In a very nice, XFX-typical black box, all of the prerequisites are neatly packed: cables, driver discs, a DVI-to-VGA connector and so on. Since this is an “Alpha Dog” edition, the card comes bundled with the Company of Heroes game as well, which is certainly commendable. After the packaging, we moved on to the card. As you can see in the picture, XFX has decided to “go with the flow”, i.e. to employ the referent card design with no extravagant cooler solutions or anything like that.
Even the sticker on the card is the default Nvidia sticker. The cooling profile is much bigger than the one on the 8800GT, which is to be expected, as this revision of G92 has no parts turned off and works at higher clocks, which inevitably turns up the heat. Aluminium was used as the main material for the cooling body and has a heat-dispersing heatpipe. A “blower” fan is in charge of keeping the passive parts cool, and although it is perhaps a bit on the noisy side, it turned out to be working very well.
It is only after an extensive period of gaming that the fan will have to increase its RPM, bringing the card out of its “stealth” mode, during which you won't be noticing its fan. The fan itself is not placed downright on the card, but is under a 15º angle, due to the longish nature of the condensers. The card has a standard set of output connectors – two DVI and one S-Video.
Compared to GeForce 8800GT, the new card has a slightly more complex GPU, since it has a fully functional G92 on itself. Unlike 8800GT with its 112 stream processors, this card has 128 of them. Also, the number of texture units is 64, which is great and really makes it a monster in “texture fillrate” tests, but also very efficient in newer games and higher relosutions. The ROP number is the same – 16. Both the GPU and the SP clocks have been increased to 650 and 1625 MHz, respectively.
This makes this GPU even more powerful than the G80 present on the 8800GTX cards (take a look at the charts), which is still the best Nvidia has to offer. The weaker, though less important side of these cards is their 256-bit bus. This might seem a limiting factor at first, but both ATI and Nvidia reverted to this value from the higher ones, so it is evident that the memory bus is no longer a crucial factor. Also, a wider bus is one of the major expense sources, and there was no need to make this card more expensive than it is. As far as memory is concerned, it is of DDR3 type, with a response time of 1 ns and clock value of 1940 MHz.
After testing, we reached a conclusion that this solution is very good – Nvidia engineers definitely knew what they were doing. Performance results are great, even better than the 8800GTX in some cases. We had no doubts whatsoever, though, that the G92 will be a great choice in all of its variations. And just by the way, for gamers who are not financially strong enough to buy this sort of card, be patient, we will be having a 8800GS tested very soon!