A year or two ago Foxconn were the rising stars of the motherboard world. Having shown the enthusiasts that they were here to stay Foxconn moved onto graphics cards and once again have hit hard into the high end market with a wide range of GPUs on offer. Today I have their 8800GTX which has all the speed of the other manufacturers models, but with a packaging and cooler that our older readers would probably describe as “Cosmic”. Read on to find out if its performance is as “Far out” as its packaging.
Available version of the 8800GTX
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX|
|Pixel Pipeline||128 Stream Processors Running at 1.35GHz|
|Vertex Pipeline||128 Stream Processors Running at 1.35GHz|
|Graphics Bus Technology||PCI Express x16|
|Connectors||Dual Dual-Link DVI + HDTV-Out|
|Special Features||– NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Support |
– NVIDIA® SLI™ Support
– Dual Dual-Link DVI Support
– HDTV Out Support
– Windows Vista™ Support
Foxconn’s take on the 8800GTX
- 128Stream processors running at1.35GHz
Bits and Box
The packaging for this 8800 is very surreal, bringing to mind images of my long haired father sitting in a smoky circle with tie dyed friends singing about peace and love.
Moving to the back of the box we have some multilingual specifications and feature lists along with a comparison picture between integrated and a dedicated 8800 GPU.
Inside the box we have lots of little goodies to excite you. Along with the usual DVI to VGA converters, a few fun cables – including two molex 4 pin to 6 pin PCIE converters, the driver CD and manual, and a couple of other pretty cool additions.The first of these is some pretty nice video editing software; not a gamers first choice but I am sure many would have a use for it. The other little extra that comes with the 8800 is a nifty looking game pad. This is rather different from the bundled OEM games that usually come with high end cards so it will be interesting to see if its fun to use.
Taking the 8800 out of its protective anti static bag, it is obvious that the guys at Foxconn wanted to continue the colourful packaging idea onto the card itself. Some may not like this design, but personally I think it looks great. Love it or hate it though. one thing is for certain, this card really stands out.
This GPU is fitted with the standard exhaust cooler that comes with most of the 8800 range. This involves a fan sucking air in through the “Front” and passing it along the heatsink before exhausting the air out of the back of the case.
The heatsink that the air rushes across on its bid for freedom is pretty huge, and it encorporates several interesting design features that aide looks and cooling performance. The first and most obvious of these is the visible bottom heatpipe. This will allow heat to travel from the core of the “Sink” to the fins much more quickly as heatpipes are purely designed for quick heat transfer.
The second design feature this cooler has is an interesting grill in the coolers plastic shroud. I can only assume this is purely for aesthetic appeal only, as this would surely just mean that some of the air meant to be exhausted out of the case is simply fed back into the case.
At the back of the card you can see the exhaust area of the cooler; nicely grilled to stop any fingers getting stuck. There is also the usual two times DVI ports for all your digital goodness.
Moving around to the other end of the card you can see the now famous two times 6 pin power connectors. This was the first card of its kind to need not only the power from the PCIE socket and one PCIE 6 pin power connector, but two. If you don’t have two PCIE 6 pin power cables you will be able to use the included molex to 6 pin cables included; arn’t Foxconn helpful?
Also along this end of the card are the twin SLI bridge connectors; no doubt just itching for tri and quad SLI to become available so they can become more than just bragging material.
Taking a look at the back of the card it realy becomes apparent how big this thing is. The 8800GTX is a whopping 27cm long so if you have a small case or a large HDD cage near the front, you may need to rethink whether you want this card, or at least if you need to purchase a bigger case first.
Installation was not a problem this time. I say this time, as now being a veteran of 8800 installation I had allready relocated my hard drives to elsewhere in the case before attempting the install, giving the 800GTX plenty of room to breath.
Having had a look at the aesthetics and design of the card and managing to fit it without too much hassle, I think it’s time to have a go at testing this puppy don’t you?
To test GPUs XSR has a battery of synthetic and real world benchmarks that we put the cards through. Those tests are as follows:
3Dmark01, 3Dmark03, 3Dmark05, 3Dmark6, FEAR pre-set benchmark, X3 Reunion pre-set benchmark, HL2: Lost Coast built in benchmark and our very own Battlefield 2142 recorded demo sequence.
All 3Dmark tests are run using default settings and all gaming benchmarks are set as maximum detail (HL2:Lost Coast and BF2142 have 4x anti-aliasing). All tests were run 3 times and the average of the results taken to ensure that the scores were accurate. If there was a large anomally in the testing we repeated the 3 tests again.
