ASUS EN8800 GTS 512MB TOP
If you recall our GeForce 8800 GT roundup from a few months ago, you no doubt remember that the ASUS TOP card we included was one of the fastest GeForce 8800 GT cards we tested, often running close to the more expensive GeForce 8800 GTX in terms of performance. This is because the card was factory OC’ed to stupendous levels. ASUS clocked the board at 700MHz core/1.0GHz memory, speeds which are higher than the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, and higher on the GPU than even the GeForce 9800 GTX!
The “TOP” in the ASUS EN8800 GTS TOP designation stands for “Top Overclocking Performance” and that’s exactly what ASUS has accomplished with this card: taking the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB to new levels is the primary mission of the ASUS EN8800 GTS TOP. ASUS clocks the graphics core on the EN8800 GTS TOP to 740MHz, while the stream processors run at 1.8GHz. This is an improvement of 90MHz on the GPU over the stock GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, while the shaders on the ASUS card run 175MHz faster than the stock NVIDIA specifications.
Finally, ASUS clocks the GDDR3 memory on the EN8800 GTS TOP at 1035MHz (2.07GHz effective), which is 65MHz higher than the stock GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB.
These GPU clocks are not only higher than the stock GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, they’re also 65MHz higher than the 9800 GTX. The GeForce 9800 GTX has a memory clock speed advantage, but it’s also 65MHz. This means at lower resolutions the ASUS EN8800 GTS TOP is actually faster than the stock GeForce 9800 GTX. You’d have to really crank up the screen resolution for the 9800 GTX’s memory advantage to play any dividends for the GTX over the ASUS card.
The other neat feature the EN8800 GTS TOP supports lies in the software. Bundled with the card is ASUS’ Smart Doctor software. Smart Doctor is a software utility that allows you to overclock the graphics card. In fact, Smart Doctor can be used to overclock the GPU, memory, and Stream Processors, just like RivaTuner. Even NVIDIA’s own nTune overclocking utility doesn’t support stream processor overclocking.
Smart Doctor can also be used to perform hardware monitoring tasks. The software can display info such as GPU temperature and voltages, as well as alert you if the card begins to overheat. Smart Doctor also includes ASUS HyperDrive, which can dynamically overclock the graphics card depending on usage, say for instance you boot up a 3D game. HyperDrive can be used to automatically OC the card without any intervention from the end user. Meanwhile, ASUS’ SmartCooling feature will dynamically adjust fan speed based on the GPU’s current temperature (although this is a feature supported by all GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB cards and is not exclusive to ASUS).
Besides Smart Doctor, ASUS continues to bundle their cards with their GamerOSD and Video Security Online programs. Like FRAPS, GamerOSD provides real-time frames per second monitoring, video capture, and screenshot capability. GamerOSD can also be used to overclock the GPU while you’re gaming.
ASUS bundles the card without a game bundle, instead you get a DVI adapter, component video cable, and power cable. ASUS also includes a leather CD wallet to round out the packaging.