Sparkle 8800GTS 512MB Review: G92 Madness Continues

Videocards/VGA Reviews by geoffrey @ 2008-01-28

The G92 based Geforce 8800GT was a very exciting product, unfortunately NVIDIA was short of supply and lower priced ATI HD3850 & HD3870 gained a lot of popularity this way. The higher-end market still remained untouched; to fill up this gap NVIDIA came up with a second wave of 8800GTS video cards. With the GT in mind, could we be dealing with yet another great NVIDIA product? We find out.

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Sparkle 8800GTS 512MB: inside the box & specs

Inside the box

In stores, try looking for the following box:

Madshrimps (c)

Looking familiar to me, last year Sparkle 8800 series all came with the same kind of box design. Inside you'll find the usual survival tools:

Madshrimps (c)

  • Sparkle 8800GTS 512MB
  • DVI -> VGA connector
  • S-Video cable
  • HDTV cable
  • 6-pin PCIe to molex power cable converter
  • Driver CD and manual


    Madshrimps (c)

  • NVIDIA 65nm G92-A2 core
    - core clock: 648MHz
    - shader clock: 1620MHz
  • Qimonda 512Mb (8x64Mb) GDDR3 with 256 bit interface, 1,0ns
    - Memory clock: 1944MHz
  • active fan and heatpipe cooled, dual slot solution
  • 2x Dual Link DVI
  • native HDMI support
  • Integrated HDTV decoder
  • TV-out
  • 2-way SLI ready
  • PCI-Express 2.0 16x
  • Dimensions: 23cm x 11cm

    First impressions

    Madshrimps (c)

    The PCB size and heatsink design does make this card look like past 8800 series, although that you can spot small changes here and there. A dual slot heatsink is used to active cool hot spots like GPU and memory chips, the heatsink cover makes sure that all the heated air travels out of the case instead of warming other PC components like CPU and northbridge. Just like previous high-end GeForce 8 videocard, every card is based on the NVIDIA reference design, and they all come with the same active cooled heatsink, the only difference you may spot is the label on top of the heatsink. Sparkle gave their card a dark tint with a glossy, slightly reflective surface. The overall looks are OK as far as I can judge such thing, in the end this card will end up looking down in most ATX cases so I don't think that design will play an important factor when it comes down to buying a new GTS.

    Madshrimps (c)

    As you can see, the fan has been tilted a bit. Although that this position will force air to the travel more directly over the center heatsink base surface, the main reason behind this may be the large size of the 12V filtering/stabilisation capacitors. Either way, I think that in real life this will make negligible changes to the cooling performance, there are much better ways to improve cooling performance.

    Madshrimps (c)

    On the back side we can find the many screws (15!) that hold the heavy dual slot heatsink. On the left side you'll notice the Primarion PX3544 Pulse Width Modulation Voltage regulator. You'll also get a clear view at the PCI-Express 2.0 interface and the single SLI connector which allows using two 8800GTS 512MB in SLI. Those using up-to-date chipsets will have the benefits that PCI-E 2.0 offers: double peer-to-peer bandwidth. The PCI-Express 2.0 interface is backwards compatible with previous generation PCI-E specifications, and neither did the slot size change so you'll not have any issue's using this card on older mainboards, you will only have 2,5Gb/s bandwidth instead of the 5Gb/s PCI-E 2.0 offers.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The front-end holds place for two DVI-I connectors and one 7-pins (HD)TV-out connector. Dual link DVI is supported which means you can use resolutions up to 2560x1600 per DVI connector. HDMI is also supported, although that you won't find any HDMI ports on the GeForce 8 video cards, and in most cases you will neither be equipped with a DVI-to-HDMI converter. Besides this, the GeForce 8800GTS also supports HDCP protected media, while the analogue TV-out connector is HDTV, S-video, Component and Composite compatible up to 1080i resolutions (1920x1080).
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    Comment from Massman @ 2008/01/29
    Excellent review, Geoffrey
    Comment from Subwoofer @ 2008/01/30