GeForce 8800 Ultra KO
While the industry eagerly awaits NVIDIA's upcoming 8900, for now the 8800 Ultra is still the most powerful card available. We took a look at an 8800 Ultra from EVGA to see how it handled our benchmarks.
- Best performance available at the time of writing, quiet and cool (considering its performance)
- Size, price
Those who want the absolute best settings on in their DirectX 10 games (such as the soon to be released Crysis) may want to wait for the next generation of cards, but for now this card is the best available on the market.
Price$ 1,049.00 (AUD)
The EVGA 8800 Ultra has a core clock speed of 612MHz, 37MHz or around 6 per cent faster than the 8800 GTX, while its memory clock reigns in at a total of 2160MHz rather than the 1800MHz memory clock on the GTX, about a 20 per cent increase. The memory clock has also been boosted from 1350MHz to 1500MHz, but beyond that they are pretty much the same card.
Like the GTX the Ultra has 128 stream processors, a 384-bit memory bus and 768MB of DDR3 RAM. With the beefed up memory clock and this memory bus, the Ultra achieves a maximum memory throughput of 13.7GBps as opposed to the maximum throughput of 86.4GBps on the 8800 GTX.
These increased specifications don't materialise out of nowhere. The 8800 Ultra is the longest board around (at least for desktop gaming machines), measuring 330mm in length. Bear this in mind when buying your case or choosing which hard drive bays you install your drives to as many cases will not allow for this card's length along with all of your other devices.
The EVGA 8800 Ultra uses the standard board and cooler, which is reasonably quiet for such a powerful card and remains quite cool. However, you will still want to plan your case layout to accommodate the longer board and keep airflow over the device uninterrupted. It's also important to note that the stock cooler on this beast takes up two PCI spaces with its hefty width, even though it only connects via one PCI Express 16x slot. Also bear in mind that this card requires two PCI Express power cables to run.
In our benchmarks we saw good results, which is no surprise. Using DirectX 9 (DX9) based games we saw some excellent performance. In Half-Life 2, using the maximum quality settings on a 1920x1200 resolution, the EVGA 8800 Ultra averaged 143.69fps (frames per second) and in FEAR it averaged 92fps using the maximum quality settings and a resolution of 1600x1200. Running 3DMark 2006 at the default settings scored the card 12,354.
In DirectX 10 (DX10) tests we saw less impressive results, but still the best around. Using Lost Planet: Extreme Condition's DX10 version with all DX10 features turned on at a resolution of 1920x1200 it averaged 36.85fps, while at the default settings and a resolution of 1280x960 it averaged 83.5fps. Using DX10 in Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts at the maximum settings and a resolution of 1920x1200 got this card an average of 28fps, while in the Call of Juarez DX10 benchmark the EVGA 8800 Ultra averaged 30.4fps at the default settings, then 22.5fps at the maximum.
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