So, once you’ve thrown the box away, what are you left with inside? Well, obviously there’s the card, which is well protected by a bubblewrap sleeve and foam insert, then there’s a trio of CDs, a multi language quick start guide, a DVI-to-VGA converter, an analogue video-out dongle, and finally a Molex-to-PCIe power connector. This is a fairly standard bundle for an 8800 GT but it’s worth noting that ATI is now bundling DVI-to-HDMI converters with its more expensive cards, which would be useful for anyone wanting to connect their computer to an HDTV.
One of the CDs contains the game Neverwinter Nights 2 which, although well received by Stuart, is over a year old now so I wouldn’t consider this to be adding much to the overall bundle. A number of other companies are offering much more recent games with their cards – for instance, Asus is including Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts – so if getting a free game is high on your list of reasons to choose a particular card, then you may want to look elsewhere. On the other two discs you get the drivers for the card and a copy of PowerDVD and Orb media streaming software.
The card itself is identical to the nVidia reference one except for the addition of a rather funky sticker that covers the heatsink. Considering the nVidia reference design looked so good Leadtek has done a reasonable job of distinguishing itself without totally destroying the aesthetics of the card, as they have done with the box design.
As the mechanics of the card have remained unchanged from the one we looked at a couple of weeks ago, it comes as no surprise the PX8800GT maintains its single slot design and the cooler is still whisper quiet. An SLI connector can be found in its usual position along the top edge and, because of the cool, slim, and quiet nature of the card, making use of said connector may finally be a realistic and worthwhile proposition. Only one six-pin PCIe power connector is required to get the card going at full pelt and the connector is conveniently situated on the back edge of the card where it’s least likely to cause problems when fitting the card into a case.
Overall this package is fine, and considering the very competitive price, its shortcomings are more than made up for by the shear value for money the card provides. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how the PX8800GT Extreme performs.
In the initial review of the 8800 GT we introduced Team Fortress 2 into our suite of test games and dropped Counter-Strike: Source. However, after an update to the Steam service our TF2 timedemo doesn’t work anymore so we’ve had to revert back to CS:S for the time being. However, we have introduced Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and the full version of Crysis and soon we will be adding Unreal Tournament III and Call of Duty 4 into the mix as well.
Each game is run using custom automated timedemos that take part in some of the most intense sections of each game. Each one is run three times to ensure we have a consistent result and the three are averaged to give us an exact figure. We then vary resolution, antialiasing, and filtering to show how the cards cope at a variety of settings.
As can clearly be seen, the overclocking performed on the PX8800GT Extreme has given it a nice speed bump and, apart from Counter-Strike: Source where the CPU is holding both graphics cards back, the benefits are quite tangible. Considering the small increase in price over standard clocked cards, this makes the Leadtek PX8800GT Extreme a worthwhile investment. So, as I said earlier, it does just come down to whether you feel that extra bit of performance is needed, because in terms of value for money the PX8800GT Extreme is equal to its standard clocked equivalent.
Overclocking our favourite graphics card was always going to result in an even more desirable product and indeed that’s what we have with the Leadtek PX8800GT Extreme. However, what really seals the deal is that the performance boost doesn’t demand a huge price premium, making this card a true bargain.