8800 GT - Give me!

Neverwinter Nights 2 has some specific graphic settings that don't seem to do much but drag the frame rate down. Definitely dig into the advanced settings a bit.

Mine came in yesterday. Fantastic card. Given I was already at an 8800GTS Superclocked and was just using the EVGA step-up, the performance difference didn't blow me away but it is noticable and the extra RAM should help in the future. Oddly enough my "stock" 8800GT seems to be reading at 650 core/950 memory , which is the EVGA Superclocked version speeds. I'm still trying to decide if this is a software error or what. Huh.

Built out a totally new PC this weekend with almost exactly the same hardware as the $1500 PC thread, but with an 8800GT. This thing rocks, I was loving playing all my games with max settings, and it's a massive step up from what I was running before.

Then I decided to download the Crysis demo.

*cry*

Maybe I need dual 8800GTs in SLI mode now? Bah, stupid Crysis!

Coldstream wrote:

Well, just got my 8800GT yesterday. Verdict: oh, it's sweet. I can finally run Bioshock and Oblivion maxed (although the latter still has the annoying HDR/AA trade-off). World in Conflict runs like butter and I'll be testing out CoH and the CoD4 demo shortly. Basically, it was an incredible upgrade over the 7600GT I had in there before.

That said, Neverwinter Nights 2 *still* runs like crap. Makes Coldstream mad. Coldstream smash!

What CPU and how much RAM do you have? Just curious.

Fletch_101 wrote:

What CPU and how much RAM do you have? Just curious.

I'm running an Intel Core 2 Duo 6600 (two cores at 2.4Ghz each) with 2GB of RAM. The 8800GT is clocked at 675Mhz core and I've got a dual-display set-up, with my main display a 22" widescreen native at 1680x1050 and a smaller 15" standard LCD at 1024x768.

I've got the nVidia control panel set to run the game in single-display performance mode, so I don't think the additional screen is killing the performance. I'll probably just sit down at some point in the near future and bring the settings down to basics, and then play around with them until I can find an acceptable framerate/appearance combination of settings.

Serengeti wrote:

Then I decided to download the Crysis demo.

I was watching the 1UP video podcast yesterday and they had some nice footage of Crysis. My jaw was on the floor at the graphics.

Well, I've had the opportunity to kick the card around this weekend... so I thought I'd share some observations for any interested parties.

The card overclocks smoothly. 700 Core/1800 shader/1000 memory works without a hitch and I get 3dMark 06 scores approaching 13000 (E6850@3.4 GHZ, 2gb Ram).

The fan controller does not appear to be throttling up the fan under stress conditions.
It sits at 29% even when going full bore, which for me was leading to some uncomfortably high temperatures (over 75 C). I installed Rivatuner so I could set the card to 65% when I'm running 3d apps. I'm wondering if it's a driver glitch, as some people apparently hit 90 degrees and the fan STILL doesn't spin up. I'm pretty sure this was the case on the GTS as well but with that card the fan was set to 60% so the issue was less noticable.

On the other hand, maybe the slow fan speed was a deliberate choice. When you boot up the fan starts at 100% but settles down after a few seconds. The sound during those few seconds is pretty ridiculous though. The fan's small size leads to high RPMs and an annoying high-pitched whine. It is essentially unusable at full speed if you happen to game in the same room as your PC. At 30% it's pretty silent but the sound level ramps up very quickly. I've found 65% or so to be tolerable for gaming while keeping the card sufficiently cool. If you live in a hot environment I'd definitely suggest monitoring your core temps and adjusting the fan speed if necessary. Hopefully Nvidia will do something about this with a driver update. It's not that the stock cooling is inadequate, but it is definitely not living up to its potential at the default fan speeds.

The card handles video decoding significantly better than the 8800GTS. On the GTS I got significant screen tearing during horizontal pans and some poor contrast levels. It was really not a good solution for an HTPC. The GT has alleviated both these issues and using 720p resolution I see a noticeable improvement in picture clarity compared to my regular DVD player. I feel pretty comfortable ditching my DVD player and using the computer as both an HTPC and gaming machine.

TheGameguru wrote:

I'd wait and see what ATI's new refresh brings.. historically since the 9800PRO (ATI's last slam dunk) ATI's intial GPU is always underwhelming.. but their refresh is usually something special.

Benchmarks of the Radeon HD 3870 aren't looking so great. I see nothing to pull attention away from the 8800GT.

*Legion* wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I'd wait and see what ATI's new refresh brings.. historically since the 9800PRO (ATI's last slam dunk) ATI's intial GPU is always underwhelming.. but their refresh is usually something special.

Benchmarks of the Radeon HD 3870 aren't looking so great. I see nothing to pull attention away from the 8800GT.

Hardly fair.. your looking at a $219 card vs a ~$270 card (if you can find it at that price) to $320. The real star is the $180 3850 that is tops in its price range. As it stands thats THE card to get <$200

I'll back up [H]'s conclusions..

