The Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP is a cut-down graphics card, designed to undercut the 3870 XT – and, perhaps, to even start to rival the budget-priced 3850 Pro.

Following hot on the heels of the 8800 GTS 512 and the 8800 GT (themselves following the earlier 8800 GTS as well as the 8800 GTX and the 8800 Ultra) comes the new 8800 GS graphics card. And, like its recent cousins, this one is another cracker.

It seems that the number 8800 must be rather lucky for nVidia. At least that would explain the raft of variants we've now seen on the 8800 name.

Once again based around the G92 core that lies at the heart of the 8800 GT and the GTS 512 (although not, remember, the lower end GTS), the Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP is a cut-down graphics card, designed to undercut the 3870 XT – and, perhaps, to even start to rival the budget-priced 3850 Pro.

The Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP's 384MB of GDDR3 jumps off the page – the GT and GTS 512 both have an extra 128MB – but there are definitely other differences as well. The number of stream processors has fallen marginally from 112 (in the case of the GT) to 96 – although this number is still sufficiently high for the GS to be able to handle many of today's intense graphics scenes with some aplomb.

Inevitably, core and memory clock speeds have fallen, although only in relation to the GTS 512 – the Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP's figures of 600 and 900MHz are actually very much identical to those of the 8800 GT. Perhaps more significantly though, the memory interface has been sliced from 256 to 192bit, and this explains why the GS lacks the performance of the GT.

Not that this card is lacking on speed, but it does give away 10-15fps to the GT in a number of the tests. But then, with over £50 separating these cards, the GT isn't really the big opposition for the GS. And it is quite well placed to challenge the 3870 XT, especially given that buying the GS will save you between £25 and £30.

Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP: Specs

  • Graphics Processor nVidia GeForce 8800 GS
  • Installed RAM 384MB GDDR3
  • Core Clock 600MHz
  • Memory Clock 900MHz (1.8GHz DDR effective)
  • Manufacturing process 65nm
  • Stream Processors 96
  • Memory Interface 192bit
  • Interface PCI Express
  • DirectX 10.0 support
  • DVI yes
  • video in/out no/yes
  • Graphics Processor nVidia GeForce 8800 GS
  • Installed RAM 384MB GDDR3
  • Core Clock 600MHz
  • Memory Clock 900MHz (1.8GHz DDR effective)
  • Manufacturing process 65nm
  • Stream Processors 96
  • Memory Interface 192bit
  • Interface PCI Express
  • DirectX 10.0 support
  • DVI yes
  • video in/out no/yes

OUR VERDICT

This is another tip-top card from nVidia. It obviously lacks the firepower (particularly the memory and the memory interface itself) to handle the 8800 GT, but it's a pretty decent match for the 3870 XT. And, given the difference in price, that makes the Asus GeForce EN8800GS TOP another sensational purchase should you be looking for a graphics card at this kind of price level.

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