The 8800 GS was released by Nvidia right at the tail-end of our testing, and for this reason we were only able to get our hands on an overclocked edition.
Annoyingly, its core frequencies wouldn’t respond to our attempts to lower them using the nTune utility, so we can only speculate as to how the standard-clocked version would perform.
The 8800 GS is essentially a cut-down version of the 8800 GT, manufactured on the same 65nm process, with 754 million transistors on the board. It’s a PCI Express 2.0 part, but we’re still on DirectX 10, behind the 10.1 of the latest ATi cards.
Pretty much every major specification has been scaled back from the GT: the core clock is down from 600MHz to 580MHz; it has 96 stream processors rather than 112, and its 384MB of GDDR3 memory is clocked at 1400MHz, down 100MHz from the GT.
And, finally, the memory bus is an odd 192-bit rather than a 256-bit. From our results, it’s clear overclocking can get the GS performing at the same level as a standard GT in some tests – our sample averaged 54fps in Crysis at 1280 x 1024 and Medium settings, compared to 51fps from the GT – and it wasn’t far off it in others, either. Our overclocked card scored 51fps in Call of Duty 4 at 1600 x 1200 and High settings, compared to 61fps from the standard GT and 41fps from the HD 3870.
Judging by the boost provided to other overclocked cards we’ve seen, we’d expect a standard 8800 GS to achieve frame rates somewhere between those of the quicker GT and the slower HD 3870, but closer to the latter.
The fact that it costs just $215 – less than both of these other competitors – means it seems good value for those looking for a mid-range gaming card.
At least that was the case until the 9600 GT arrived in the Labs. That card costs $20 less than the 8800 GS, but offers superior frame rates at standard clock speeds.
To be fair, the 8800 GS was merely intended as a stopgap to combat the threat of HD 3800 cards. Now that the real cavalry has arrived it suddenly looks quite a bit less appealing.
This Review appeared in the June, 2008 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine