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Old November 13, 2007, 10:32 PM
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Default Reviewer Tryouts: BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC

BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC Test Review
________________________________________


BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC Test Review

Manufacturer Product Page: BFG Tech
Product Number: BFGR88640GTSOCE
Availability: Now
Warranty: Lifetime
BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC deal @ NCIX.com for C$ 392.73

Table of Contents:

1- Introduction
2- The BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC
3- Packaging and Accessories
4- A closer look at the BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC

Performance Tests

5- DX9 Benchmarks
3DMark06 Professional
Half Life 2: Lost Coast
Counter Strike: Source
Unreal Tournament 3
Call of Duty 4

6- DX10 Benchmarks
Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions DX9 - DX10
PT Boats: Knights of the Sea DX10
Company of Heroes DX10
World in Conflict DX10
Crysis Single Player Demo DX10

7- Overclocking
8- Temperatures, Power usage & Noise
9- Conclusion

1- Introduction:

Wow, nVIDIA did it again. They have managed to confuse just about everyone. The way that their video cards were released, this month only, is just insane.
With all the rumours going on in different forums, regarding the upcoming G92 core, that are more powerful than the older G80 core,
they just dumped another two(2) cards on the market. The all new 8800 GT and a refresh of the card we will be discussing in this review, the 8800 GTS 640Mb.
The new version has one big advantage over the ‘older card, namely 16 extra shaders. For more information on the new 8800 GTS 640Mb with 112 SP, click here.

So who is BFG Tech? Here’s a little info from their site: BFG Technologies is a privately held U.S. based supplier of premium 3D video cards based on award-winning NVIDIA graphics technology. The employees of BFG Tech are dedicated to bringing the latest high quality, high-tech multimedia products to PC and gaming enthusiasts at competitive prices. Many of our employees are gamers and PC enthusiasts, and we provide hardware and marketing that reflects our passion and excitement for the latest technology. We build hardware that is stable, well supported and cost competitive. BFG Technologies delivers the latest 3D graphics technology before our competitors, offers lifetime warranties on all graphic products, and provides free expert technical support and a company commitment to the enthusiast lifestyle through gaming LAN-party sponsorships, gaming events, and high-visibility participation in industry trade shows.



This is where the card is located in the current market. As you can see from this little chart, the card is obviously on its way out of the market, because of newer, faster and cheaper cards. This usually means only good….retailers want to get rid of their stock, therefore discount it nicely and who benefits from that? Right…YOU! Now, what does the card really look like?

2- The BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC

Let’s start of with the good old technical specifications. As many of us already have one of these cards, I won’t make this too painful, by boring you with too much information you already know.

GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GTS (G80 core)
Bus Type: PCI-Express
Memory: 640Mb GDDR3
Core Clock: 550MHz (500 MHz standard)
Shader Clock: 1300MHz (1200 MHz standard)
Memory Clock: 1600MHz
Stream Processors: 96
Texture Fill Rate: 26.4 billion/sec.
Memory Bandwidth: 64GB/sec.
Shader Model: 4.0
API Support: Microsoft® DirectX® 10 and lower, OpenGL® 2.0 and lower for Microsoft Windows®
Connectors: 2 Dual-Link DVI-I, HDTV + TV Out
RAMDACs: Dual 400MHz
HDCP Enabled: Yes

Here is a screenshot taken from Riva Tuner 2.06. This shows you that this BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640 Mb OC was made with the updated or revised G80 core. This one is the A3 version with 96 Shader Processors.


What is so special about this card you ask? Well, besides the fact that the card is factory overclocked….It overclocks even more! More on that later. It is yet another great product from the BFG line-up. BFG has 24/7 FREE Tech support and their product sports a wonderful Lifetime Warranty! If ever, your product is not working properly or you have technical questions, you can contact BFG via their website:

BFG.com:
Lifetime Warranty: BFG Tech Graphics Card Lifetime Warranty
Contact Support: BFG Tech Support

3- Packaging and Accessories


The BFG Tech boxes all look pretty much the same. The grey box has a window to see what’s inside and a black sleeve that contains information on the card inside. The box itself is sturdy and the card sits inside a plastic shell so it is pretty well protected against rough shipping procedures. All in all a decent package. BFG could have made us really happy if only they would have added a game.


