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EVGA's 8800 GTX ACS3 is super fast

First INQpression Fancy cooler helps beat reference design by 10+ Percent
Thu Feb 08 2007, 16:50
Product: EVGA 768MB e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3 626/2000MHz
Website: WWW.EVGA.DE
System Requirements: Minimum of a 450 Watt power supply. (Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 28 Amp Amps.) PCIe capable motherboard.
Price: €630, £470 (inc VAT), $610


WE HAD a chance to play with the original ACS3 cards before they got overclocked. Back then we concluded that EVGA's cooler is more efficient than Nvidia's reference design. You can read all about it here.

Back then, EVGA promised it would deliver overclocked cards and it recently fulfilled the promise. The reference Geforce 8800 GTX works at 575MHz/1600MHz and ends up to be rather hot. With the new cooler EVGA managed to push the clocks to 626MHz core and 2000MHz memory. You have to bear in mind that we are talking about GDDR 3 memory with a 384-bit memory interface and 2GHz is quite an achievement.

The card looks identical to the first ACS3 prototypes we received back in November but this time around it has a new BIOS that makes it work at faster speeds. It can also have better screened chips that can hit the higher frequencies.

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EVGA 768MB e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3

This card is king of the hill and will give you the best performance for your money but it won't end up cheap. You can always buy two and make an overkill machine that will render just about anything.

The card supports DirectX 10 and works with Nvidia's beta drivers under Vista. It will still be a while till we see a WHQL driver. We heard late February. But it works at least with a few games we tried.

We still don't believe in Vista that much. We reckon XP is the gamers system for the time being and we will probably stick with this for a while. We ran all the games on the good old XP and probably at some point we will try to benchmark under Vista as well.

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Two EVGA 768MB e-GeForce 8800 GTX KO ACS3 cards at 626MHz and 2000MHz memory

We compared the old 8800 GTX cards clocked at 575MHz and 1800MHz memory with the new ACS3 one. To remind you, the new ACS3 is clocked at 626MHz core and 2000MHz. The card was stable at all times but it was damned hot. You should not be worried as EVGA Europe offers ten years warranty while the EVGA USA offers lifetime warranty so they are sure that the cards will run at least for a few more years. The speed comes with a heat, that's the first rule of graphics.

Benchmarketing

We used:
Intel Core 2 Extreme E6800, 2x 2.93GHz, 266MHz FSB, 4MB Cache
Corsair Dominator TWIN2X1024-8500 at 5-5-5-15 at 1066 MHz
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa EVO AK 922 Blue Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
Silverstone DA750W modular PSU

Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
3DMark 03
Game2
Game3
Game4
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
32929
265.4
207.0
193.7
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
35548
290.7
225.5
211.2
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 03
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Vertex Shader
Pixel Shader 2.0
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
6857.5
17651.3
122.3
566.4
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
7455.4
19179.5
133.1
622.5
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
3DMark 05
Game1
Game2
Game3
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
16911
63.8
49.5
97.9
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
17356
63.6
49.7
105.9
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 05
Single Texturinng
Multi Textur.
Pixel Shader

VS/VS
complex

Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
6922.4
17570.3
564.2
139.8/108.9
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
7522.8
19079.3
614.7
152.0/118.3
? ? ? ? ?
Composite Figures 3Dmark 06
3DMark 06
? ?
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
10675
? ? ?
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
11391
? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
SM2.0 Test
Score
GT1
GT2


Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
4825
40.286
40.134
?
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
5267
44.006
43.772
?
? ? ? ? ?
HDR/SM3.0 Test
Score
HDR1
HDR2


Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
4910
45.283
52.908
?
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
5363
49.464
57.803
?
? ? ? ? ?
CPU Test
Score
CPU1
CPU2


Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
2518
0.805
1.260
?
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
2519
0.806
1.260
?
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
179
164
135
99
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
184
172
148
110
? ? ? ? ?
FEAR High Quality FSAA 4X + Aniso 16X
1024x768
1280x1024
1600x1200
2048x1536
Nvidia 8800GTX 575 /1800MHz reference
147
110
83
55
8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3
157
120
91
61

Before we go in the detailed numbers we have to warn you that we tested two of these cards together. A single card is very fast but two of them are overkill. We ran only a few tests with a single card but you can clearly see the advantage of the stock overclocking.

In 3Dmark03 8800GTX EVGA 626/2000MHz ACS3 runs 2500 marks faster. In built-in games it runs up to 25 FPS faster. This is a nice margin from not such a big overclock.

3Dmark05 runs some 400 points faster. Only the game 3 is significantly faster where the rest of the game performances are the same.

3Dmark06 runs some 700 points faster. We reached 11400 points which is the fastest score we ever seen from shipping non overclocked card. Shader mark 2.0 scores improve by 400 points and HDR and Shader model 3.0 score improves by almost 450 points. The CPU test remains the same.

We tested only a single game but this was enough to prove the point. At high resolutions the overclocked card can run up to 11 frames faster or roughly some 11 percent faster. In the worst case scenario you get 5 FPS improvement.

The same ratio remains with 4X FSAA game and 16X Aniso. Even at 20x15 you have more than 60 FPS and you can claim that it's playable at more than 60 FPS rate.

In Short
The new ACS3 cooler is far better than Nvidia one. It cools some 5 to 6 Celsius better than Nvidia's stock cooler and it lets a G80 chip reach 626MHz core and the memory to work at 2GHz. The card is absolutely the fastest we have seen so far and it costs as much as the Geforce 8800 GTX at reference speed. It is expensive but it is as fast as it can be today. It sucks that you don't have the WHQL driver for Vista but beta drivers are still available.

If you have the money and want absolutely the fastest Geforce 8800 GTX overclocked card, this is the card to have. Full stop. ?

The Good
The fastest card we ever tested
Supports DirectX 10
Super fast in all games and benchmarks

The Bad
Expensive
You can not swap it with your old EVGA 8800 GTX
A pair of 8800 GTX ACS3s kicks its butt

The Ugly
Nvidia still doesn't have WHQL driver

Bartender's Report
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