Palit GeForce 8800 GT Super+1GB Review
Perhaps by human nature, we learn at an early age that bigger is always better: why take the small cookie when you can have that big one in the corner, or two fries are better than one right? As we get older, we take this “bigger is better” approach and apply it to other things in life, men lust after the 400 horsepower sports car while women are dazzled by the huge diamond engagement ring, even though we don’t truly need
Therefore it comes as no surprise that we apply this same bigger is better belief to our computers. When shopping for a new PC, many less knowledgeable consumers look for the “faster” processor with higher megahertz. As enthusiasts we all know by now that MHz isn’t the only factor that affects performance, IPC is critical as well. This was demonstrated most notably during the Pentium 4 era, where P4 CPUs approaching 4GHz ran slower than Athlon 64 CPUs running at just 2.4GHz.
Video cards fall under this same trap as well, only here the feature that can get less knowledgeable consumers who aren’t careful isn’t clock speed, it’s the amount of video memory present on the graphics card. A consumer who isn’t intimately familiar with the graphics industry who is shopping for a $99 graphics card for instance will often pick the card with more memory, even though it’s based on a slower GPU.
Now granted, we’re not necessarily saying more memory is a bad thing, just that the memory question is harder to answer. Do you really need a graphics card with 512MB of RAM? If you’re gaming at high resolutions like 1600x1200 or 1920x1200 with 4xAA and 16xAF, then yes, you may need the extra memory. Last month we took a look at a GeForce 8800 GT 256MB card from XFX and found that in cases without AA it performed similarly to the more expensive GeForce 8800 GT 512MB, but once you cranked up the AA, the 512MB card really began to pull away from the 256MB board.
But what if you find yourself playing older games based on less intensive game engines, or you’re saddling the extra memory up to a slower GPU that can’t take advantage of the additional memory? In these types of cases, the extra memory it isn’t worth it. Older games like Half-Life or Counter-Strike run great on most modern GPUs; the same applies for less-intensive games like The Sims. You just don’t need a whole lot of GPU horsepower for these types of games.
Then again, there are cases where even powerful GPUs are outfitted with more memory than they really need. Case in point, the Radeon 2900 XT 1GB. We took a look at one of these cards from Diamond Multimedia back in July and found that the additional memory offered no performance improvement over the stock Radeon 2900 XT 512MB.
With the GeForce 8800 GT proving wildly popular with consumers, it was only a matter of time before the one-upmanship among card manufacturers spread to this GPU. First out of the gate was ASUS, announcing the world’s first GeForce 8800 GT card with 1GB of memory. In the days following ASUS’ announcement, several other NVIDIA board partners announced their own 1GB GeForce 8800 GT SKUs, but to date none of these cards have made it to the shelves of US retailers.
Then, in the final days of 2007 just a week ahead of Christmas, we received word from Palit Multimedia that their GeForce 8800 GT 1GB cards had just arrived and would be shipping from their warehouse to retailers (As of this article’s publication, TigerDirect has the 1GB card in stock priced at $349
, while NCIX carries it for $295.16
We were lucky enough the secure one of these boards for review. Read on to find out more about the Palit card, and see if the board’s 1GB frame buffer really improves performance!