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Power Consumption

New Nvidia GeForce 8800GT Surprises
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Strengthened by the 65 nm process, the GeForce 8800GT displays interesting power consumption levels; it's slightly lower compared to an 8800GTS 320 MB (we win 18 W when idle and 13 W under Age of Empires III, after subtracting the PSU's losses). We're still much higher than the GeForce 8600 GTS and, therefore, higher than the consumption we may have hoped for a mid-range card, if manufacturers didn't have the wicked pleasure of increasing consumption on their cards entire range with each new generation, but the performance/watt ratio is still increasing, which is a positive thing, especially considering the number of transistors in question. When considering those results, the 105W value given by Nvidia for the total consumption of its card, seems to be credible.

Noise Level

Using a sonometer placed 7 cm (2.7") away from each card's fan, we measured the noise after disconnecting the CPU's fan (only the PSU's discreet fan was on).

Of all the cards tested, the MSI version of the GeForce 8600 GTS is the noisiest with its double slot cooling system (that doesn't slow down in 2D), followed by the HD 2900 XT whose blowing noise is really dreadful in 3D. After that, we enter discreet grounds, and the GeForce 8800GT still walks a flawless path by still being as discreet as, if not more so than, the other GeForce 8800. Its fan is only noisy for two seconds when the PC is turned on, but noise never increased during games.

Overclocking

There's small disappointment on this level given the expectations that traditionally come with a smaller process. Our GeForce 8800GT still saw its GPU clock go from 600 to 680 MHz, a 13% increase, the stream processors following a similar pattern. Memory wise, we went from 900 to 1050 MHz (+17%). In the end, the improvement with Age of Empires III in 1920 x 1440 reaches 11%. It's nothing exceptional really, but we must keep in mind that the G92's clock is extremely high originally and at 680 MHz, we obtain a computational power superior to that of the 8800GTX!

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