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DailyTech spends more quality time with NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 8800GTX

NVIDIA is set to launch its upcoming G80 GeForce 8800GTX and 8800GTS graphics cards next week, however, DailyTech snagged a GeForce 8800GTX board to run a couple quick benchmarks on. The GeForce 8800GTX used for testing is equipped with 768MB of GDDR3 video memory on a 384-bit memory bus as previously reported. Core and memory clocks are set at 575 MHz and 900 MHz respectively. Other GeForce 8800 series features include 128-bit HDR with 16x anti-aliasing and NVIDIA’s Quantum Physics Engine.

Previous NVIDIA graphics cards in single card configurations were limited to lower levels of anti-aliasing. With the GeForce 8800 series, users can experience 16x anti-aliasing with only a single card. DailyTech has verified the option is available in the NVIDIA control panel.

The physical card itself is quite large and approximately an inch and a half longer than an AMD ATI Radeon X1950 XTX based card. It requires two PCI Express power connectors and occupies two expansion slots. An interesting tidbit of the GeForce 8800GTX are the two SLI bridge connectors towards the edge of the card. This is a first for a GeForce product as SLI compatible graphics cards typically have one SLI bridge connector.

Having two SLI bridge connectors onboard may possibly allow users to equip systems with three G80 GeForce 8800 series graphics cards. With two SLI bridge connectors, three cards can be connected without any troubles.  NVIDIA is expected to announce its nForce 680i SLI and 650i SLI chipsets with the GeForce 8800 series. NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI and 650i SLI based motherboards are expected to have three PCI Express x16 slots.

Moving onto the performance DailyTech has selected Half Life 2: Lost Coast, Quake 4, Prey and 3DMark06 for benchmarking. These games and applications were selected as other games use the same game engine. In addition to performance tests, DailyTech was also able to measure power consumption.

The test system configuration is as follows:
  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700
  • NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI based motherboard
  • 2x1GB PC2-6400
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX
  • PowerColor ATI Radeon X1950 XTX
  • Western Digital Raptor 150

Futuremark 3DMark06

Radeon X1950 XTX GeForce 8800GTX

Kicking off the benchmarking festivities is 3DMark06. NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800GTX scores 59% higher than ATI’s current flagship. This isn’t too surprising as the GeForce 8800GTX has plenty of power.

Half Life 2 4xAA/16xAF 1600x1200

Radeon X1950 XTX GeForce 8800GTX

Quake 4 4xAA 1600x1200

Radeon X1950 XTX GeForce 8800GTX

 Prey 4xAA/16xAF 1600x1200

Radeon X1950 XTX GeForce 8800GTX

Half Life 2: Lost Coast loves the GeForce 8800GTX. Here the GeForce 8800GTX is able to show significant performance gains over AMD’s ATI Radeon X1950 XTX—approximately 92%.

Quake 4 shows similar gains as Half Life 2: Lost Coast  too, an approximate 92% improvement.

Prey is based on the same game engine as Quake 4. However, Prey shows smaller performance differences between the GeForce 8800GTX and ATI Radeon X1950 XTX, albeit its still 60%.

Power Consumption
Radeon X1950 XTX GeForce 8800GTX

Power consumption was measured using a Kill-A-Watt power meter that measures a power supply’s power draw directly from the wall outlet. The power supply used in the test system is a Thermaltake Toughpower that carries an efficiency rating up to 85%.

DailyTech previously reported NVIDIA recommends a 450-watt power supply for a single GeForce 8800GTX graphics card. This isn’t too farfetched of a recommendation. Power consumption of NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800GTX isn’t as bad as expected. When compared to AMD’s current flagship ATI Radeon X1950 XTX, the GeForce 8800GTX only consumes 24% more power at idle. The power consumption differences under load decreases to around 4%. Considering the performance differences, the GeForce 8800GTX is no worse than AMD’s ATI Radeon X1950 XTX in terms of performance-per-watt.

