Not wanting to leave any enthusiasts out, those looking for the power of the GeForce 8800 family of cards on a budget have had their prayers answered in the form of the GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB card. With prices below $300, the power of the best NVIDIA has to offer is now available for everyone. With the only difference between the two GTS models being the amount of GDDR3 RAM (640MB vs. 320MB) the sub-$300 price is attractive and reasonable. MSI took the reference design and upped the ante by increasing the core and memory clock speeds in their NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC offering. The increase in raw speed on the card served as a good reminder that the marketing hype of "more memory = faster" is definitely not always the case as was discovered when put the through the paces against its bigger, but slower, 640MB brother.
MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC
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MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC
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As the chart below shows, the NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC is identical to the 640MB version except in the amount of RAM and the core and memory speeds. Both feature nice boosts in speed that lend to impressively increased performance throughout a number of benchmarks and tests.
GeForce 8800 GTS Cards Compared
The included accessories include the standard fare of DVI>VGA adapters, component HD video-out cables, an S-Video cable, a molex>PCIe power adapter, manuals and quick start guides, driver disc and, the best part, a full version of Company of Heroes!
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To give the fairest comparison between cards, I attempted to overclock both of the EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB cards in my system and neither would overclock. Using drivers 97.44, 158.19 and 165.01 I had varying degrees of absolute failure. Ranging from BSODs/hard lockups as soon as clock speeds were tested via nTune/RivaTuner to achieving the desired speeds only to have 3DMark06 or a game hard lockup on load or during the first few frames of play. Even the smallest overclocking attempts on both of the cards resulted in utter failure.
Luckily, the NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC was a different story. I had no problems overclocking in the 158.19 drivers that have become my new drivers of choice. I was able to push the card all the way to 628MHz/992MHz on the core/memory. These numbers were staggering and lead to some very impressive results.
This review will show results of the 640MB version at stock clocks vs. 320MB version at factory overclocks vs. 320MB version at aggressive overclocks. The 3DMark06 results got me quite excited to see just how much all that extra horsepower was going to affect scores. For the remainder of the review, "320MB stock" refers to the factory overclocked speeds while "320MB OC" refers to my additional aggressively overclocked speeds.
640MB 3DMark06 Score
320MB Stock 3DMark06 Score
320MB OC 3DMark06 Score
Already starting off it was quite evident that more memory definitely still does not necessarily mean faster performance automatically. With a 1340 point lead over the 640MB card, the 320MB OC is packing some serious power. Even at the stock factory overclock settings, the NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC was just shy of 600 points ahead of the 640MB GeForce 8800 GTS.