The new GTS: 8800 GTS 512

Let me start with a note: I'm not the original source for this information. I'm distilling infromation from a review site I trust into a (hopefully*) shorter form, targeted at, um, you if you're reading this, especially if you wouldn't normally wade through a full review.

* Not always the case. Ask any Icar player about my recaps of last session.

The slightly higher end version of the recently released 8800GT has just been released. It goes by the name of 8800GTS 512. To spot it from amoungst the prior version, look for an amount of memory divisible by 256, rather than 384 for the older model.

Why? well the old model had a 320 bit (not as odd as it looks, 256+64) memory bus. The new one has a 256 bit bus.

OK, this is less. However, the old GTS ran its memory at 1.6GHz, giving a memory bandwidth of 512 gigabits per second. The new one runs its at 496.64 gigabits per second, 97% as fast. However, it does run at 625Mhz core and 1.625Ghz shaders, compared to 500Mhz and 1.2Ghz respectively for the old GTS, which more than makes up for the difference. It also has 128 shaders compared to the 96 of the old model. In summary: better.

Its manufactured on the 65nm process and has no less than 754 million transistors.

Exactly the same as the GT. This is not a coincidence, they are exactly the same chip. The GT is clocked slower, is generally assembled with slower memory (though not by much, 1.8 vs 1.94 GHz) and has 12 shaders disabled.

As with earlier cards like with processing units disabled, like the 9800SE, the disabled units may be faulty or may work perfectly. I wouln't be surprised if it was possible to enable them by software tweaks or a bios flash.

I would be somewhat surprised if it was worth the bother to do so however. The 9800 has 8 rendering pipes. The SE had half of these disabled, but if they worked that was a free 100% more pipes.

The GT has 112 stream processors to the GTS's 128. Only 16 in it. If they worked the GT would gain 14% more. Not as impressive for a potentially warrenty voiding manoever.

Anyway. The GTS is clocked faster than the GT and has a smidgen more in the stream processor department.

So how does it compare to the old stuff? Lets see how it does against the flagship:

The 8800 Ultra, showpiece card made of purest unobtainium-unaffordium alloy. Compared to the new GTS, its around the same. A little faster with AA or higher res, a little slower on occasion. The Ultra runs off when you use a lot of memory bandwith, which AA on high resolutions does.

OK, cool. If its roughly on par with the ultra (ish) that makes it perhaps a little better than the GTX and a lump (SI unit of viscous performance) faster than the old GTS. But what about it's poor sibling, the GT?

Its pretty much 10% faster across the board.

Nice. So its faster than the GTS. Its also more expensive. How much? Well, at time of posting the cheapest 512Mb card OCUK sell is £223.24. Compare that to the cheapest GT 512Mb at £182.11. about 10% more performance at 20% more price. Using Dan's rule of thumb You might be able to tell the difference. I'd notice not having another £40 to spend elsehere though...

If you know that the GT will not quite manage to get a smooth framerate on a game you want to play, that might be worth the difference. If not, I'd go with a GT or two.


Nvidia confuse me. One minute, they're striving forward admirably, showing ATi (or is it AMD now?) how it's done and never really moving backwards. The next minute, they seem to have some sort of brainfart and produce a card like this. The GT is the much better option and not too ridiculous for a Series 8 card.

brainwipe's picture

Indeed. Either they accidentally made the GT too good for its slot in the range, or they decided to replace the whole 88* series with slightly better versions...

Odd behaviour either way.

Come to think of it, there is one rationale for replacing the larger production cards with this new chip - as its made on a smaller process, the die will be smaller. Smaller die = more dice per wafer = lower cost of production. So even if they slot in at the same price point as the old ones they make more profit...

byrn's picture

You mean Slightly Modified?

brainwipe's picture

Indeed. Stock is a rarity :P

(edit: must stop this habit of starting every post with "Indeed." or "Hm")

byrn's picture