Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT
- Quiet cooler, HDCP-capable, very good DirectX 9 performance
- Won't play DirectX 10-based games smoothly at high resolutions and with high detail settings enabled
This is a slightly-better-than mid-range graphics card that's suitable for playing DirectX 9-based games at high resolution and detail settings, and DirectX 10-based games at mid-range resolution and detail settings.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
There's often nothing inspiring about a new graphics card that features an already established GPU, but Galaxy has done its best to impress with its GeForce 8800 GT-based offering. Rather than relying on a stock-standard cooler, a flamboyant flock of aluminium fins has been attached, which keeps the card cool and almost silent.
Running at a speed of 600MHz, the graphics processing unit (GPU) on this card is well-equipped to handle today's games, and its 512MB of GDDR3 memory runs at a swift 1800MHz. Even so, these are slower speeds than cards based on the GeForce 8800 GTS GPU, and unlike the GTS, which has 128 stream processors, the GT has 112, so it's definitely not as powerful as cards based on the 8800 GTS GPU.
Nevertheless, the Galaxy GeForce 8800 GT performed strongly in our DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 gaming tests and its sub-$400 price tag should make it a desirable option for anyone who's looking to build a new gaming rig without blowing the budget.
In the DirectX 9 gaming tests, Half-Life 2 recorded 129fps (frames per second), at a resolution of 1920x1200 (the native resolution of our Samsung SyncMaster 245B test monitor) and with maximum details settings enabled (including 6x antialiasing). In FEAR, at a resolution of 1600x1200 (which is the maximum resolution that the card would allow us to use) and with maximum detail settings, the card averaged 66fps. That's good news for those of you who have large monitors (say, 24in and above) and want to play slightly older games at the native resolution of the screen.
Some newer games based on DirectX 10 will also play smoothly at high resolutions, as long as you don't turn up the details to their maximum settings. Crysis, with medium settings at a resolution of 1600x1200, averaged 45fps, but this dropped to 24fps when we used high settings and a resolution of 1920x1200. This result is still pretty strong for an 8800 GT-based card.
In Call of Juarez, the card struggled at 1920x1200 while using maximum detail settings -- it only just managed 12fps -- and even at 1280x1024, using the game's default detail settings, it only managed 25fps. At 1920x1200, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition ran at a rate of 30fps when the details were turned up high, but was playable when the detail was switched to medium, where it averaged 45fps.
There's no doubt that you'll have to spring for a high-end card if you want to play most DirectX 10-based games in their full glory at a high resolution, but if you just want to play the games, and graphical detail isn't the be all and end all, then this 8800 GT will do nicely. As mentioned previously, it has a flamboyant cooler, which is comprised of a large heat sink and fan, and which runs very quietly. You'd be hard pressed hearing it even when your system is idling.
The card doesn't ship with much; you'll get a DVI-VGA adapter, a couple of PCI Express power cables and an S-Video cable. You'll also get a component adapter, instead of a breakout cable, which could be a little inconvenient to use due to its rigidity.
For watching high-definition movies, the card's DVI ports are HDCP-capable, so you'll have no problem playing protected Blu-ray content, for example.
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