XFX 8800 Ultra XXX Video Card Review

Posted: May 17 2007, 12:00am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 10 2010, 9:09am CDT, in Reviews | Computer Hardware

 
XFX 8800 Ultra XXX Video Card Review
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Benchmarks

Features & Specifications
NVIDIA is catching a lot of heat for the 8800 Ultra since it doesn’t bring any new features to the table that you don’t already have if you own an 8800 GTX. Really the only difference between the 8800 GTX and the 8800 Ultra are the clock speeds. XFX clocks their XFX 8800 Ultra XXX with a core speed of 675MHz, a shader clock of 1500MHz, and a memory clock of 2.3 GHz. To compare, the stock 8800 Ultra from XFX has a core speed of 612MHz and a memory clock of 2.16GHz and the 8800 GTX from XFX carries a core clock of 575MHz and a memory clock of 1.8GHz. All other features between the 8800 Ultra and the 8800 GTX are the same. Check out the full specifications list on the specifications page of this review.

Test Machine
I am using the same test machine for the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX review that I have been using for the other new 8000 series cards, with the exception of a display upgrade. The machine specifications are as follows:

  • CPU- Intel QX6700
  • OS- Windows XP Pro SP2
  • RAM- 2GB PNY XLR8 PC2-8500
  • Mainboard- XFX 680i
  • Display- Dell 30” 3007WFP-HC LCD

3DMark06
For the benchmarks I will be using 3DMark06, FEAR, Quake 4, and Battlefield 2142. The first test up is 3DMark06 which I ran at default settings in the application and default settings in the NVIDIA control panel. The results were as follows:

  • Total 3DMarks- 13253
  • SM2.0- 5464
  • HDR/SM3.0- 5656
  • CPU- 4196
  • Return to Proxycon- 45.211
  • Firefly Forest- 45.848
  • Canyon Flight- 55.608
  • Deep Freeze- 57.516
  • CPU1- 1.388
  • CPU2- 2.029

To compare some 3DMark06 numbers the XFX 8800 GTX XXX that I tested scored 11138 (on a test machine using an X6800 CPU), the stock XFX 8800 GTX scored 10355 (again on a test machine using an X6800 CPU).

Battlefield 2142
The next test up for the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX was with Battlefield 2142. BF2142 doesn’t have an internal test loop so I used Fraps to record frame rate data while I played a single player level called “Fall of Berlin”. Since this is a high end video card, I put the graphics settings in BF2142 as high as I could set them. I ran the game at a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536, a weird resolution but as close as I could get the 30” Dell displays native 2560 x 1600 resolution. All other settings in the game were on high and I used 4x AA, I wanted to use 8x AA but fore some reason I am unable to choose that option in the game. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 63
  • Avg- 73.488
  • Max- 116

FEAR
After BF2142 came testing with FEAR, which is still one of the most graphically demanding titles around and easily brings video cards to their knees. I ran the test twice for FEAR using the in game test loop. Both times I ran all video and computer settings on high with 16x AF and 4x AA with soft shadows on. The first run was at a screen resolution of 2560 x 1600, the results were as follows:

  • Min- 29 fps
  • Avg- 73.488 fps
  • Max- 116 fps

The percentages for the first run at 2560 x 1600 showed that even at this high resolution setting the frame rate never dipped below 25 fps, 35% of the time frame rates were 25 – 40 fps, and 65% of the time frame rates were greater than 40 fps.

Quake 4
The final test for the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX was with Quake 4 which I ran at the max available screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 with 4x AA, multi core CPU on and settings on Ultra. I used Fraps to capture frame rate data on a new game stating from the insertion point and moving through the level to the point where you are asked to return for the medic. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data:

  • Min- 34 fps
  • Avg- 62.536 fps
  • Max- 66 fps

Final Thoughts
I mentioned at the start of this review that NVIDIA was catching lots of flack from users and reviewers on the 8800 Ultra graphics cards, mostly centered around its pricing. Lots of people are comparing it to the performance of overclocked 8800 GTX cards too, which sometimes out perform the stock clocked 8800 Ultra. I can’t really speak to that since I don’t have a stock clocked 8800 Ultra to test. What I can say is that people didn’t complain so much when the overclocked 8800 GTS 320MB cards outperformed the stock 8800 GTS cards. Personally I think that the irritation people feel is the pricing, with a stock 8800 Ultra going for $829 and the XXX here going for more than that price. I seem to recall the same complaints being made about most of the newest, fastest cards on the market. If you want the fastest and best card around, you are going to pay for it.

Verdict

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Bundled with GRAW

Cons

  • Way expensive

Verdict
I found the performance of the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX to be quite good, whether or not the performance is worth the price of admission is an individual question. As for the performance of the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX, there is no doubt that it is the best performing card around no matter what you think of the price. If you want the most performance you can get, the XFX 8800 Ultra XXX is the card you want. Look at it this way; you don’t go to a Ferrari dealership looking for the fastest car on the road and gripe about price. If it’s too expensive for you to justify buying, shop elsewhere.

8.5
10
 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
Tech and Car expert Shane McGlaun (Google) reports about what's new in these two sectors. His extensive experience in testing cars, computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
Shane can be contacted directly at shane@i4u.com.

 

 

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