NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX
G80 core; 681 million transistors; 90nm fabrication process; 128 shader units (Unified Shader Architecture); 575 MHz core speed; 1350 MHz Shader speed; 1800 MHz memory speed GDDR3; 384-bit memory architecture
Although it's hardly been two months since our last graphics card test, we've seen a new performance winner emerge. NVIDIA's new DirectX 10 monster-the 8800GTX-took our labs by storm, trailblazing its way to top spot with a performance lead over previous-generation cards that we haven't seen since the debut of the GeForce 6800 series of cards.
No matter the game, no matter the application, we just couldn't get any dropped frames using the 8800GTX. Visuals were crisper than on previous-generation hardware. The 8800GTX is the ultimate weapon for the hardcore gamer and enthusiast this side of Christmas!
Runner-Up: XFX PV-T71U-ZDD9 (GeForce 7950GX2)
G73 core; 12 Pixel and 5 Vertex pipelines; 90nm fabrication process; 560 MHz core; 1400 MHz memory (GDDR3); 128-bit memory architecture
Virtually half a 7900GTX, the 7600GT chipset is still a lot of card for that. The XFX PV-T73G-UDL7 dominated the mid-range category like no other. Among others, this card also has a very small footprint, and runs cool. We like the trim XFX uses on the heatsink-serious visual appeal! Although NVIDIA's 8 series of graphics cards have been launched, we're still to see mid-range parts. With the competition out of the way for the moment, the G73 cores make a sweet deal for gaming on a modest pocket. XFX's version manages to leave the other 7600GTs a little way behind, while being similarly priced.
Runner-Up: Powercolor X850XT PE
Gainward 6600GT 256
8 Pixel and 4 Vertex Shader units; 110nm fabrication process; 500 MHz core; 1000 MHz memory clock speeds
When it comes to an absolute shoestring budget for a graphics card, you shouldn't go for anything less than a Shader Model 3.0 card. What better card to do justice to a budget gaming rig than the fiery-red-coloured Gainward 6600GT 256 MB with Shader Model 3.0 support and enough horsepower to run most games at modest resolutions? Once a mid-range product, the 6600GT core took a price drop after the introduction on NVIDIA's 7 series. The 6600GT competes quite successfully with the newer 7300GT/GS cards, and dispatches competing products with ease! That was the case a couple of months back, and we'd still be hard pressed to suggest something better for the price. Gainward's avatar of the 6600GT is hard to beat, be it performance, pricing, or the hot looks!
Runner-Up: Zebronics PX6600GT 256MB PCI-E