Christmas is slightly more than a month away but if you're fixed on getting NVIDIA's new GeForce 8 graphics cards, you're in luck. Stocks seem adequate on the online stores we checked and even the flagship GeForce 8800 GTX was available despite a manufacturing error that led to a mini recall from vendors. However, we did notice that generally, the prices for the GeForce 8800 GTS were higher than the stated launch price of US$449. For example, the cheapest GTS on popular online retailer Newegg was US$459, a slight premium over the recommended retail price while on price comparison sites like Pricewatch.com, the cheapest GTS was listed at around US$482.
In short, be prepared for possible price gouging from retailers or vendors when shopping around for a GeForce 8 card. It is likely that stocks are not as plentiful as they may appear, given these higher prices. Then again, we doubt that most early adopters are overly concerned about a slightly higher retail price, compared to the prospects of getting the fastest graphics card now. So, to help these determined buyers choose the 'right' GeForce 8800 GTS, we give Leadtek's version the run-through today:
You should know that currently, all NVIDIA GeForce 8800 cards are outsourced by the chipmaker to a third party contract manufacturer. NVIDIA retains control over the process as it sells the finished hardware to the many graphics vendors, who proceed to ready them for retail. While NVIDIA mentioned that this would be their main model of populating their GeForce 8 series to the market speedily, they didn't rule out that vendors could introduce their own variants, though in our opinion it's quite unlikely to happen anytime soon. This means that all the GeForce 8 cards now are clones of each other. They are all reference models, featuring the same specifications and hardware, like the two-slot cooler.