Expect NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800GTX and 8800GTS graphics cards to be available next week. As NVIDIA has had plenty of time to ramp up production and ship out cards, this will be a hard launch with immediate availability.

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RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By Oxygenthief on 11/3/2006 9:38:14 AM , Rating: 5

I don't think anyone is too concerned with overloading the "power connectors" as you stated.

The simple fact is with the ATX 2.2 PSU standard single 12V rails on a power supply cannot exceed ~20 amps. The 1900 series pulls much more than this and only runs well with psu's designed to "violate" the ATX 2.0 and 2.2 standards.

NVIDIA's move to work with the ATX 2.2 standard will help the rest of us by allowing us to use midrange PSU's with 12V rails instead of the high end 4 rail $200+ PSUs.

By distributing the load across two different rails the G80 can pull more power without causing instability issues and thus is a better product.

It is obvious by the numbers shown in this article that it doesn't pull much more power than the 1950's. Again, its a stability issue.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By coldpower27 on 11/3/2006 9:42:44 AM , Rating: 4
Which is exactly what I am getting at, a level of redundancy acts for stability.

Since they don't have to pull all the juice through a single rail, which you alluded they can't, the load is distributed across 2. So the product becomes more stable in the end.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By lopri on 11/3/2006 1:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
So is it a redundancy or a safety? They're not the same and I'm curious to know which way it falls into.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By feelingshorter on 11/3/2006 2:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
What are you asking? Redundancy is safety. Why do people who sky dive have two parachutes? If your computer "flicks off" by a loss of power due to a weak PSU, your video card could fry due to a power surge. By spreading the power across two 12v lines, there is redundancy built into the video card, should the PSU not have that redundancy. Good PSU manufactures will underestimate their amps rating, bad ones wont. This can easily be calculated by finding the max output per line, and adding it up and comparing to what the manufacture is marketing the PSU as. Just go to websites that benchmarks the PSUs in a max overload test and what the max amps you can run it at.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By othercents on 11/3/2006 4:10:57 PM , Rating: 3
Your not really getting redundancy until you are using two separate PSUs. When a PSU shorts out it is usually everything at one time instead of just a part of it. Plus you still have a single connector on the motherboard making it impossible for the computer to be totally redundant.

They put two connectors on the video card because they believed it would require that much power. Now if you had three of these bad boys in a computer you are going to need a decent size PSU. Total output should be around 800 or 900w with at least (3) 20a 12v rails.


RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By Clauzii on 11/3/2006 9:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
The only thing is that double number of connections means a THEORETICALLY higer fault-rate.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By mindless1 on 11/5/2006 11:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
Untrue. When the addt'l power consumption is minimal over a card having one connector, it is conceivable the card could continue running from only one. Having two, there is actually a redundancy in the mechanical portion of the supply chain and ideally, roughly halved current through each which might also improve connector reliability.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By Clauzii on 11/9/2006 8:20:32 PM , Rating: 1
Unless if that card exceeds the ATX specification on one connector, the load that before was shared equally on two connectors, now runs on one, and if specs exceeded, might be able to blow the supply.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By Griswold on 11/3/2006 12:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone is too concerned with overloading the "power connectors" as you stated.

Maybe not in the case of the 8800GTX, but in general. Have you ever seen a plug like that melt? You can kiss your whole computer goodbye if that happens.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By johnsonx on 11/3/2006 1:58:00 PM , Rating: 2
The simple fact is with the ATX 2.2 PSU standard single 12V rails on a power supply cannot exceed ~20 amps. The 1900 series pulls much more than this and only runs well with psu's designed to "violate" the ATX 2.0 and 2.2 standards.

12v at 20 amps is 240 watts. No graphics card draws that much. I'm not arguing with your general point, as I do not know whether you are correct or not. However your stated reason cannot be correct, at least not as you have worded it.

RE: 2 power connectors?!?
By Goty on 11/3/2006 2:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
I run an X1900XT, a Laing DDC 12V water pump, an overclocked A64 X2, and a number of other peripherals on a PSU with a single 12V rail and I have no issues....

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