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Digital-Daily : Video : msi_8800gt

Introducing MSI 8800GT

Introducing MSI 8800GT
Date: 14.12.2007

Author: Anton Rachko

Recently, we had an idea of GeForce 8800GT represented as a pre-sales specimen from Gigabyte. Despite its reference design, the video card offered increased frequencies of both the graphic processor and the memory, which is owing to the new, finer 65-nm process technology and moderate heat emission from the board's components. This time, we've got the chance to get an idea of a batch-produced product by MSI GeForce 8800GT which will not only be examined down to every single item and tested in several benchmarks, but compared versus the same card by Gigabyte.

Box for MSI 8800GT

The novelty product is shipped in a double box which is traditional for high-end video cards by MSI. The front side displays the key features of the video card.

Box for MSI 8800GT

The reverse side of the box presents data on the video card's specifications and the minimum system requirements. The manufacturer mentions support for PCI-Express 2.0 and guarantees the backward compatibility to the first version of PCI-Express x16, which is actually typical of all 8800GT video cards. According to the labels, the PSU should output at least 26 A over the 12 V bus (~ 300 W to this line alone) to make the novelty product function, however, in view of the previous experience of using video cards, we thing this figure is somehow overstated.

Inside.jpg

The package bundle is not rich, which is evidently due to the relatively low price. Anyway, there are all the needed items, namely:

  • DVI-I -> D-Sub adapter;
  • S-Video connection cable;
  • an adapter for the power supply of the video card;
  • a splitter for TV-out;
  • user instructions and CD with drivers.

Despite the single-slot design and therefore relatively modest size, the novelty is weighty enough and produced a formidable impression. The secret is in the metal lid of the cooling system, but we'll talk about that later.

Like all the GeForce 8800 family, the product does not have memory chips on the reverse side. The differences from the formerly tested video card end with the sticker which deserves a special mention.

The "OC" abbreviation at the end of the label most likely suggests that the video card is pre-overclocked.

On removing the cooler, we can see a board of the reference design with the G92 graphic processor of revision A2 and eight memory chips made by Qimonda having 1 ns access time, which make up 512 MB of video memory altogether. The NVIO chip is missing, with the GPU performing its functions. That has made the PCB design simpler and positively affected the price.

The radiator contacts the cooled items through white fibrous washers saturated with thermal paste. Heat from the GPU is transferred to the copper insert in the aluminum radiator with the thickly applied heat-conductive grey mass. It is easy to see that the area of the copper insert is much larger than the area of the GPU chip. Such a difference is most likely caused by the need for contact with three heat pipes on the reverse side of the radiator.

The processing quality of the radiator base is up to the mark.

The metal lid of the cooler is not only fastened to the flares but is glued with a sticky stripe. For this reason, dismantling of the structure is laborious enough and never comes tracklessly. The operating principle of the cooling system is simple enough and is about the distribution of heat acquired from the copper insert, over the fins using three copper heat pipes. The fins in its turn are blown with a mid-size radiator which stays quiet during the operation of the video card. The warmed up air from the cooling system is blown into the housing, but this shortcoming results from the single-slot design of the video card.

Content:

  • Page 1 - Exterior. Features
  • Page 2 - Benchmarking. Final words




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