So when I went online to get me a new BFG T-Shirt, I filled in the necessary information and they told me my serial number had been used already? Fishy ey? They tell you however that they are going to look into the situation right away….which is a nice touch….Here’s what you’re supposed to get:

- 1x HDTV dongle
- 1x Quick install guide
- 1x Dual 4-Pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E adapter
- 2x DVI to VGA adaptors
- 1x Driver CD
- 7x BGF Tech stickers
- 1x Custom BFG T-Shirt

Ps. More on the T-Shirt situation later.
4- A closer look at the BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC


As we’ve seen it before….the BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC. The card is made on a green PCB and it has a very obvious, huge air-cooling system, with a built in heat pipe. The card is exactly 9” long and uses dual slot cooling. The air is pushed out to the back of your (gaming) machine and as you’ll see in the tests, it works really well.



The back of the card holds a pair of white DVI connectors as well as an HDTV-out connector. Here you also see the heat pipe on the side of the card and the 6-pin power connector on the back of the card, between those solid capacitators.

Performance Tests

Here is my system used for writing reviews such as this:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.0Ghz
Memory: 2GB OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 DDR2 @ 900Mhz (4-4-4-12-2t)
Motherboard: Asus P5N32-E SLI (680i)
Disk Drive: Benq DW1650 DVD Writer
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATAII
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-U12F
Monitor: Acer AL2216W (1680X1050)
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate x32
Graphics Cards: BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC (550/1300/800MHz Stock OC)
Graphics Cards: BFG Tech 8800GTS 640Mb OC (702/1728/1044MHz Stable OC)
Drivers: Nvidia 169.04
*Notes:
- All games/benchmarks & OS tested have been patched to their latest versions
- All scores you see are the averages after 4 benchmark runs.
- All scores noted are result taken from in-game benchmarks and game sessions measured with Fraps 2.9.2.

5- DX9 Tests

3DMark06 Professional



As you can see, this card scores really well in 3DMark06. I believe it beats the fastest 8600 cards by 3000 points in this benchmark. But let’s go look at how this baby handles itself in ‘real world’ performance. The nVIDIA driver 169.04 that was used for this review was stable; however, I noticed during our overclocking session that version 169.01 performed a little better and scored a few more points. We still used 169.04 though.

Half Life 2: Lost Coast – DX9
This benchmark uses the Source Engine developed by Valve. Even though it is aging, I consider it a decent benchmark due to the fact that Valve, in cooperation with their Steam platform, still attracts millions of (online) players. I maxxed out all the details, played with the AA and AF a little, to make sure we stress the graphics card as much as possible.



As you can see here, great performance, but this is due to the fact that the Source Engine is aging and it is just not as demanding for your video card as some other games that we’ll see later. Also: notice the performance increase whilst overclocking!

Counter Strike: Source – DX9
Here the same applies as for Half Life 2: Lost Coast.



All across the board, great FPS scores in Counter Strike: Source. If I am correct, Counter Strike was not too long ago the biggest online gaming community ever!

Unreal Tournament 3 – DX9
Unreal Tournament 3 (UT3) is a first-person shooter video game and the next installment of the Unreal series after Unreal Tournament 2004. It is being developed by Epic Games and published by Midway Games in November 2007. It uses the updated Unreal Engine 3. Oh and removing that FPS cap is a pain in the butt. Good luck on that.



Again, great performance. It seems though that at higher resolutions & settings the game is CPU bound. This means that I would have to overclock my CPU more in order for me to get higher FPS. But who needs higher FPS than this?

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – DX9



Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is a first-person shooter developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision. This game was just measured using Fraps, running through the same level over and over again, while averaging out scores.


6- DX10 Benchmarks

Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions - DX9 / DX10
Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions was the first to come out in two different versions, using the DX9 and the DX10 platforms. Being a very intense benchmark for your video card using the DX10 mode, your FPS will not go over 30 FPS very easy. Overclocking your card will bring you an average of 5 FPS extra.



PT Boats: Knights of the Sea – DX10
Brought onto the market by Akella, this benchmark is made from their new game PT Boats: Knight of the Sea. If it runs, (which it most of the time does not, due to a software bug) it is an amazing, seriously graphics-card-killing-benchmark. It took me almost 4 days to get all of the tested resolutions with and without AA/AF done.



Again, overclocking your card gives you an average 7.5 FPS extra.

Company of Heroes - DX10
Company of Heroes from Canadian developer Relic has been widely held as one of the greatest RTS games of all time. Recently released on Valve Steam Platform on July 17, 2007, this game has a built in benchmark that is very tough on your video card.



World in Conflict - DX10
Never having played World in Conflict, I downloaded the demo to see what it was like! My initial thoughts…WOW! What a game! It contains an awesome benchmark too. Setting it to Very High, it pretty much stunned the BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC.



