eVGA GeForce 8800 Ultra

Overall Score
The Card Itself

By now the specifications of this card should be familiar to many, as it is closely related to the popular 8800GTX card. The Ultra shares the nVidia G80 GPU, containing 681 million transistors fabricated on a 90 nm process, with its lesser cousins the 8800GTS and the 8800GTX. Unlike the GTS versions with their cut-down G80s, both the Ultra and the GTX feature 128 shader units and 384-bit access to their 768 MB of GDDR3 memory. The Ultra’s primary differences from the GTX model include the use of a newer stepping of the G80 core codenamed G80U and higher clock rates for the GPU core, the shader units, and the memory. The Ultra ships with default settings of 612 MHz core clock, 1512 MHz shader clock, and 2160 MHz effective memory clock. Like all GeForce 8800 series cards, the 8800Ultra supports Microsoft’s newest DirectX 10 API as well as previous version such as the popular DX9.

Now let’s take a closer look at the card itself. For the benefit of our friendly readers all around the world, I dug up a ruler with both inches and millimeters marked on it so all can see just how large this card truly is. It’s approximately the same size as an 8800GTX barring the bulge for the cooling impeller, but looks larger with the full shroud. Here we can see the PCI express x16 connector as well as the powerful cooling fan. eVGA sticks closely to the nVidia reference design with the nV logo stylized into the heatsink shrouds rather than applying any of their own artwork. I never saw a need for fancy artwork on this part of the card, it won’t even be visible once the card is installed in the case.

From this side of the card, we can see the pair of six-pin PCI express power connectors that feed this card with 12V power to keep it running. eVGA has chosen to emblazon their name on the side of the card, which will be visible through the case windows for those who have that style of case. This is actually rather clever on their part as even users running two of these cards in SLI will still have this portion of their cards visible at LAN parties.

Flipping the card over, we can see the SLI connectors on one side of the board. It’s not that I don’t trust you guys, but I’ll keep my serial number to myself for potential step-up or RMA anyway.

Ever since I first saw a picture of an Ultra, I’ve been wondering what was the point of the extra plastic shroud on them compared to the "common" GTX models, and now I know. Looking inside the extra part of the shroud, we can see that its point is… style. The power supply portion of the card looks essentially the same as on a GTX model, and there is a plastic barrier between the impeller and this section of the card so the airflow will be minimal through here.

All right, enough of that. It’s time to install this beast in the PC and see what it can do! This will also serve as an opportunity for me to give my CPU heatsink its biweekly cleaning with compressed air.

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