For the first time this year we can recommend AMD ATI graphics cards for gaming. We highly recommend the ATI Radeon HD 3850 for gaming under $200. With the average price of a GeForce 8800 GT currently at $293 and stock hard to find, the Radeon HD 3870 represents a healthy $70 savings while providing the best gaming experience at the $219 price point. Both the HD 3850 and HD 3870 represent the best gaming experience at their suggested retail prices. ATI has assured us that MSRP priced cards will be available and are classifying this as a "hard launch."

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/articl...

Yeah the 8800 gt has a 256mb model coming out too though for $199 list.

Any rumors of an 8 series AGP card ever being released?

I'd be surprised if it ever happened. The 8 series is too powerful for the AGP bus to give good performance. Even the AGP version of the X1950 Pro isn't as good as the PCI-E version, though close.

trip1eX wrote:

Yeah the 8800 gt has a 256mb model coming out too though for $199 list.

Well when it does I'm sure it will get reviewed and thus recommendations will change based on that. BUT (huge but here) since you cant get it now...and the 8800GT 512MB are A) hard to find and B) getting price gouged, the 3870 and 3850 are the price/performance leaders right now at their price slot.

TheGameguru wrote:

Hardly fair.. your looking at a $219 card vs a ~$270 card (if you can find it at that price) to $320.

The price inflation of the 8800 GT isn't permanent. Yes, if you're buying right now it's not a great option, but with a little patience, you'll see EVGA's card back around the $250 that ZipZoomFly still lists it at.

*Legion* wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Hardly fair.. your looking at a $219 card vs a ~$270 card (if you can find it at that price) to $320.

The price inflation of the 8800 GT isn't permanent. Yes, if you're buying right now it's not a great option, but with a little patience, you'll see EVGA's card back around the $250 that ZipZoomFly still lists it at.

Well when that does happen we'll revisit the situation.. but (especially in the video card market) looking at anything down the road and applying it to the existing situation doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Right now at the $180-$220 price point these ATI cards dominate. Buying an 8600GT makes zero sense at those price points over the ATI solutions... as does saying a $300 card beats it (since hello? it should beat it).

So while the Price of the 8800GT is inflated and permanent it stands to reason that ATI also isn't stuck in a permanent position.

People still buy ATI?

TheGameguru wrote:
trip1eX wrote:

Yeah the 8800 gt has a 256mb model coming out too though for $199 list.

Well when it does I'm sure it will get reviewed and thus recommendations will change based on that. BUT (huge but here) since you cant get it now...and the 8800GT 512MB are A) hard to find and B) getting price gouged, the 3870 and 3850 are the price/performance leaders right now at their price slot.

True, but the 256mb 8800gt is being released very soon so it's probably wise to hold off buying a 3850 for a few weeks.

Serenj wrote:

People still buy ATI?

Yes.

See Avsforums for a huge reason why.

I'd be surprised if it ever happened. The 8 series is too powerful for the AGP bus to give good performance. Even the AGP version of the X1950 Pro isn't as good as the PCI-E version, though close.

That's not AGP's fault, that must be the translation layer from AGP to PCIe. Modern cards are not bottlenecked for bandwidth at all. AGP can more than keep up with current games, and will be fine for years yet, unless game design changes radically.

The only thing PCIe really adds over AGP is bidirectionality. That may make for some really interesting/cool applications later, where the GPU gets used as an auxiliary processor, but at the moment that's just theoretical.

There's no reason NVidia couldn't do an 8800GT on AGP. They just don't because they don't think they'll sell enough cards to make the design investment worthwhile.... and the processors on AGP boards mostly aren't strong enough to let it run flat-out. It's not AGP that's the culprit, it's the old processors that use AGP motherboards.

Serenj wrote:

People still buy ATI?

I was very impressed with the x1950XT. It was a very solid, very fast card, with excellent drivers. I've had a lot of trouble with NVidia drivers over the last year or so, and ATI has been rock solid in that area. I used to badmouth ATI for crummy drivers (you can probably find some of my old posts here, if you dig a year or two back), but after running the x1950 for awhile, I was impressed. I wish the drivers didn't require .NET, I find that a little silly, but.... they work damn well, so if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.

NVidia is wrecking ATI in terms of top-end speed, and the 8800gt is a monster of a card, but don't count ATI out just yet. And this is from someone who came to loathe them in the 9700-9800 era.

I wish the drivers didn't require .NET, I find that a little silly, but.... they work damn well, so if that's what it takes, that's what it takes.

I believe you can still install the ATI drivers with the old CC which doesnt require .net. I havent tried in a while but I believe that was the case.

TheGameguru wrote:

Well when that does happen we'll revisit the situation.. but (especially in the video card market) looking at anything down the road and applying it to the existing situation doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I think that's a little silly. It's not unreasonable to expect a card with a $250 MSRP to get back to that level when it's no longer supply constrained. It's not exactly stretching the imagination here, and I don't think we're talking some distant down-the-road scenario either.

