G92 Gets an Upgrade

NVIDIA is following up the wildly popular 8800 GT with a revised 8800 GTS model that has 512MB of memory, 128 stream processors and core and SP speeds higher than an 8800 GTX or Ultra. Don’t know what that means? It’s fast!
The Full G92 Shows Face

The graphics world has been going through a turbulent couple of months recently, what with the release of AMD’s RV670 GPU and NVIDIA’s initial G92 product, the 8800 GT.  Gamers have been reveling in the low-cost and high-performing parts, when you could actually find them, and NVIDIA is set to add another part into the mix today with the new and improved 8800 GTS.

If you think that name seems familiar, it should.  The original 8800 GTS came in both 640MB and 320MB flavors and was released in December of last year, based on the G80 architecture.  THAT 8800 GTS used a 320-bit memory interface, 96 stream processors and only a single PCIe power connector.  When the new 8800 GT was released it caused some performance conflicts as it was surpassing the performance of the more expensive GTS GPU in some instances.  It was no surprise then that we saw stock of the G80-based cards dwindle over the past 3 months until they are basically at zero.  All of course, in anticipation of today.

The new G92-based 8800 GTS card takes the 8800 GT architecture that we detailed just last month and tweaks it a bit more to improve the overall performance.  Here’s a quick table outline of the features that matter to us:
G92 Take Two - BFG GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB Review - Graphics Cards 77

What should stand out to you in the new 8800 GTS is that it matches the number of stream processors that the 8800 GTX and Ultra cards utilize and in fact runs them FASTER.  The SPs on the new GTS run at 1625 MHz while the GTX’s run at 1350 MHz and the Ultra’s at 1500 MHz.  That sets up the potential for the 8800 GTS 512MB cards to run FASTER than those flagship SKUs especially when you then see that the core clock speed of the GTS is faster than both as well.  The reference core clock on the new 8800 GTS 512MB cards is 650 MHz while the reference memory clock is 970 MHz on GDDR3 chips.

The main draw back to the G92 GTS is the move down from a 384-bit memory interface to a 256-bit interface that leads to a memory bandwidth drop that in conjunction with fewer ROPs leads to a lower fill rate than the GTX and Ultra 8800 cards. 

G92 Take Two - BFG GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB Review - Graphics Cards 78
The G92 core – not quite as big as G80

There are some other interesting points about the G92 architecture that we covered last month; so rather than just repeat it, we’ll point you there to read it if you haven’t already.  The top features on the G92 include the addition of the VP2 video processor, something that wasn’t included in the 8800 series before the 8800 GT but was in the 8600 cards.  The 8800 GTS 512MB is also a PCI Express 2.0 compliant card as you would expect since the 8800 GT was as well. 

Another critical point to the cards success is the price: NVIDIA is claiming we’ll find these cards for sale today starting at $299; but we have trouble finding the 8800 GT cards for that price, so my initial reaction was the chuckle at that line of the press deck.  We’ll touch more on the pricing issue in our conclusions you can be sure.

The specs would appear to make the new 8800 GTS 512MB cards a great offering for gamers looking to play the latest and greatest titles.  Let’s see how BFG Tech is packaging up their first model.

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