Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX

Review

posted 1/1/2007 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
We're on a Foxconn graphics card roll right now. First off, I reviewed their GeForce 7950 GT with 512MB. Today I look at the grand daddy of NVIDIA cards though. It's been a few months since the release of the GeForce 8800 so with that here's my review of Foxconn's top end GeForce 8800 GTX.

Card

The Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX is the top of the line enthusiast card currently on the market. Featuring 128 individual stream processors running at 1.35GHz and 768MB of GDDR3 memory, the Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX is a DirectX10 capable card. The core runs at 575MHz with the memory running at 1800MHz DDR.  Compared to the GTS version, the GTX runs 13% faster in the core, 11% faster for the stream processors, and 11% faster for the memory. The memory interface is 384-bit for the GTX while the GTS is at 320-bit. You can read about most of the new features of the GF8800 from my preview so I won't go too much into it again. The GeForce 8800 GTX is the same as the GeForce 8800 GTS I previewed but faster.

So what's different between this and the GTS version. For one, the GTX card is a bit longer. You can see in one of the comparison photographs just how much longer it is. Another change is there are TWO power connectors on this card. The GTX requires more juice and you'll need two power connectors for this card to work. While most cards have their power connectors facing to the right of the card, the ones on the GTX face up so that you can attach them a little easier. I've found that a few cases interfered with the horizontal facing power connectors and this change will help in those situations especially with two of them to connect. Finally, there are two SLI connectors at the top instead of one. No support now for the secondary SLI connector but it's there for the future. You can plug either one in for SLI to work between two GTX cards. You can imagine the monstrosity once you can connect more than two of these cards together and the number of power lines being strung through the inside of your computer. I'm thinking they should just build an interface and case to allow another power supply to be installed so that the video cards can have it's own dedicated power rather than sharing it with the entire system.

Physically, the card is pretty much the same as the reference cards out there. The over-sized cooler is big but it runs very quiet. I could hardly hear the fan spinning even under load. The venting of the hot air out the back of the secondary slot will help keep the inside of your case cooler. There is one unique twist that Foxconn has added to the cooler though. Situated around underneath the outer shell are blue LEDs that light up when the computer is turned on. There aren't any blinking actions to make it annoying so if you have a window inside your case and love to show off lights, this card will emit a blue glow for you. If you know a little bit about electronics, you can adjust the lights yourself to suite your needs.

If you want to watch high definition video on your high definition display, then you'll be glad to know that this card is HDCP compliant so as long as you connect it to an HDCP compliant display source then you'll be able to enjoy Blu-Ray or HD DVDs in full resolution. I've been eyeing the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive for my console and PC and this card will come in handy for HD viewing. You'll still need software capable of playing the new formats of course such as Cyberlink's Power DVD 7. With this card, you'll be able to enjoy some smooth HD playback as it will help decode the higher bandwidth video.

Dual-DVI connectors and various TV outs via a pigtail lets you connect this card in various ways. The Dual-DVI connection is capable of a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 with 32-bit color at 60Hz. If you need to connect this card via the old VGA connector, Foxconn has included two DVI to VGA adapters for you.

Foxconn bundles their video cards with two utilities and a USB gamepad. The two utilities are RestoreIt! and Virtual Drive. RestoreIt! is similiar to the more popular Symantec Ghost while Virtual Drive lets you copy a CD or DVD to the hard drive and run it from there. These two can come in handy and they're free. The USB gamepad is pretty serviceable so if you need another controller then you'll get one with the card. It's modeled somewhat after the PlayStation 2 style with the dual analog sticks and four trigger buttons along with the four top buttons and directional pad.



First up is Futuremark's 3D Mark 06.


3DMark06

3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. We tested at the standard 1280x1024 resolution.

3DMark05


Quake 4

Quake 4 is Raven Software's true sequel to the id classic. The game uses an improved Doom 3 engine for some great graphics. For the test we ran a demo featuring a few enemies and some squad mates. We set the graphics qualities at maximum and ran it on three different resolutions.

Quake 4

Quake 4

Fear

One of the surprise hits out of Monolith was F.E.A.R. This supernatural FPS looks incredible and really pushes a video card to its limits. For the benchmark, we ran three resolutions using the in game benchmark with all the settings set at max.

FEAR

FEAR


Prey
Prey has been in development for many years but the folks at Human Head finally released the game this year. The game utilizes the Doom 3 engine like Quake 4 and features the really cool Portal technology to garner some interesting game play aspects. All settings were set to maximum and three resolutions were chosen for the test.

PREY

PREY


Company of Heroes
Company of Heroes is an RTS that really pushes video cards. The game by the fine folks at Relic Entertainment is set in WWII and features deformable terrain as well as great physics. The level of detail in the game for an RTS is amazing. For the tests, we set everything at maximum or ultra to ensure that the card was taxed as much as possible

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes


While there's still the traditional anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering modes, the GeForce 8800 introduces CSAA. We'll test the regular modes first and then I'll show you how NVIDIA's CSAA doesn't bog the card down as much while offering some very nice anti-aliasing quality. First up is 4xAA with 8xAF.

Quake 4

Prey

FEAR

Company of Heroes


Next up we turn it up a little with the traditional 8xAA with 16xAF.

Quake 4

Prey

FEAR

Company of Heroes

Now we move onto NVIDIA's latest achievement in image quality and that's Coverage Sampling Anti-Aliasing. I kept the anisotropic filtering at 16X for these tests and used 16x for CSAA. You might be surprised by the results below.

Quake 4

Prey

FEAR

Company of Heroes

NVIDIA's new antialiasing technique really shines with some great performance. With this card, you can turn up everything and get some great framerates at high resolutions. It's a truly impressive result and one of the aspects that really makes this card stand out among the others.


The power of this card is truly impressive. When you look at the performance gains over the GeForce 7950GT as well as the GeForce 8800 GTS, the GeForce 8800GTX is hands down the best card to own right now. I don't have the Radeon X1950 XTX with me to compare anymore but I'd sure like to see how much this card would beat ATI's current flagship card. To be able to enable NVIDIA's new 16x AA mode and get great playable performance at high resolutions is just outstanding. Any other card would be brought to it's knees even at a lower AA mode running at 1600x1200. Foxconn gives you a card with a unique bundle and blue LEDs that light up the card. If you can afford it, it's definitely a great purchase and Foxconn's card ran solid throughout testing and in general usage. I'll be putting up a second part of this article showing how much gain you get by SLI'ing two of these bad boys. For now, Foxconn's offering is a real winner.




A
It's damn expensive but it's damn fast. Foxconn has a unique bundle and the LEDs make this card glow. If you have the money, go pick yourself up one for the ultimate in gaming performance.