eVGA 8800GT Video Card -- The Way Games Are Supposed To Be Played

The title of this post is a blatant rip off of nVidia's current tagline; I felt it rings more true than ever with nVidia's newest offering: Their 8800GT is out of this world when it comes to price/performance in video cards. The story behind how I got mine is more interesting than it should be though. I was fortunate enough to purchase one from MWave the day after they were released (most eTailers sold out within hours), and had it overnighted to me for the very reasonable price of about $280.00 for a card that performs better than most cards costing twice as much.

To make a long story short, the first card I received was DOA. No video signal, and Device Manager would not recognize the card. The real fun came after I pulled the card out of my machine though: I got about half a dozen blue screens in rapid succession, and was finally able to coax Vista into safe mode to start digging around and yanking out drivers. That was fruitless though; attempting to remove any type of drivers triggered blue screens as well, so I ended up having to reinstall Vista. I hate to blame this on the card itself, but all fingers seemed to be pointing that way. I've read of no other horror stories like mine on the web, so no doubt I am more the exception than the norm.

Regardless, eVGA RMA'd the card for me, and about a week later I received the replacement part. I plopped it in my machine, fired it up, and all was well. To say the card is amazing would be an understatement. I'm getting 12,500 marks in 3DMark 06, and that will increase to about 16,000 once I go SLI. DirectX 10 on Vista has to be seen to be believed: Bioshock is like a whole new game now to the point that I started over from the beginning just to see what the newly textured worlds would look like. All of the games in the Steam portfolio now offer 16xQ CSAA as an option on the advanced video setup screen. Again, the difference that setting makes is unreal, and even with all settings maxed out in every game I own, the card has experienced nary a stutter. The only game I've had issues with is the Crysis demo, which refuses to start for some reason, but I suspect that's related to running Vista x64 more than anything else. I have confidence the final release will be fine.

As stated before, most eTailers are sold out of this card until the end of this week. If you've got the spare cash and need an upgrade, I would highly recommend ordering one of these cards: It's like having an entirely new machine for a fraction of the price. Don't get suckered into buying one of the factory overclocked versions. I've maxed out the clock settings on mine via nTune and haven't had any issues.

This card should be causing ATI execs fits right now as they won't have an answering product for almost 2 months. I personally will not be going back to ATI any time soon. Fantastic job nVidia, you've gotten one of your original customers back with the release of this card.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007 12:10 PM