NVIDIA may have announced the clock speeds of the GeForce 8800 GTS as 500MHz and 1600MHz for the core and memory respectively but it seems that Leadtek, like the MSI NX8800GTS-T2D640E that we reviewed before, does not follow by the book and is actually clocked at 513/1584MHz. Perhaps there's some story behind this strange mismatch between the advertised and the actual but honestly, we don't know the reason. However, what consumers can expect from these retail versions are slightly higher frame rates, since the higher core clock more than makes up for any dip in memory frequency.
From the pictures, you can see that the Leadtek is virtually the same as any other GeForce 8800 GTS. That same large cooler is as massive as coolers can get, with built-in heat pipes and Leadtek's red and black decal to distinguish it. The size is necessary to cool the G80 core and its record 681 million transistors and helps ensure that the fan spins slow enough that it's almost totally silent.
You can read our review on the GeForce 8 series for the details about these new cards but basically, the GeForce 8800 GTS is a reduced version of the top model, the GTX, with a lower clock speed and lesser number of stream processors, analogous to the 'pipelines' of the old architecture. This is common industry practice and so far, we haven't heard anything about unlocking hidden capacity on the GTS. However we would highly recommend against even trying because the GTS differs from the GTS extensively on the PCB and power requirement levels. Based on our performance review, the GeForce 8800 GTS is more than sufficient for the current games and its unified shader architecture should benefit it greatly for next generation games.
A separate core is set aside for the display component of the GeForce 8800 GTS. This other core contains the needed cryptographic keys for HDCP support and will probably integrate other features like a HDMI transmitter in the future. For now, you'll find two dual-link DVI outputs, a frequent sight on graphics cards now. Add in a large display and NVIDIA's oft quoted Extreme HD gaming is a reality.
With the GeForce 8 representing a new generation of graphics cards, especially the move to DirectX 10, it should have been a golden opportunity for vendors to craft a bundle worthy of the new cards. Unfortunately, perhaps due to a lack of time or a conscious decision to lower production cost, many vendors have dropped the ball on this one. Just like MSI's bundle for its NX8800GTS-T2D640E, Leadtek has recycled its current bundle for its GeForce 8800 GTS. The included games like SpellForce 2 are far from being outdated but they do not gel with the image of high-end graphics like the GeForce 8800 GTS. We believe given such an ordinary bundle, most consumers would rather prefer a cheaper version without any software. Hopefully, we may find more refreshing choices from vendors for the later batches of GeForce 8 cards.