Card appearance and thoughts
ZOTAC has now released three distinct GeForce 8800 GT cards, including an HDMI-equipped model, and two ship pre-overclocked. HEXUS received the higher-specified AMP! Edition for evaluation, so let's take a look:
Clocking in at 700MHz core, 1,674MHz shader and 2,000MHz for the memory - up from the default 600/1,500/1,800 - the AMP! Edition retains the single-slot cooler found on the reference model. The 'standard' part will ship with 660/1,600/1,800 frequencies, we note.
For what it's worth, the fan is illuminated with a funky orange colour; kind of matching the heatsink's cover. Perhaps ZOTAC should tie-up with the makers of Beowulf?
The single-slot cooler is the signature hallmark of the GeForce 8800 GT 512MiB SKU, though.
The GPU also features NVIDIA's PureVideo HD - helping to hardware-accelerate decoding of Blu-ray and HD DVD titles encoded with efficient, but computationally-expensive, codecs. The decode process is offloaded from the CPU to the GPU, reducing CPU utilisation from near-100 per cent on a dual-core processor to around 25 per cent.
You'll know that the new SKU's conduit is based on PCIe 2.0, providing 8GB/s in each direction via a x16 connector, but we don't see it providing any meaningful performance benefit over present PCIe 1.1, given the 512MiB frame buffer present on this card.
The single-slot cooler's fan is quiet in 2D and no louder than, say, a GeForce 8800 GTS 320's.
The sample card was tested with an ambient temperature of 21°C. We noted that it idled at 52°C and hit an under-load temperature of 74°C: well within tolerances, and around 10 per cent cooler than the recently-tested Inno3D GeForce 8800 GT 512MiB Overclock.
Two dual-link DVI ports support on-chip HDCP, just like any other GeForce 8800 GT card
The ZOTAC GeForce 8800 GT 512MiB AMP! Edition frequencies are the highest we've seen from a shipping G92 card, intimating careful speed-binning of cores. The downside of such pre-overclocking is price, unfortunately. The card is currently available for £199, including VAT, or £25 more expensive than the 'standard' card and £15-20 dearer than other lesser-overclocked models.