Graphics Cards Guide

ASUS EN8800GTS TOP (GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB) review

ASUS EN8800GTS TOP (GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB)

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The New & Improved GeForce 8800 GTS

The New & Improved GeForce 8800 GTS

The original consensus regarding NVIDIA's new G92 core has been a unanimous thumbs up. That was when reviewers like us finished testing the G92 based GeForce 8800 GT with a broad smirk on our faces. It was fast, it was hot and unfortunately it sold faster than hotcakes. As frustration sets in from the many shortages of the GeForce 8800 GT in retail channels, resulting in higher prices than the initial launch price, our positive feeling for it has slowly been tempered by these supply issues and a nagging suspicion that the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT at its original price was too good to be true after all.

Now, NVIDIA is once again promising another G92 product in the form of the revised version of the GeForce 8800 GTS. As most of you are aware, the outstanding performance of the GeForce 8800 GT has practically made the original GeForce 8800 GTS obsolete. Hence, rumors have long been circulating that the G92 would find its way eventually to the GeForce 8800 GTS. Finally, this is now a reality and we have in our hands, an overclocked, TOP edition of this new 512MB GeForce 8800 GTS from ASUS. Does having the G92 core restore the GeForce 8800 GTS to its proper place in the GeForce 8 hierarchy?

According to the released specifications, it would seem so. The standard GeForce 8800 GTS will be clocked at 650MHz, higher than the 600MHz on the GeForce 8800 GT. Memory clock is set at 1940MHz DDR, again higher than the 1800MHz on the 8800 GT. The stream processor clock is also higher for the GTS, at 1625MHz against the 1500MHz on the GT. What's more, the GTS will have the full complement of stream processors, 128 as compared to the 112 on the GT. With such specifications, this new GTS looks more like the caliber of a GeForce 8800 GTX, except for the rather 'trifling' matter of memory bandwidth, with the 8800 GTS having the same 256-bit bus as the GT. This gives it a total bandwidth of around 62GB/s, lower even than the original GeForce 8800 GTS and a fair distance from the GTX.

Of course, solely going by the memory bandwidth, even the Radeon HD 3870 has more than the new GeForce 8800 GTS. Whether this limitation on the GTS matters in today's games is hard to say, since we're not exactly convinced by the Radeon HD series despite their high memory bandwidth. Perhaps NVIDIA decided that higher clock speeds will compensate for it, even at high resolutions and settings.

Other important details that most of you should already know include the other benefits of the 65nm G92 core, from its support of the new PCIe 2.0 standard to the improved video processor (VP2) found onboard. If not, you can refer to our article on the GeForce 8800 GT and the G92. Before we examine our ASUS review unit in detail, here's a table summarizing the differences between the various high-end GPUs as compared to the GeForce 8800 GTS Version 2.

Comparing the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB
Model NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320/640MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB ATI Radeon HD 3870 512MB
Core Code G92 G92 G80 G80 RV670
Transistor Count 754 million 754 million 681 million 681 million 666 million
Manufacturing Process 65nm 65nm 90nm 90nm 55nm
Core Clock 650MHz 600MHz 500MHz 575MHz 775MHz
Stream Processors 128 Stream Processors 112 Stream Processors 96 Stream Processors 128 Stream Processors 64 Shader Processors (consisting of 320 Stream Processing Units)
Stream Processor Clock 1625MHz 1500MHz 1200MHz 1350MHz 775MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units 64 56 48 64 16
Raster Operator units (ROP) 24 16 16 24 16
Memory Clock 1940MHz DDR3 1800MHz DDR3 1600MHz DDR3 1800MHz DDR3 2250MHz DDR4
DDR Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 320-bit 384-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 62.0GB/s 57.6GB/s 64.0GB/s 86.4GB/s 72.0GB/s
Ring Bus Memory Controller NIL NIL NIL NIL 512-bit
PCI Express Interface PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 x16 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors Yes Yes Yes Yes (dual) Yes
Multi GPU Technology Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (SLI) Yes (CrossFireX)
DVI Output Support 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Street Price US$299 - 349 ~ US$269 - 319 ~US$289 - 449 ~ US$449 - 529 From US$249 - 279