The rig that this GPU was tested in is as follows:
Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.7ghz
Asus P5W DH Deluxe
Silverstone Olypia 650w
OCZ 2gb Special Ops PC6400 @ 900mhz
Spire Blackfin case with Noiseblocker 120mm’s fitted in the front and rear; side panel 120mm fan disabled.
The results for this card were also compared to a Gainward 8800GTX in stock and overclocked states along with an x1900XT and an x1950XTX.
It should be noted that normally we would overclock the Foxconn card and compare it to the overclocking results of the Gainward card. However, when attempting to overclock the Foxconn card I could get nothing out of it, even with some extra cooling added in true XSR bodging style. After contacting my Foxconn representative I was informed that my sample was from one of the original 8800 batches which had had its overclocking ability extremely limited. Becuase of this, in almost all tests the Gainward card when overclocked is faster than the Foxconn. However, I will simply state that I am sure if you pruchase a Foxconn card from the current range that it will see similar overclocking results as the Gainward card did in our review here.
As usual I will begin my results roundup with the synthetic tests:
In all of the 3Dmark benchmarks the Foxconn card performed pretty much on par with the Gainward 8800 though falling behind by a couple of points here and there. It performed worse than the overclocked Gainward card but this is understandable since the Foxconn card was running at stock.
Next up, the gaming tests.
Interestingly, in all gaming tests bar FEAR, the Foxconn 8800GTX pulled ahead of the Gainward card at stock by a few frames per second. It would appear that synthetic benchmarks are not as comparible to the real world as they make out.
Noise & Cooling
The cooler on the 8800GTX is fairly quiet and will run at very low RPMs until the temperature of the card shoots up at which point the fan speed does increase slightly. However, unless you are turning the speed above 80% then you are not really going to notice it over the usual levels of noise that come with an average PC.
The cooler itself does a reasonable job of keeping temperatures in check, but if you are overclocking you are going to want to increase the RPM manually as the 8800 tends to stay at around 70 under load unless you reall crank up those fan revs. The best performance vs noise speed setting is at about 80% as this keeps the noise relatively low while giving you some nice temperature figures too.
As per other 8800 cards the Foxconn 8800GTX is going to set you back a pretty penny. However, since the OC and XXX versions have been released prices of the “Basic” 8800 cards like this one have fallen slightly. Still though you are looking at spening around the £400 mark for this card so it is definately up there with the more expensive PC components.
The 8800 is the first card to support Microsoft’s new DirectX 10 standard. However, unless you are really desperate to be the first person you know to have Vista running with the new Aero theme showing its full glory, there is little else that can be gained from this feature at this point. There are a few games that currently support DX10, Company of Heroes being perhaps the most popular. However, if you are buying this card simply for its DX10 features, you would be well advised to take a serious look at whether this is the right time to do so as currently DX10 games are performing rather poorly in Vista due to shoddy drivers and slow technology uptake. Later this year many more games will be released which support this feature, and Vista’s larger holes should have been fixed by then so it may be better to hold off buying this card until then.
For those who really liked the sound of the included gamepad, I powered up an old N64 ROM I downloaded (If you do this you can only legally keep it on your PC for 24 hours) and gave it a test run. The game I chose to test the gamepad on was Mario Kart 64, an old favourite of mine.
The controller features a myriad of controls for you to use. A Dpad, two analogue thumbsticks, two central buttons, 4 shoulder buttons and four buttons on the right setup in the typical playstation controller style. To test the game, I setup the top shoulder buttons as L and R, the central right button as Start, I used the left analogue stick for the old N64 analogue stick and the right hand buttons for A and B.
This system worked perfectly and the game was a lot more fun using this than using a standard keyboard. However, while playing I couldn’t quite get my hands comfortable. This is due to the fact that it always feels like your 2nd and third fingers should be resting near the back, when its impossible to hold that way. Its hard to explain but its just not quite right. Despite this, the pad was a welcome addition to the bundle and made having a blast through some old games that much more fun.
The 8800 series of graphics cards will go down in history just the way the 9700 cards did a few years back. They are the undisputed kings of performance in ever arena possible. The Foxconn version of this card is pretty much as good as any other 8800 card out there at stock speeds, and it is a shame that overclocking was out of the question with this card. However, the bundle is great and the card looks fantastic, so if you like a good looking card along with awesome performance, then look up the Foxconn 8800GTX.
|Top notch performance||Cost|
|Interesting and unique look|
I’d like to thank our sponsors Foxconn for providing us with this card.
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