Crysis Single Player Demo - DX10
The game EVERYONE wants! Crysis is an upcoming science fiction first-person shooter computer game, which is being developed by Crytek, and published by Electronic Arts. It will be released on November 15, 2007 in Australia and New Zealand. The following day in Europe and on November 16, 2007 in North America. This game is the Ultimate Video Card Killer. As you will see….the only option for this card is 1280x1024 with no AA , settings on High, but really only when it is overclocked.





7- Overclocking
Okay…my favourite part….overclocking time! A word of caution first! OVERCLOCKING COULD BE FATAL FOR YOUR HARDWARE, so please use caution…..and it is at your own risk of course. Hardware Canucks can not and will not take any responsibility for any damage what-so-ever. With that said….here we go.

First we take a little bit of BFG Tech 8800 GTS 640Mb OC, then a little bit of Riva Tuner 2.06, a little bit of luck and a little bit of OC-juice and dump that all in a big pot! Stir well (don’t shake it) and cook thoroughly. LOL. Okay, I did use Riva Tuner 2.06 and my 8800GTS, but none of that other stuff. I suggest to all newbie’s to read up on some VGA overclocking guides first, before attempting this.

As you can see in the next graph, by taking little steps, turning up each of the clocks, you’re overclocking the card. My test card’s core clock went from 550MHz to 702MHz, the shader processors went from 1300MHz to 1728MHz and the memory went from 800MHz to 1044MHz. That is respectively; 27.6%, 32.9%, 30.5% or an average increase of 30.3%. In 3DMark06 it resulted in 2059 more points! This ladies & gentleman is absolutely free performance! In the graphs above you were able to see how that relates to ‘real world’ performance. Depending on the application or game, most of the time, this increase will translate into more frames per second. And isn’t that what we are all looking for?





The CPU scores stay pretty much the same since we did not tamper with our CPU speeds. The faster the clocks go, the higher the individual scores get. Going higher than 702/1728/1044MHz resulted in an unstable system. I tested the stability by looping the 3DMark06 benchmark and letting it run for a whole hour.

8- Temperatures, Power Usage & Noise

Check this out:



What really amazed me were the temperatures and the noise on this card. The highest temperature measured was while playing Crysis at it highest settings for almost two hours, with the fan at 100%, during my overclocking session. Having the fan at 100% wasn’t bad either, ‘blasting out’ only 40dBa. Some of my case fans make more noise than that! Having the fan speed on ‘auto’ which is 59% makes it inaudible for me. The minimum recommend power supply is a 425W PSU. I recommend getting at least a 500W PSU, especially when overclocking!


9- Conclusion

The end is near. The most difficult part of the review. Here’s where we decide who passes the line, who graduates or who flunks. Does this card work? Hell yeah! Does it work well? Sure! Does it have good features? Definitely. Did we have ANY technical issues with it? Nope. So that basically grants a 5 out of 5 score right? Normally yes, but this card does have a few things against it. First of all, this is an EOL product. It has just been replaced with its newer brother, the 112SP 8800GTS 640Mb, the card with 16 extra shader processors. And let’s not forget about the 8800 GT. That card kicks even more butt and is quite a bit cheaper, when it’s available.

Because this is an already replaced product, we might see some price reductions soon. The card is a great overclocker, but spending less money on a higher performing card such as the 8800 GT only makes more sense! When you want to play games at 1280x1024 resolutions with all eye-candy enabled, this would be the card for you, but only go for it when the price comes down. Having said that, I just checked the price on the OC2 version(faster) of this card and it goes for $ 308.78 @ NCIX.com. Now you know.

Pros:
- Great overclocker
- Great performance for medium card range
- Pre-overclocked
- Lifetime Warranty
- Good bundle
Cons:
- End of Life Product
- Still expensive compared to similar performing cards


A special thank you goes out to HardwareCanucks.com for hosting this review.
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Last edited by Prof. Dr. Silver; November 13, 2007 at 11:59 PM.
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Old November 14, 2007, 03:23 AM
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Awesome and very professional review.
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Old November 14, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Excellent!
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Old November 14, 2007, 04:47 PM
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Yup, kick butt review. Nice job.
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Old November 14, 2007, 04:55 PM
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Nice clean looking review and easy to read. Well done!
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Old November 14, 2007, 06:05 PM
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Thank you all for your positive feedback. I do have to apologize for my pictures though. They were taken before I knew about this review contest AND before my camera busted! I seem to have AF problems now. I guess I have to start looking for a new camera!
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Old November 14, 2007, 06:49 PM
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Nice job, I'm liking this one.
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Old November 15, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Great job man!
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