by Rob Williams on February 25, 2008 in Graphics & Displays
If building a new computer or simply upgrading, you likely want to make sure your GPU decision is a good one, all while making sure not to break the bank. We are taking a look at the EN8800GT TOP which fits the bill. Even better, it’s pre-overclocked, to improve performance even further.
In testing power consumption for our graphic cards, the system components are kept consistent to help keep accurate results. To capture wattage, a Kill-a-Watt is used. It is plugged straight into the wall and the PSU is plugged in directly to it. After the computer is booted into Windows and is left idle for five minutes, the idle wattage is captured.
To capture the average, a run of 3DMark 2006 is run while keeping an eye on the voltage for the first two minutes. I record the value that the Kill-a-Watt reported the majority of the time. Sometimes the wattage might go higher, but scale right back down, and vice versa.
Oddly enough, even though ASUS’ EN8800GT is faster than Palit’s offering, it uses less power overall at full load. Either Palit’s old-school cooler isn’t up to the task of dissipating heat as effectively as the reference design, or ASUS pressed out a perfect card here.
What’s even more interesting is the fact that the EN8800GT uses only slightly more power on average over the HD 3850 TOP, but is considerably faster.
As I mentioned in the intro, NVIDIA’s 8800 GT is a winner all around. It comes in at a great price, offers stellar performance and is really the card to buy right now if you are looking for those things. For a little more oomph, the 8800 GTS 512 is also a fantastic offering, but where price is concerned, I feel the 8800 GT really hits the mark, especially if you plan to pair two of them in SLI.
Although ASUS’ TOP card proved to be better all-around above the stock-speed Palit offering, the downside is that it’s difficult to find in stock anywhere. Most e-tailers stock ASUS EN8800GT cards, but none are the TOP version, and most use a standard fan/heatsink rather than the reference design cooler.
The upside is that even if you purchase a regular EN8800GT, overclocking should be superb, just like seen with the pre-overclock here. Palit’s card also offered great overclocking on the core, but not so much on the memory, so it appears the memory on these cards are hard to overclock and will be luck of the draw. Both of our cards here hit 700MHz on the core with ease though, so the overclocking room is there for the taking.
So while it’s hard to out-right recommend this card given that it’s impossible to find in stock, I can however fully recommend any 8800 GT card in general, since the performance and pricing is right. When seeing what this card could do at even the high resolution of 2560×1600 was impressive, so it should please most any gamer, to say the least.
- 8800 GT offers fantastic performance
- ASUS’ TOP version has superb overclock
- Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts game included
- Reference cooler is effective, but semi-loud at full-load
- Priced-right… if you can find it in stock
- Hard to find this particular version in stock, anywhere
- Packaging is ridiculously large…
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