At first glance, EVGA’s e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC looks like nothing special, in fact it looks tamer than EVGA’s previous flagship GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB offering, the e-GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB KO w/ACS3 cooling. While the KO board has a menacing black ACS3 cooler covering the entire top of the board, as well as an additional heatsink directly underneath the GPU on the other side of the card, the faster e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC gets by with NVIDIA’s stock heatsink/fan cooling unit for the GeForce 8800 GTS. Physically, the board is basically a dead ringer for NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB reference board design.
If you didn’t look directly at the EVGA sticker on the back of the SSC card, you’d assume the e-GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB KO ACS3 was the faster board. EVGA really doesn’t do anything special to differentiate their e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC board from other GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB cards on the market from this perspective.
Fortunately it’s the inside that really counts when it comes to performance. Here, the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC is in a class of its own.
As we mentioned previously, as of right now the EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC is the fastest GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB card in the world. EVGA clocks the board’s graphics core at 576MHz, that’s 1MHz higher than the 8800 GTX. Meanwhile the stream processors run at 1.35GHz, and the board’s memory at 900MHz (1.8GHz effective), these speeds are the same as the GeForce 8800 GTX.
The e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC distinguishes itself from other GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB cards with its higher clock speeds and additional stream processors. This gives the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC a performance edge over other GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB cards, and therefore allows it to compete more favorably with the GeForce 8800 GT in performance (the GeForce 8800 GT still boasts the highest clocks of any GeForce GPU short of an Ultra). Obviously since it’s still based on NVIDIA’s G80 GPU, the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC will consume more power than the GeForce 8800 GT, and the board obviously relies on NVIDIA’s dual-slot cooling whereas the GeForce 8800 GT is equipped with a single-slot cooler. In the minds of HTPC users, these features will always give the GeForce 8800 GT an advantage over the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC (especially since G80 doesn’t support HDCP over dual-link DVI), but with its wider memory interface, the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC should outperform the GeForce 8800 GT in situations with high levels of AA/AF, especially as you increase the screen resolution. Under these situations memory bandwidth plays a greater role in the graphics card’s performance.
We’ll see exactly how the situation plays itself out in our performance benchmarks later in this article.
With its unique configuration of stream processors, we asked NVIDIA what would happen if you combined EVGA’s e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC with a conventional GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB card with 96 stream processors. According to NVIDIA “In the case of using 1 96 SP board with 1 112 SP board in SLI configuration, the 112 SP board will still run with 112 SPs enabled, but given most apps use an AFR mode for SLI scaling, the real world SLI performance you will see in most cases will be similar to the performance of 2 96 SP boards.”
So basically the EVGA card would run with all 112 stream processors enabled, but it would perform closely to a conventional GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB SLI setup.
Packaging and Accessories
EVGA ships the e-GeForce 8800 GTS SSC with a pretty nice bundle. Inside the box you’ll find a copy of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars on DVD-ROM. Quake Wars just came out last month (you can read our review here), so this is a really new game. Also included in the box is a driver CD, manual, power adapter, S-Video cable, component video cable, and two DVI adapters.