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When spending nearly £300 on a graphics card, I would expect a decent bundle and BFG delivers. We have the classic XL T-Shirt, perfect for the over-fed, under-exercised geeks that walk amongst us. We also see a selection of stickers, which are tastefully done with a small BFG logo on the left hand side. My favourite is the “OMGWTFBFGSAUCE”.
We also find two DVI to D-SUB adapters for those still using analogue displays, a Molex to 6-pin PCI Express adapter and a component break-out box. Uniquely, BFG has also included Teflon patches for resurrecting sticking mice. Let's not forget the 24/7 technical support and the lifetime warranty, which come as standard with BFG products.
So with a much more attainable price point, how does this card stack up? To find out, we used our standard selection of benchmarks in our reference Intel 975XBX “Bad Axe” motherboard, with an Intel X6800 Core 2 Duo. Coupled with 2GBs of Corsair CMX1024-6400C4 running at 800MHz with latency settings of 4-4-4-12.
The ATI Radeon X1950 XT-X and GeForce 7950 GX2 benchmarks were taken straight from my X1950 XT-X review, in which I used WHQL 6.8 Catalyst and WHQL 91.31 drivers. For the 8800 GTX, I used the 96.94 drivers and the 8800 GTS was tested using the slightly newer 97.02 drivers. The Counter-Strike portion of the testing has changed recently, so only the two 8800 cards are comparable in this benchmark.
I ran Call of Duty 2, Counter Strike: Source, Quake 4, Battlefield 2, Prey and 3DMark06. Bar 3DMark06, these all run using our in-house pre-recorded timedemos in the most intense sections of each game I could find. Each setting is run three times and the average is taken, for reproducible and accurate results. I ran each game test at 1,280 x 1,024, 1,600 x 1,200, 1,920 x 1,200 and 2,048 x 1,536 each at 0x FSAA with trilinear filtering, 2x FSAA with 4x AF and 4x FSAA with 8x AF.
On average, the 8800 GTS is 84 per cent of the speed of an 8800 GTX, which is actually faster than I was expecting. In DirectX 10 games, I expect the performance difference to be greater, but we'll only know this when we actually test it. Either way, For £150, the GTX's 15 per cent extra performance over the GTS doesn't exactly ooze value for money – but what high-end card does?
Surprisingly, in many situations, the 7950 GX2 is faster – notably Call of Duty 2. So it would seem that if you are purely after DirectX 9 performance, this might not be the best card to buy. However, what swings it for the 8xxx series over the 7xxxx GeForce cards is it supports full precision HDR and FSAA simultaneously, which will make a difference in games such as Oblivion.
The 7950 GX2 may be a close performer when it comes to DirectX 9 applications, but it doesn't support full precision HDR and FSAA simultaneously. The 8800 GTS does. It also has DirectX 10 support for next years games. If you're buying high-end right now, the 8800 GTS is definitely the card to have. The 8800 GTS is definitely the card to have. £299.61 for a card of this calibre is good value, and one should be high on your Christmas wish list.
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