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XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition Review - Page 1 of 10

INTRODUCTION

Today we are taking a look at the GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition graphics card from XFX. The XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition is based on the GeForce 8800 Ultra Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), which was announced by NVIDIA back on May 2nd.

Sponsors

At the time, it was mentioned that various launch partners would be offering graphics cards ranging in price from $829 and up when they became available worldwide by May 15th.

XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition
Click image to enlarge.

With the GeForce 8800 having been in production for 7 months, continued design and manufacturing improvements began to pay off for NVIDIA and TSMC. In the case of the GeForce 8800 Ultra, the benefits consisted of tangible increases in processor, shader, and memory operating frequencies.

Reference Specifications

The core speed of the reference GeForce 8800 Ultra increased a modest 6% over the GeForce 8800 GTX (612MHz vs. 575MHz) while the shader processor increased 11% (1500MHz vs. 1350MHz). A 612MHz core is usually attainable by overclocking a GeForce 8800 GTX, but the 20% increase in the memory frequency (1080MHz vs. 900MHz) ultimately sets the Ultra apart from the GTX.

The increased clocks generate a 20% increase in the amount of data that can be moved through the Ultra's memory bus compared to the GTX (103.7GB/sec vs. 86.4GB/sec), which is especially beneficial at ultra-high resolutions with antialiasing enabled.

The XXX Factor

What makes the XXX Edition special is that it boasts even higher clock speeds than the reference design as illustrated by the settings below - 675MHz core/1674MHz shader/1152MHz memory (2304MHz effective).

XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Frequencies

Compared to the reference GeForce 8800 GTX, the core, shader, and memory clocks of XFX's GeForce 8800 Ultra XXX Edition provide an increase of 17.4%, 24.1% and 27.8% respectively.

GEFORCE 8800 SERIES OVERVIEW

The GeForce 8 Series was designed as a unified architecture and used as the reference GPU for developing and certifying DirectX 10. The GeForce 8800 Ultra contains 128 stream processors operating at 1.50GHz. Individually, each stream processor is capable of processing information from different types of graphics-related programs such as pixel and vertex shaders.

GeForce 8800 Architecture
Click image to enlarge.

The GeForce 8800 stream processor has characteristics that are similar to a general purpose processor. For example, in addition to processing pixel and vertex shaders, the stream processor is suited to handle geometry shaders, which are new to DirectX 10, and physics, via NVIDIA's Quantum Effects technology. An application of geometry shaders can be seen in NVIDIA's excellent Cascades demo. Video footage and secrets behind the Cascades demo can be downloaded here (~18MB).

A variety of image quality improvements were added to the GeForce 8 Series courtesy of its Lumenex Engine. There are three new Coverage Sample Antialiasing modes (CSAA), which use coverage samples to enhance an applications existing modes of antialiasing. An 8xQ antialiasing mode has also been included, which is standard 8x multisampling.

Better Overall Image Quality

Texture filtering quality has improved as the high quality anisotropic filtering option removes angle-dependant optimizations. High Dynamic Range (HDR) can also be enabled in conjunction with antialiasing.

Next Page: Packaging and Accessories

Last Updated on September 27, 2009


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