vehicles, different types of vehicle setups and also choose which types of race courses you prefer.


 



Settings:





Almost 80 FPS at 1280x1024 and not even a flicker of the screen.

Conclusion:

It’s hard to believe that the XFX 8800GTS is only a 320Mb graphics board. It out-performed the ATI X1950 XT hands down and that has 512Mb of memory. So where does the 8800 GTS get is power from? It has a clock rate of 580MHz, a memory clock of 1.8 GHz, 320 bit memory interface and graphics core speed of 500MHz. All of this combined surely packs a punch. Those are some pretty big words and very impressive, but what do they mean? OCC has composed a list of definitions to help everyone understand graphic board lingo, so if you know what I was referring to or just need a refresher, please feel free to take a gander. (Graphics Board Definitions)

So does XFX keep their word and produce a quality video card with mind blowing performance that won’t hurt your wallet? They certainly do for a high end graphics board. The 8800 GTS is under $350.00 and as you observed in my benchmarks, its performance is eye-opening. This Graphics Board crushed our benchmarks and improves as resolutions increase by decreasing the FPS between each progressive resolution. There is something that I'd like to add that I didn't speak about in my testing section and that's fan noise. Having used many XFX products in the past, I have always found their heatsink fans to be quite loud and even louder as the card became hotter. Considering the size of the one on the 8800 GTS, I thought I was doomed to noise. I am honestly surprised and glad to say XFX has broken away from the loud heatsink barrier and finally created a heatsink that is virtually noiseless even when under load.


Pros:



Cons: