Inno3D GeForce 8800 GT iChill edition review -
2 - Specifications, Technology & Bundle
Specifications & Technology
Now if you already read our reference review you might want to skip to the next chapter as we always start off with the 101 on the reference based technology.
So, what we are looking at today is the 8800 GT. A product that should (and will) replace that somewhat handicapped 8800 320MB GTS, not only in performance yet also in price. Honestly, that 320 MB 8800 GTS ever since the beginning was my sweet spot graphics cards wise; yet the moment DX10 games became available, it also became more apparent that DX10 is utilizing the frame buffer quite extensively. Mark my words, when DX10 actually becomes popular, your graphics adapter is best off with 512MB memory or higher. It makes a lot of sense, as the shader code is much more complex and thus longer, the texture limit sizes are bumped up ... and we as gamers demand more and more eye candy from our games which in the end requires a load of computational muscle. Hey, we demand the best gaming experience ever for our money, so the toll we set on the gaming and graphics industry is and should be high.
The new GT cards are surely pretty to the eyes. A nice slim single slot design. The silicon powering that this card is based on is NVIDIA's new 0.65nm silicon. Is this a respin product you ask? Yes and no. Not exactly, but kinda. As it's pretty much the good old G80 (GTS/GTX/Ultra) core yet with some exceptions, the fabrication processed was moved from 90nm towards 65 nm, meaning a smaller die-size, likely resulting in lower core voltages, more energy efficiency and perhaps better clock speeds. The one thing that is very odd, yet interesting though, is that the 8800 GT has an increased amount of shader processors over the GTS series (while being a cheaper product). For example a 8800 GTX has 128 of these processors, the GTS has 96 yet now the GT has 112 activated Shader processors.
Interesting, because if you take a peek at the clock speeds you might even think it can beat a GTX. Well, at the end of the pipeline there are these things called ROPs and that's where the GT (16 ROPs) is a little castrated over the GTX (24 ROPs). There's a new optimization of ROPs' compression algorithm being applied on the GT though, and that makes a huge difference.
So since we gently, yet firmly, touched on the topic of memory, these cards without a doubt will be available in both a 256 and 512MB versions. This, however, is the 512MB release. My direct hint here, for the sake of DX10 gaming, please purchase a 512MB version. The reference memory clocks are 900 MHz (x2), the core frequency 600 MHz and for the freaks, the shader domain is clocked at 1512 MHz. These values are all pretty high, judging from the specs this product will position itself in-between the GTS and GTX.
So that's a tad confusing, from a branding point of view the GT is faster than GTS, yet does run on a slightly slower memory-bus. Anyway; if you like to learn about shaders or the generic GPU architecture please have a look at the GeForce 8800 GTX article as it's explained in depth. Bear in mind that this product has exactly the same features as any other Series 8 products, with one distinction.
Media wise this GPU has the new VP2 (Video Processor 2) core embedded into the silicon. This means great Purevideo HD support in both acceleration of media files, yet also post-processing and enhancing them. Despite the new VP2, the unit hasn't evolved and still doesn't fully accelerate VC-1, no real big deal to be honest. HDMI support is also integrated on the chip. Also worth mentioning is that the 8800 GT is fully PCI-Express 2.0 compliant. Not at all important though as 16GB/sec bandwidth over PCI-Expess 2.0 is not something this card will even remotely use, ever.
Due to the new VP2 embedded core, optimizations to the new transistor count has risen a little. Don't be scared now, ready? 754 Million transistors. Now is that sexy, or what?
Inno3D GeForce 8800 GT iChill - 512MB
Faster clocks will give this product a little more edge over the competition, and this is why we see the faster iChill edition.
The card comes with an overclock from reference 600MHz to 700MHz and uses 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1,000MHz. Surprisingly enough the shader domain however seems to be at reference clocks, 1512 MHz and that surprised us, as the performance increase of the reference specs (as we will show you) is really significant.
Inno3D has apparently put a lot of effort into this card, it comes with three years' warranty, full game (GRAW2) bundle, gold plated connectors, and high performance Accelero X1 cooler from Arctic Cooling. The 100MHz for both core and memory sounds great for factory overclock.
But can we maintain steady temperatures with such a product and overclock ? Hmm... difficult. We'll find out in our temperature test and see if the X1 cooler is worth the money. According to Inno3D, this card should peak at 59 Degrees C, which is a great result for a factory overclocked 8800 GT. Okay let me spill the beans, it does stay below that temperature :)
Alright let's have a look inside the box shall we.
So once you open up the box you'll physically see that you have bought something special with gold plated DVI connectors and a new cooling solution. What I just do not get is the green colored PCB, we want it to be black.
Once we open it up we'll see:
- GeForce 8800 GT iChill with X1 cooler
- Driver CD
- Full game - GRAW 2
- 6-pin to molex power connector
- HDTV 3-way RCA (analog) component connector.
- Composite VIDEO cable
- DVI-VGA dongle
The iChill products come with a nice 3 year warranty. The gold plated DVI connectors ensure better signal quality and less oxidization (well .. it just looks way cooler).
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