DX10 power houses: The Green Duo tested...
Gamers will be pleasantly surprised to discover NVIDIA's newest DirectX 10 cards have hit Indian shores immediately after their worldwide launch. We've managed to procure not one but two such cards: two cards, both based on the same G80 core, from two different brands-ASUS and Galaxy.
ASUS' EN8800GTX is the Full Monty, sporting 128 shader units and 768 MB of 384-bit memory. In fact, till the 8900 series arrives later this year, the 8800GTX remains the highest-performing part from the NVIDIA stables. A couple of notches lower in the pedigree chain is the 8800GTS from Galaxy. This card features all of 96 shader units and 320-bit memory, but there is only 320 MB of it. That's because NVIDIA decided to market the 8800GTS with two memory options, and there is a 640 MB part available as well.
ASUS' card uses the stock 8800GTX cooler. A shiny ASUS sticker adorns the fan top, while the heatsink shroud gets a superb-looking GRAW sticker. ASUS bundles all the connectors you'd need, a leather CD case, and a couple of games. Even the cardboard box is colossal! A full version of 3D Mark 2006 is also there, presumably for benchmark gurus.
Setting up the card was a snap. One thing we'd like to comment on is the operating temperature during our tests. It was consistently lower than NVIDIA's reference card-a good thing. This, however, differs from card to card.
Another point worth mentioning is the power requirements of this card. In case you're intending to assemble a new PC with an 8800GTX, be prepared to invest in a 500-watt PSU, else prepare for instability issues.
The 8800GTS is a little more forgiving as power issues go-understandable considering its lower spec.
Galaxy really packs their card well. The outer box is a sober blue, and the inner box is a jet black, with the brand mentioned in silver. Inside, the card is pampered with a thick layer of foam. Besides connectors and drivers, there's little in the way of a bundle.
Immediately, the 8800GTS-9.5 inches long-looks like a compact offering compared to the 8800GTX at 11 inches, which may not fit some smaller cabinets, including our Antec Super LanBoy. Throughout our tests the 8800GTS remained cool, much cooler (by around 15 degrees) than its bigger brother.
Galaxy 8800GTS 320
Check out the boxes to see what these cards do to the current-generation benchmarks and games. In the interest of comparison, we've included last year's winner in our high-performance category-the XFX 7950GX2.
Priced at Rs 44,000, the EN8800GTX is costly, a bit too costly, but then this is a spanking new core on a brand new card. The Galaxy 8800GTS 320 MB is priced lower at Rs 21,000 and a much sweeter deal performance considered! If you want the absolutely fastest cards out there, either of these make a good, reasonably future-proof buy. Holding on to your purse for a while may be more prudent though: prices are expected to fall over the next three to four months in view of the newer cards to be launched. ATI's R600 is also expected sometime this year, though details remain sketchy.
ASUS EN8800GTX-128 shader units; 575 MHz Core; 1.8 GHz GDDR3 RAM (384-bit); DirectX 10 compatible
Contact: ASUS Technology Pvt. Ltd
Web site: http://in.asus.com
Price: Rs. 44,000