MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
EVGA 8800GT Akimbo Superclocked Edition (1GB GDDR3 PCI-E)
Big, loud and hot.
- Factory overclocked, decent 3-D performance, single 6-pin power requirements
- Double-slot cooler, loud blower fan, high heat output
Put simply, if you need a graphics card that’s able to play most recent 3-D intensive games at reasonable performance levels, EVGA’s latest 8800GT variant is a good choice at a reasonable price.
EVGA’s 8800GT Akimbo Superclocked Edition is a difficult creature to categorise. It’s the most powerful of EVGA’s extensive 8800GT line-up but it is inferior in specifications to seven other 8-Series EVGA cards. Despite its identity crisis the card is capable enough in modern 3-D applications and is well-priced for inclusion in a budget gaming PC.
In terms of specifications and performance, this card is pitted against cards like the ATI Radeon HD3850 Ultimate and GV-RX387512H-B — which have a significant advantage in terms of price. It will be difficult for the 8800GT to justify its price, especially considering it’s a model that’s beginning to be superseded by newer mid-range cards.
But if you’re dead-set on an 8800 GT for whatever reason, this card is one of the best out there. Like ASUS’ GeForce 8800 GT TOP it comes factory overclocked. This particular model’s graphics core sits at an impressive 720MHz, a significant jump from the 600MHz stock frequency. Memory speeds are also raised to a 2000MHz ceiling from the original 1800MHz. These speeds are superior even to EVGA’s other 8-Series cards (apart from its top-of-the-line Ultra Special Edition, which has 2200MHz memory). Despite these impressive clock speeds the 8800 GT Akimbo Superclocked Edition only requires a single 6-pin power connector, so you won’t need a beefed-up power supply to run this card.
More technical mumbo-jumbo — the 8800 GT’s processor has a total of 112 stream processors, which is 16 up on the GTS and 16 below the GTX and Ultra. Let’s put this into perspective, though — EVGA’s latest GTX 280 HC16 graphics card has an immense 240 stream processors, leaving the 8800 GT Akimbo Superclocked Edition in the dust. Similarly, the 8800 GT is crippled in terms of memory throughput, with a 256-bit memory bus compared to the 8800 GTX’s 320-bit bus.
We did see some good results in our benchmarks, though, with most modern games maintaining a playable frame rate. It blitzed DirectX 9 tests (as you’d expect any recent card to) and handled DirectX 10 tests passably as well. A Half-Life 2 test at maximum quality settings and a resolution of 1920x1200 averaged 135.5 frames per second, while for the graphically-taxing F.E.A.R. the test average was 81.0fps.
When switching to DirectX 10 tests there was a sizeable performance hit but the games generally remained playable. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition averaged a playable 34.3fps at medium settings with DirectX 10 features set to reduced levels. We also ran a time-demo in Crysis, with an overall average of 23.80fps. This is verging on unplayable, so if you’re a die-hard gamer you might be left a little wanting.
All our tests were performed on a Samsung SyncMaster 245B at its native resolution — 1920x1200 — connected to a Vista 32-bit machine equipped with 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 750GB Barracuda ES hard drive and a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad CPU.
One downside of this card is that it’s quite large. A dual-slot cooling solution attempts to keep it cool and steady. When running through our maxed-out Crysis test the blower fan on the card was flat-out, moving a lot of air — but also creating a lot of noise. If silent computing is vital to you, look for a newer, more power-efficient card. We’ve found the GTX 280 Series to be quite good in terms of fan noise and heat output — but you certainly pay the premium for them. If you can’t afford one of them, the 8800GT Akimbo Superclocked Edition from EVGA is a decent compromise.
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Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
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