7950GX2 vs 8800 Series Showdown

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

Products: eVGA 7950GX2, XFX 8800GTS, eVGA 8800GTX
Provided By: MemoryExpress
Price: $549.95CDN - 8800GTS, $719.95CDN - 8800GTX


In the second quarter of 2006, nVidia released the 7950GX2 video card in order to stay ahead of ATI in terms of "single card" performance.  What this dual GPU card offered was hardware SLI on one board and the ability to link two of these cards together in an additional SLI link for a Quad SLI configuration.  While the sound of this excited many people, real world performance numbers didn't show much improvement over SLI and in some cases performance was worse.  This was a valiant attempt by nVidia to utterly destroy ATi, but it didn't work quite as well as they'd hoped.  The truth is, the 7950GX2 was the single fastest graphics card on the market until the launch of the 8800 Series of graphics cards from nVidia.

The Lineup

nVidia has done some impressive changes on this new generation of graphics cards, and while they are not clocked much higher than previous graphics cards, performance has improved significantly.  Today we are going to take a look at two different series of graphics cards from nVidia that have been released in the same calendar year and see how much more performance the 8800GTS and 8800GTX offer above and beyond the 7950GX2 Powerhouse.

We will be testing all of the cards on a fresh install of Windows XP Pro 32-bit under DirectX 9.  The 8800 Series offers DX10 functionality, but we don't have a final DX10 Operating system as of yet, nor do we have drivers for the 8800 Series that work under Vista.  Perhaps in the future we will be able to revisit this review and run DirectX 10 performance on the cards.

MemX Add

8800 Series Features:

Below is a list of features and technology that the 8800 Series offers.

NVIDIA® unified architecture:
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.

GigaThread™ Technology:
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10 Support:
World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology:
Delivers up to 2x the performance of a single graphics card configuration for unequaled gaming experiences by allowing two graphics cards to run in parallel. The must-have feature for performance PCI Express® graphics, SLI dramatically scales performance on today's hottest games.

NVIDIA® Lumenex™ Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy with ultra-fast frame rates:

  • 16X Anti-aliasing Technology:
    Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.
  • 128-bit Floating Point High Dynamic-Range (HDR) Lighting:
    Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects-now with support for anti-aliasing.

NVIDIA® Quantum Effects™ Technology:
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU-all the while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA® ForceWare® Unified Driver Architecture (UDA):
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience for every user and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce® GPUs.

OpenGL® 2.0 Optimizations and Support:
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA® nView® Multi-Display Technology:
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support:
Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs:
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates-up to

Dual Dual-link DVI Support:
Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.

Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista™:
NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface, included in the upcoming operating system (OS) from Microsoft.

NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Technology:
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

  • Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
    NVIDIA PureVideo is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.
  • Hardware Decode Acceleration:
    Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.
  • HDCP Capable:
    Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.
  • Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:
    Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.
  • High-Quality Scaling:
    Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.
  • Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
    Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video, providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.
  • Bad Edit Correction:
    When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadence. PureVideo uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.
  • Noise Reduction:
    Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.
  • Edge Enhancement:
    Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.

On the next page we'll take a look at the cards and get this showdown rolling.