That aside, after looking at some more benchmarks, it seems that most benchmarks paint a rosier picture of the Radeon HD 3870 than the couple I had looked at before. Except for in Crysis and Oblivion, the 3870 kept pretty close pace with the 8800GT. For UT3, Quake Wars, Source-engine games, Call of Duty, etc, it looks like the 3870 isn't so bad after all.

But it had better be cheaper than $220 when the 8800GT finds its way back to $250.

Does anyone know if Nvidia is still manufacturing all of the 8800GTs? Word was when they were first available all brands were identical since Nvidia handled all of the fabrication.

*Legion* wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Well when that does happen we'll revisit the situation.. but (especially in the video card market) looking at anything down the road and applying it to the existing situation doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I think that's a little silly. It's not unreasonable to expect a card with a $250 MSRP to get back to that level when it's no longer supply constrained. It's not exactly stretching the imagination here, and I don't think we're talking some distant down-the-road scenario either.

That aside, after looking at some more benchmarks, it seems that most benchmarks paint a rosier picture of the Radeon HD 3870 than the couple I had looked at before. Except for in Crysis and Oblivion, the 3870 kept pretty close pace with the 8800GT. For UT3, Quake Wars, Source-engine games, Call of Duty, etc, it looks like the 3870 isn't so bad after all.

But it had better be cheaper than $220 when the 8800GT finds its way back to $250.

I guess I deal with much different people then.. most people ask me about buying something right away.. its hard for me to recommend something on a point in time that isn't the immediate present. I bought an 8800GT for $270 the day they came out.. and one a few days ago for $310 (cheapest I could find in stock). So if someone came to me looking to spend with a budget of $250 I'd have to recommend the 3870 despite it getting beat in some benchmarks by a card with an MSRP of $250 that actually cant be bought at that price. Not sure what you would do in that situation but it sounds like you'd have them buy a more expensive card and tell them its actually cheaper just supply constrained.

Looking at the 8800GT we're being told to expect it to show up at Newegg for around $230ish.. to me thats not a good value for a 256mb card. Given that price point I wouldn't recommend anyone buying a 256mb card at >$200.

TheGameguru wrote:

Not sure what you would do in that situation but it sounds like you'd have them buy a more expensive card and tell them its actually cheaper just supply constrained.

No, I'd tell them they'd be better off waiting a few weeks and letting the smoking hot new product get back in stock and down to its original prices. This idea shouldn't be new to anyone interested in computing or gadgets. It's the same reason we tell people to wait for Game Console X to get back into stores rather than spending an arm and a leg to get one off of eBay. Sometimes the smart move is waiting a little bit, impatience rarely has the best payoff.

*Legion* wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

Not sure what you would do in that situation but it sounds like you'd have them buy a more expensive card and tell them its actually cheaper just supply constrained.

No, I'd tell them they'd be better off waiting a few weeks and letting the smoking hot new product get back in stock and down to its original prices. This idea shouldn't be new to anyone interested in computing or gadgets. It's the same reason we tell people to wait for Game Console X to get back into stores rather than spending an arm and a leg to get one off of eBay. Sometimes the smart move is waiting a little bit, impatience rarely has the best payoff.

Sometimes that works sometimes that doesnt.. given that everything is out of stock right now.. chances are that even when the 8800GT hits its going to go even higher than it is right now.. your looking at at least another 6-8 weeks before stocks normalize and prices start to inch down. Sometimes people dont want to wait another month or two for a new system.

Your acting like the 8800GT stomps the 3870 all over the place and spits it out for breakfast.. most people wont care that much about the performance differences to wait another 1-2 months

your looking at at least another 6-8 weeks before stocks normalize and prices start to inch down.

It's worth pointing out that this is hypothetical. It could be two weeks, it could be six months.

This is one of the worst times to build a PC.... it's best to wait for January.

Malor wrote:
your looking at at least another 6-8 weeks before stocks normalize and prices start to inch down.

It's worth pointing out that this is hypothetical. It could be two weeks, it could be six months.

This is one of the worst times to build a PC.... it's best to wait for January.

Indeed.. its always true though.. if you can wait wait.. theres always something better coming up within a few months.

January tends to be the best time to build a PC, as the availability is good, prices are low, and new products are a ways off.

Is there no talk of the Intel 45nm Penryn processors coming out? That is coming in the next few months which will in the very least bring more price cuts to the current powerhouse processors.

Our $1500 rig thread will get even more powerful and cheaper soon! Its a great time to upgrade!

Just wanted to add an addendum to my posts: I downloaded the Crysis demo and my new 8800GT is letting me run it at maxed settings at 1680x1050 silky smooth. I'm utterly, utterly impressed. Unbelievable. Best $300 I've spent in a very long time.