Features justify pricey graphics board

The new games standard is DirectX 10, but the graphics boards supporting it have been very expensive. Now a new wave of lower-memory nVidia boards is arriving. We tested one such model that delivers great performance. At $US350, BFG Technologies' PCI Express board, the GeForce 8800 GTS OC, is on the pricey side (many others cost $US300), but it ships overclocked and carries a lifetime warranty.

The current performance champs may be nVidia GeForce 8800 GTX-based, DirectX 10-ready graphics boards with 768MB of memory, but they'll set you back at least $US600. Even the slightly cheaper GeForce 8800 GTS-based models, equipped with 640MB of memory, start at $US400. So it's welcome news that card makers have introduced a lower-cost GeForce 8800 GTS alternative that carries only 320MB of RAM. The card's core clock speed has been boosted from 500 MHz to 550 MHz, while its Shader Clock runs at 1.3 GHz, versus the standard 1.2 GHz.

In our Battlefield 2 and Half Life 2 tests at 1600 by 1200 resolution with antialising turned on, the GTS OC held its own against most other power ($US300 and higher) boards, delivering frame rates of 75 frames per second and 116 fps, respectively; on the same tests, the top performer, XFX's GeForce 8800 GTX ($US589), posted 79 fps and 124 fps, and the top-of-the-line ATI Radeon X1950 XTX ($US359) checked in at 77 fps and 101 fps. In our Quake 4 and Doom 3 tests performed at the same settings, the GTS OC outpaced the X1950 XTX, though it couldn't match the faster clock speed and memory of the 8800 GTX. The GTS OC includes two fully HDCP-compliant Dual-Link DVI connections (maximum 2048 by 1536 resolution) and adapters for component (1080i) and S-Video (480i) TV output.

DirectX 10 (exclusive to Windows Vista) promises future games that will be graphically richer and more complex than today's. If you want to prepare for the jump to that standard while achieving strong performance and visual settings in current-generation titles, you'll find that 320MB GeForce 8800 GTS-based boards like the GTS OC are the most affordable way to do so.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?