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Feature Articles

Voodoo Beginnings - 10 Years of GPU Development

By Kenny Yeo - 15 Jan 2009

Timeline: 2007

2007

  • Soon after, we tested a number of cards based on the GeForce 8800 GPU. The MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD-OC (GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB) in particular was peculiar in that it was one of the few cards to actually overclock its shader units. In fact it was overclocked to 1350MHz, which is equivalent to that of the 8800 GTX. Hence despite having only 320MB of memory, it still managed to put it some impressive performances. As such, it was even in our Top 100 products of the year.

Admittedly, it looks rather plain jane, but it is one of the few cards to feature overclocked shader units.

  • The mid-range market, it goes without saying, was not neglected by NVIDIA and in our 12-Way NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB Shootout , we covered the 12 best mid-range 8600 GTS cards to find out which offers the most bang for the least buck. Also, this is our biggest graphics card shootout ever!

    Another mid-range card that is worthy of a mention is the ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB DDR3 , because of its special 'OC Gear', a separate module that fits into another 5.25 inch bay that allows users to tweak the core clock at the turn of a knob.

The OC Gear is really useful for on-the-fly tweaking of your card's settings. In addition, we think it looks really cool.

  • After much waiting, ATI's high-end Radeon HD 2900 series of cards finally entered the market, and we tested the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT 512MB to see if it can reclaim the crown from NVIDIA. Sadly, that was not to be. The GeForce 8800 GTX proved too much for it to handle, but the Radeon HD 2900 XT was more than a match for the less powerful 8800 GTS. Enthusiasts who were looking for something a notch lower than the 8800 GTX found that the Radeon HD 2900 XT soon became a compelling option.

ATI's latest flagship, the HD 2900 XT, disappoints again. Not as fast as the 8800 GTX, it was saved only by its aggressive pricing.

  • By now the market was absolutely flooded with cards. There were so many different GPUs and makers that it was absolutely mind-boggling. So to help readers, we undertook great pains to come up with this Graphics Performance Charts.
  • Towards the end of the year, NVIDIA decided to refresh its 8800 lineup once more and launched the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB . This was an outstanding card because it offered superb performance at a very good price.

    We noticed that two GeForce 8800 GT cards would cost as much as a GeForce 8800 GTX and so in a follow-up article, we took a pair of GeForce 8800 GT cards and put them in SLI to see how it would stack up. Although this pair provided superior performance, we found that the drivers didn't seem to be up to mark as we found a few issues while testing. Otherwise, a pair of GeForce 8800 GT cards would prove to be a very enticing option.

    Given the outstanding value of the GeForce 8800 GT, we decided to hold another shootout - A Ten-Course GeForce 8800 GT Feast  to help buyers pick out the best of the lot. In this shoot-out, we covered no less than ten GeForce 8800 GT cards.

One of the most impressive cards ever, the 8800 GT packed great performance and price in one unbeatable package.

  • ATI came back once more with the Radeon HD 3800 series, which was basically a die-shrunk version of the GPU used on the Radeon HD 2900 XT. We received the less powerful PowerColor Radeon HD 3850 Xtreme 512MB for testing, and were slightly disappointed by its performance. It was not the 8800 GT beater that we hoped it would be, and we even speculated that even the more powerful Radeon HD 3870 would have difficulties matching up with GeForce 8800 GT. If there was anything to take solace in, it was its competitive pricing.