The performance enthusiasts have quickly claimed NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GT as one of their own, due to its unbeatable price performance ratio (and better yet when you factor in overclocking). While ATI's competing Radeon HD 3870 may have a case when it comes to that criteria, it isn't as ideal and has been mostly eclipsed. The slightly less powerful Radeon HD 3850 however has managed to win the critics for its sub US$200 price bracket and this is one segment that NVIDIA has quite the void, with its earlier GeForce 8600 GTS incapable of providing any real competition, while its 256MB version of the GeForce 8800 GT remains more expensive and limited in quantity.
Hence, a short-lived solution known as the GeForce 8800 GS has been cooked up. Basically, this is an even more watered down version of the G92 core found on the GeForce 8800 GT and it will only be viable until NVIDIA's upcoming mid-range GeForce 9 hits the market in the coming month or so. The GeForce 8800 GS has already showed up on listings from online retailers in Europe and with its price expected to be under US$200, it could be the card that could on paper pose some competition for the Radeon HD 3850. Finding these could be difficult though as only a select few vendors like BFG, XFX and ASUS would be catering to this stopgap measure and its limited in quantity too.
However, you can't buy what you can't find and with the popular G92 core, it may not be as straightforward as creating the SKU. What you can find now instead are many Radeon HD 3850 cards, with all the ATI board partners enjoying a slight revival in fortunes. We have already quite a few non-standard versions of the Radeon HD 3800 series in retail, with some interesting ones to be found. One such card is Gigabyte's Radeon HD 3850 512MB, featuring a Zalman cooler fan and a rather unusual choice of clock speeds. Apparently, it's underclocked. Don't believe us? Check the specifications below: