Sorting through the GeForce lineup
Unless you’re religious about following graphics card launches, there’s a good chance that the current GPU landscape is more than a little confusing. It’s littered with model numbers, model number suffixes, and “special” configurations. You have AMD and NVIDIA trying to create value at every price point. Then there are the board partners making slight changes to further differentiate from everybody else selling the same GPUs.
As a result, there’s a lot of overlap. “Should I buy the super-duper overclocked 8800 GT or go with the stock GTS with 16 extra shader processors at the same price?” Tough question. EVGA’s e-GeForce 8800 GT Akimbo bets you’ll see the value in NVIDIA’s compelling G92 core with 112 stream processors.
Before we break into specially-tuned e-GeForce 8800 GT Akimbo card, let’s spend a quick second to set NVIDIA’s base lineup straight.
|GPU Comparison Chart|
|NVIDIA's Mid- to High-End GPUs|
|Core Clock||Shader Clock||Memory Clock||Memory||Memory Interface||Stream Processors|
|GeForce 9800 GTX (G92)||675 MHz||1688 MHz||1100 MHz||512MB||256-bit||128|
|GeForce 9600 GT (G94)||650 MHz||1625 MHz||900 MHz||512MB||256-bit||64|
|GeForce 8800 GTX (G80)||575 MHz||1350 MHz||900 MHz||768MB||384-bit||128|
|GeForce GTS (G92)||500 MHz||1200 MHz||800 MHz||640/320 MB||320-bit||128|
|GeForce 8800 GTS 512 (G92)||650 MHz||1625 MHz||970 MHz||512MB||256-bit||128|
|GeForce 8800 GT (G92)||600 MHz||1500 MHz||900 MHz||512MB||256-bit||112|
|GeForce 8800 GS (G92)||550 MHz||1375 MHz||800 MHz||384MB||192-bit||96|
Holy market segmentation, Batman. Those seven graphics processors are but a sample from the middle of NVIDIA’s complete product portfolio. You have a few others that are faster and several more GPUs tailored to the mainstream side of things.
I never thought I’d see the day when I’d miss having one or two high-end cards, a couple of mid-range boards, and a handful of entry-level solutions from which to choose. And this is just the official lineup-from NVIDIA. From here, each board partner is able to tweak the core and memory frequencies. They can change the standard cooling solutions, and they can adjust their bundles to attract more attention.
Choice is good, of course. But now, more than ever, gamers need to be on their toes if they want the best possible buy. Ready to hack through a twisted jungle of similar performance and $20 price differences in the interest of pegging the right card for your gaming rig?
8800 GT, An Instant Classic
Prior to NVIDIA’s introduction of the 8800 GT late in 2007, mainstream gaming was a muck of mediocrity. Neither AMD’s 2600-series Radeons nor NVIDIA’s 8600-series GeForces had the fortitude to push through the latest DirectX 10 titles at high resolutions. Both companies needed offerings more similar to their high-end designs at palatable price points.
Dual DVI outputs, video output, and a vent for exhausting hot air
EVGA's blower moves noticeably more air than the stock GeForce 8800 GT cooler
The GeForce 8800 GT delivered a much-anticipated injection of DX10 steroids to enthusiasts on a budget. Based on the brand new G92 graphics core with 112 stream processors, the 8800 GT offered significantly more parallelism than the 8600-series cards and their 32 stream processors. How’d NVIDIA manage to cram so much horsepower onto a mainstream board? It moved G92 over to a 65nm node, cutting costs even as it made room for a more balanced gaming architecture. Finally, there was something worth buying between the 8600s and NVIDIA’s pricier GeForce 8800 GTS (which incidentally, the GT generally outperforms).
The card we’re looking at today is no reference board trying to duck in under $200, though. That much should be evident just by looking at it. EVGA’s e-GeForce 8800 GT Akimbo is a specially-designed model for mainstream folks on a spendy kick. Or maybe it’s better suited for hardcore enthusiasts pinching pennies. Either way, the e-GeForce 8800 GT Akimbo treads right over the 8800 GTS and into the territory of NVIDIA’s higher-end offerings.