7950GX2 vs 8800 Series Showdown - Game Performance and Conclusion

Article Index
7950GX2 vs 8800 Series Showdown
The Cards: eVGA 7950GX2 - XFX 8800GTS
The Cards: eVGA 8800GTX
Side by Side by Side
Test Setup, Info and 3DMark
Game Performance and Conclusion

Real World Game play:

We installed a few of today's popular and demanding games to test out these cards and see how the performance compared.  We used the latest drivers available and had the games patched to their latest versions.  All previous data regarding the 7950GX2 was thrown out and we recorded fresh new data to make this fair - as we're using new drivers with this card.  Below are the results from F.E.A.R., G.R.A.W., Oblivion and Need For Speed: Carbon.

Click Chart for Full-Sized Image

As you can see above, F.E.A.R. scales pretty smoothly across the cards and the 7950GX2 hangs on very well even at 1280x960.  However, once you enable Soft Shadows, the GX2 becomes unplayable at 1600x1200 while the two 8800 Series cards keep on pounding out very acceptable frame rates.  The High Quality results shown above are with 8x AA.  That is unbelievable performance to get over 60FPS with 8x AA, 16x AF with Soft Shadows enabled at 1600x1200.  The 8800 dominates high resolution F.E.A.R. for sure.

Click Chart for Full-Sized Image

We see very similar results with Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter as we did with F.E.A.R.  The 7950GX2 even manages to edge out the 8800GTS at 1280x960, but loses by is outperformed by the slowest 8800 card at Maximum detail at High Resolution.  The 8800GTS beats in by a margin of 100%.  That is nuts!  The 8800GTX shows even more power and beats the GTS by another 30% at this resolution.

Moving on to Oblivion below, we must make mention that this game is capped at our refresh rate of 75Hz.  At Low Quality, all cards remain capped most of the time, and as we increase quality, view distance, and resolution we see the gap open up.  All cards perform well, but the 8800GTS takes the cake.  I've never before seen Oblivion look so good and it was breathtaking to see the world flow by as smooth as silk at 1600x1200 with HDR enabled.

Click Chart for Full-Sized Image

Last up we've got EA's latest release in the Need For Speed Series.  The game on the bench is Carbon and it is a hog.  It looks okay, but is really nothing earth shattering.  On the other hand, it runs like a dog at high resolution.  Even at 1280x960 at our medium testing quality, the game was almost unplayable on the 7950GX2 - and the card is less than a year old!

Click Chart for Full-Sized Image


Power Usage:

One factor that many people complain about with the new 8800 hardware is how power hungry it is.  nVidia's official requirement is actually quite low (400W for GTS, 450W for GTX), but many people claim that you need a 600W+ PSU to run these cards.  Below is a little table that shows total system power consumption with the different cards in the system.  The results below do not include monitor - only System Chassis.

   7950GX2  8800GTS  8800GTX

Idle Watt /




Load Watt /







Before I got a chance to look at these cards, I'd heard both good and bad comments regarding the GeForce 8800 series of graphics card.  On the plus side, they are DX10 and HDCP ready and are the only Vista-proof graphics card on the market at the moment.  I've also heard a lot of negative comments about their power consumption and heat output.  I wondered how these factors really affected the usability and enjoyment of these cards.  The truth is, both the 8800GTS and 8800GTX are a huge leap ahead of the 7950GX2, and if you're buying a card to take you through the next year, you'd be a fool not to grab a 8800GTS at the very least.  Both of these cards fly at high resolutions, with eye-candy turned on that I never would have thought possible.  Don't be fooled into thinking that an Athlon 3500+ or Pentium D 820 can push these cards and make them perform.   You will need a hefty CPU to get the most from these cards.  The performance screams and the cooler does not.  If ATI can follow suite with their R600, nVidia may finally have something to worry about.

As I wrap up this review, I sit back and look in amazement at the performance numbers nVidia has pulled from the GeForce 8800 GPU.  The streamlined architecture, wider memory bus, and greater number of faster clocked stream processors take this card beyond what I thought I'd see in 2006.  If this rate of change holds true, we should see some pretty freakin' awesome hardware in 2007.


  • Large frame buffer and fast memory bus.
  • Quiet cooling solution on both 8800GTS and 8800GTX.
  • Insane performance.
  • DX10 Support with HDCP.


  • Cards don't currently work under Vista with nVidia's public drivers.
  • 8800GTX is looooong and may not fit in many cases.

We'll sum up both cards in one chart as they really score the same for their performance and price range.


BCCHardware.com Rating
Software Pack:
Total Score 9.3



We feel that both cards earn high marks for value - because you get what you pay for.  If you want top-notch performance, you have to pay more, but the value is there if you're a gamer.  I'd like to offer special thanks to MemoryExpress in Calgary for letting us take these cards for a couple of weeks and game it up test them over the holidays. 

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please don't hesitate to post your thoughts in the forum at the comments link below.