Asus EN8800GTS (NVIDIA 8800GTS) TOP 512MB Review (Page 3 of 10)

Page 3 - A Closer Look, Test System

Like the rest of the 'midrange' NVIDIA 8800 series, the PCB size of the GeForce 8800GTS G92 is pretty much the same as the rest with a length of approximately 23cm. The shot above shows three 8800 series cards -- from the left: 8800GT modified with Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 w/Turbo Module, 8800GTS 320MB (G80), and the NVIDIA 8800GTS 512MB G92 we are reviewing today. Most cases are long enough to accommodate these cards with adequate clearance between the edge and whatever's next to it -- typically, a hard drive cage.

Asus' 8800GT TOP utilizes the NVIDIA stock heatsink; the only difference is that the main surface features Asus' own female mascot as well as the Asus logo and slogan on the fan. The Asus 8800GTS TOP promotes no particular game as this card comes with no games out of the box.

As a high performance graphics card, the NVIDIA 8800GTS G92 is a dual slot graphics card. The heatsink is a full length unit with direct air intake at the back (It's not a heat exhaust); where the heatsink is attached by almost a dozen spring loaded screws on top as we've came to be familiar with NVIDIA based boards. Two additional screws are used at the back to secure the heatsink to the second PCI bracket.

Other standard features: Dual-link DVI, TV out, and of course, the SLI bridge connector. Nothing more, nothing less, just everything we'll expect and need at this point!

At the other end of the card is the 6-pin PCIe power connector; facing forward and located near the opposite side of the motherboard PCIe connector that favors more of ease of connection than cabling. While we'd much prefer the connector to be in the middle of the end of the card, all NVIDIA boards are like this, so who are we to complain?.

I've always wondered what was with the bump in the middle of the heatsink to tilt the fan away from the rest of the heatsink unit rather than towards it to push heat exhaust out the back. Three plastic 'pillars' support the heatsink on this end; where the fan can bring most air out of this relatively unrestricted location. Apparently, according to my tests, the capacitors that the fan directly faces can get really hot due to insufficient airflow, where the capacitors can be seen in our photo above. Generally speaking, the fan actually draws air directly from outside into the case as we can see by the tilt angle of the fan. Without proper cooling in this area, it would cause a lot of problems when the video card is under load. So, when you buy an aftermarket cooler, make sure it cools this area sufficiently.

Taking off the heatsink reveals the relationship between the heatsink and the 8800GTS board itself. As previously mentioned, the heatsink covers almost the entire PCB and contacts eight memory chips for cooling in addition to the GPU core and VRMs. The heatsink extends to the back with direct heat exhaust outside your case; the heatsink fins are completely enclosed for controlled airflow guiding towards the back -- of course, with assistance of the onboard fan. White thermal pads are between the VRMs and RAM chips, while thermal paste is used on the GPU core.

Like the Asus 8800GT TOP, the Asus 8800GTS TOP also uses Qimonda HYB18H512321BF-10 memory chips; eight in total on the PCB for 512MB memory configuration. These GDDR3 RAM runs at stock 1GHz )(2GHz effective) at 2.0V.

Specifications as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

- Densities: 256 Mb - 512 Mb
- Organization: 8Mx32, 16Mx32
- Speed: up to 1 GHz clock speed
- Bandwidth: up to 9.6 Gbytes/s
- Package: Chip Size Package JEDEC FBGA-136
- Matched Impedance I/O

Our test platform showing the Asus EN8800GTS TOP 512MB loaded up for our benchmarking and other tests.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 @ 2.80GHz (400MHz*7 - 1600MHz FSB QDR)
CPU Cooling: Asus Arctic Square
Motherboard: Asus P5K-Deluxe/WiFi-AP
Chassis: Danger Den Torture Rack (1x Thermaltake 120mm LED Fan)
Power: Tagan TurboJet 1100W
Sound: Integrated ADI SoundMAX 1988B
Optical Drive: Liteon 16X DVD-ROM
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 7200RPM 80GB 8MB Cache
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP2

Compared graphics cards:
- ATI Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB
- NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB
- Asus EN8800GT TOP 512MB (NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 512MB @ 700/2000)
- Asus EN8800GTS TOP 512MB (NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS 512MB @ 740/2070)

All games were run at maximum possible settings; the only manipulated variables are AA and AF.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Specifications, Bundle
2. NVIDIA 8800GTS Architecture
3. A Closer Look, Test System
4. Benchmark: FEAR
5. Benchmark: Prey
6. Benchmark: Half Life 2: Lost Coast
7. Benchmark: CS:Source HDR
8. Benchmark: 3DMark06
9. Power Usage, Overclocking
10. Noise Factor and Conclusion