XFX GeForce 8800 GT 256MB Graphics Card Review
XFX 8800 GT 256MB Alpha Dog Edition
There really isn't much new in the looks of the new 8800 GT 256MB cards -- in fact I would bet that without having them side by side with an original 8800 GT 512MB card, you wouldn't be able to tell them apart.
The XFX 8800 GT 256MB Alpha Dog Edition that we are reviewing here today looks very similar to our 512MB model with a svelte single slot cooler and dual dual-link DVI outputs.
Remembering that our reference speeds for the 8800 GT 256MB were 600 MHz core and 700-900 MHz memory, the XFX model here is overclocked. With a 650 MHz core clock and 800 MHz memory clock
the Alpha Dog Edition should be among the fastest of the 256MB 8800 GTs on the market.
Getting to that new heatsink and cooler, we see the original 8800 GT 512MB card here sitting above the new 256MB model. Notice the larger fan for more air intake.
This shot shows the two fans in a little more detail with the 256MB model on the right hand side.
Finally, the other change in the new cooler is in terms of thickness: the new 8800 GT 256MB is resting on top of the 512MB model and you can see a noticeable change in height on the heatsink shroud. This indicates the larger heatsink and wider fan for more air circulation.
This change is all for nothing if it doesn't result in actually temperature changes though, so let's see how our results fare:
Original 8800 GT 512MB Cooler - Idle
New 8800 GT 256MB Cooler - Idle
At idle, the new cooler is running about 9C cooler than the original on our 8800 GT 512MB sample.
Original 8800 GT 512MB Cooler - Load
Original 8800 GT 256MB Cooler - Load
At load though, an even more dramatic change is seen. Whereas with the 512MB card and its older cooler the temperatures were hitting in the mid-80C range, the new cooler proves more effective keeping the GPU around the mid-50C area. A 30C drop is impressive and should allow for higher overclocking and just a more reliable gaming experience.
Interestingly, XFX did tell me that these new coolers should be on the 8800 GT 512MB cards when you read this as well -- though we can't be sure when the stock of the original coolers will run out exactly.