XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition Review - Overclocked Speed
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XFX's Overclocked 8800 GTX
When NVIDIA and its partners first unvieled the GeForce 8800 GTX cards to the world, there was one thing that all the various models had in common: everything. The previous GPU generation that consisted of the 7800/7900/7600/etc models were also mostly the same, but board vendors had some wiggle room with the clock speeds on their particular boards. Selling overclocked graphics cards allowed each company to attempt to differentiate themselves from the competition.
But then the 7900 GTX fiasco occurred and all hell broke loose. Many of the first rounds of 7900 GTX cards that were overclocked beyond NVIDIA's reference specifications were locking and freezing on the consumers. The problem affected nearly all of the board vendors and in the end the result was that NVIDIA didn't provide the right information on how far these chips could be pushed safely. Of course, the vendors had to assume some of the responsibility as well, as they were the ones ultimately responsible for the end user's experience.
Because of this, though both NVIDIA and its partners deny it, the 8800 product launch saw NO overclocked models on store shelves. NVIDIA didn't want to find itself in another situation where their name was getting punched around in forums and by gamers. But with three months of product in the hands of consumers with very few problems, NVIDIA opened the gates and allowed the likes of BFG, EVGA and XFX to overclock the G80.
The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition
The XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition is based on the NVIDIA G80 GPU architecture, which you can get full and detailed information about by looking over my first review of the GPU itself. The main features of the G80 core are improved DX9 performance, DX10 support and the first unified shader architecture for consumer GPUs.
On the outside, the XFX GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition looks like any other 8800 GTX card on the market. For those curious, the 'XXX Edition' does not indicate that this card can render porn more effectively, just that it is the "extreme" version of the card running at overclocked speeds.
This model from XFX runs at a core clock speed of 630 MHz and a memory clock speed of 2.0 GHz! That is a healthy boost over the 575 Mhz / 1.8 GHz speeds that the NVIDIA reference boards run at. We'll have to see in which games and what circumstances that nearly 10% boost in clock rate actually gets us the most gain.
Like all 8800 GTX cards, the XFX XXX Edition requires not one but TWO of the PCIe 6-pin power connectors in order to run. And don't think you can just plug one in and get by with spotty stability -- the card won't boot without them both.
The XFX 8800 GTX XXX Edition sports two dual-link DVI outputs as well as a TV output connector that supports standard S-Video and HDTV as well with the provided dongle.
The HDTV dongle is seen at the top of this accessories page along with two DVI-to-VGA adaptors and a standard definition S-Video cable.
Other than that, what you see is what you get. As of this writing, there aren't any interesting game bundles or accessories from the XFX line of GeForce 8-series cards.
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