The new games standard is DirectX 10.0, but the graphics boards supporting it have been very expensive. Now a new wave of lower-memory nVidia boards is arriving. We tested one such model that delivers great performance.
At around £200, BFG Technologies' PCI Express board, the GeForce 8800 GTS OC, is on the pricey side (similar cards can cost £150), but it ships overclocked and carries a lifetime warranty.
The current performance champs may be nVidia GeForce 8800 GTX-based, DirectX 10.0-ready graphics boards with 768MB of memory, but they'll set you back at least £300. Even the slightly cheaper GeForce 8800 GTS-based models, equipped with 640MB of memory, start at around £250. So it's welcome news that card makers have introduced a lower-cost GeForce 8800 GTS alternative that carries only 320MB of RAM. The card's core clock speed has been boosted from 500 MHz to 550 MHz, while its Shader Clock runs at 1.3GHz, versus the standard 1.2GHz.
In our Battlefield 2 and Half Life 2 tests at 1,600x1,200 resolution with antialising turned on, the GTS OC held its own against most other £200 and higher boards, delivering framerates of 75fps (frames per second) and 116fps, respectively; on the same tests, the top performer, XFX's GeForce 8800 GTX, posted 79fps and 124fps, and the top-of-the-line ATI Radeon X1950 XTX checked in at 77fps and 101fps. In our Quake 4 and Doom 3 tests performed at the same settings, the GTS OC outpaced the X1950 XTX, though it couldn't match the faster clock speed and memory of the 8800 GTX. The GTS OC includes two fully HDCP-compliant Dual-Link DVI connections (maximum 2,048x1,536 resolution) and adaptors for component (1080i) and S-Video (480i) TV output.