Summary: You asked for more GeForce 8800 overclocking results and today, we've got them at higher clock speeds! See how the overclocked GeForce 8800 GTS compares to the stock GeForce 8800 GTX. Is it really able to overtake the more expensive GeForce 8800 card in our full gamut of tests? Let's find out!
Overclocking the GeForce 8800s
As we’ve mentioned before, in order to overclock the GeForce 8800 cards, you’ll have to download NVIDIA’s nTune utility. The Coolbits registry hack doesn’t work and only prompts you to download nTune. In particular, you’ll need nTune 5.05 or better to overclock the GeForce 8800.
NVIDIA plans to enhance nTune to make it more appealing for GeForce 8800 overclocking in the near future though. One feature that’s been mentioned is the ability to independently set the clocks for the graphics core and stream processors. Right now in nTune when you overclock the graphics core, you also overclock the stream processors by a fixed percentage.
We’d also like to see NVIDIA integrate GPU temperature monitoring on the same page as GPU clock speeds, as it has been done with Coolbits in the past. Currently the two are located in two totally different parts of nTune.
Half-Life 2 Lost Coast
3DMark 06 – Direct3D
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast – Direct3D
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic – Direct3D
Quake 4 – OpenGL
Lock On: Modern Air Combat – Direct3D
Pacific Fighters – OpenGL
F.E.A.R. – Direct3D
Oblivion – Direct3D
Call of Duty 2 – Direct3D
Far Cry – Direct3D
Company of Heroes – Direct3D
The memory seems to overclock nicely as well, although we saw a lower OC by percentage for the GTX’s memory of just 6%. However, many end users seem to be hitting 1GHz or more with their GTX boards (although this is by no means a given).
Keep in mind that all these results are obtained with stock GeForce hardware. We’ve made no modifications to the card’s cooling, nor have we changed the card’s fan speeds to run at higher RPMs. This is all bone stock with no tweaks.
Thanks to the new clocks, the GeForce 8800 GTX’s performance in Call of Duty 2 and F.E.A.R. improved by 10% at 1600x1200, and 12-14% in Oblivion at the same resolution with HDR and AA. Company of Heroes also saw a performance improvement of 14% at 1600x1200 with the GeForce 8800 GTX.
The GeForce 8800 GTS saw slightly higher performance gains on percentage thanks to its new clocks, F.E.A.R. performance at 1600x1200 for instance went up from 59 fps to 72 fps, an improvement of 18%. It wasn’t enough to catch up to the GeForce 8800 GTX however.
Those of you who were following the OC’ed GTS versus stock GeForce 8800 GTX benches no doubt noticed that the OC’ed GTS was able to catch up, and slightly overtake the GTX in some of our tests with Company of Heroes. Considering the margin of error in this benchmark (about 3-5%) we’re going to call it dead even between the two in this game. We’re also going to work on creating a better replay to test CoH performance in the future as the variability from run-to-run is a little higher than we’d like.
The overclocked GeForce 8800 GTS also put up a strong showing in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, where performance improved by 20% at 1600x1200. Again, it wasn’t enough to catch up to the stock GeForce 8800 GTX, but it’s still a substantial performance improvement nevertheless. The overall tally for the overclocked GeForce 8800 GTS at 1600x1200 in comparison to the stock GeForce 8800 GTX was:
1% behind in Company of Heroes (this could increase with further driver optimizations)
8% behind in Quake 4
13% behind in F.E.A.R.
7% behind in HL2 Lost Coast
7% behind in Call of Duty 2
Pacific Fighters: CPU-bound case
4% behind in LOMAC
17% behind in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
16% behind in Far Cry HDR+AA
9% behind in Oblivion Mountains area with HDR+AA
11% behind in Oblivion Foliage area with HDR+AA
We hope these overclocked scores for the GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 GTS should help those of you who were on the fence concerning the GeForce 8800 GTS/GTX debate decide which card is right for you. As you can see, NVIDIA’s made sure that there’s a fairly extensive performance difference between the two cards, and while that can be diminished a little on the GTS with overclocking, the GTX core appears to have enough headroom in it that it can be overclocked to make up for this difference. Both cards are after all based on the same G80 graphics core.
Based on all this, if you can afford to spend the extra $250 or so on the GeForce 8800 GTX, then you should do it if you crave the most performance. The GTS can almost catch up to the GTX in some cases (and even surpass it in CoH under the right conditions), but overall the GTX leads even the overclocked GTS by a nice margin in shader-heavy titles (we think GeForce 8800 GTX performance in CoH could very well be held back at this point by drivers, keep in mind that by the time this game was released NVIDIA’s driver team would have had very little time to optimize for it. Dark Messiah was technically released later than CoH but it’s based on the much more mature Source engine from Valve). That should be enough to ensure that for the enthusiast who craves the very best, a GeForce 8800 GTX card should be on your wish list this holidays.
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