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NVIDIA's G80 uncovered - Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX performance preview
It seems like barely a week goes by without a graphics board launch these days - There's always some new product or other being touted by NVIDIA or ATI, or being put through its paces in our labs. However, what we have on our hands today is a far rarer occurrence, as not only does it see the launch of a new architecture from NVIDIA, but it also sees the beginning of a whole new world of graphics processing.
It's been a while since we've seen such a sea change in the fast-moving world of GPUs, with ATI's R300 (aka the Radeon 9700) the last occasion to bring an entirely new Shader Model and feature set to the table, with impressive performance to boot. In all honesty, NVIDIA's G80 core which launches today is a step up even from that, representing the biggest architectural revolution we've seen for a very long time.
However, for us here at Elite Bastards, talk of architectures and the like is something to be left for another day. We received our first GeForce 8800 GTX sample from those wonderful people at Foxconn just yesterday afternoon. Of course, this doesn't leave time to cover ever single aspect of such an 'alien' architecture, but rather than leave you, our loyal readers, empty handed on this massive launch date, we have opted to work through the night to bring you as many raw performance benchmarks as we could possibly manage in our limited time with the board so far. It goes without saying that this will then be supplemented in the coming week or so with a far more in-depth article which covers the peculiarities of the architecture, image quality, cooler noise and performance and everything you would expect from a review of a brand spanking new architecture.
For now though, feast your eyes on Foxconn's take on NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTX and just what it can do from a pure performance standpoint.
Foxconn's GeForce 8800 GTX (FV-N88XMAD2-OD)
What's the first thing you do when you receive a brand-spanking, revolutionary new graphics board? You take a picture of yourself looking goofy while holding it of course.
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Now, it has been said by some that the GeForce 8800 GTX's PCB is too long - However, we can see from this image that in fact it is neither long nor wide enough to cover my ugly mug. Something to work towards with G90 perhaps.
On a more serious note, most of you are probably already familiar with the look of the GeForce 8800 GTX's PCB, but let's go through it anyway - The board requires two PCI Express power connectors, and also provides two SLI interconnects to allow you to use three graphics boards in tandem, rather than the two normally seen on NVIDIA parts. The cooler is a dual slot affair, but a really pretty quiet one from our testing so far it has to be said. Underneath that cooler is the almost 700 million transistor behemoth that is G80, along with the NVIO chip that handles input and output - Of course, we'll be talking about all of that properly in our final review piece.
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Here we see the GeForce 8800 GTX installed and ready to go in the Elite Bastards test system, with those two PCI Express power connectors plugged in to give it enough juice, and just enough space to spare between the graphics board and the hard drive installed in the system.
Of course, you won't be buying a GeForce 8800-based part just to look at, will you? So, let's get on with the real crux of this brief preview - How the board performs.