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Old April 15, 2008, 06:25 AM
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Welcome to "light side" of computers I have loads of fun building systems from the ground up, even from the most complicated to the most simple. I really the liked the article on the Athlon64 performance gave me a good sense that adding a second card in SLI might not have its advantages until I upgrade my cpu. If the prices on the new phenoms with the B3 stepping fall a little I might consider it I am also waiting to see what nVidia has to offer for the new 7 series AMD chipsets.

Last edited by Eagle Eye; April 15, 2008 at 06:37 AM.
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Old April 15, 2008, 06:25 AM
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Thanks for posting back with the update. It's something a lot of folks forget to do, but it's a vital resource for others who might have the same questions you asked originally.

Quote:
Not to mention I've learned a metric shit ton about CPU's, GPU's, Power Supply's as well as general overclocking.
That's what it's all about. :)

It's amazing what kinds of tidbits you pick up while researching computer hardware. With that research under your belt, I'm sure you'll have no problems at all with building your next rig on your own.

As far as the bottleneck goes... yeah you'll have one for sure, but you'll still see an amazing improvement over your current 8600GT, and the 8800GT line still has a lot of legs left under it so you'll probably be able to port it over to your next build.

Don't be a stranger... be sure to stop back in and let us know what kind of improvements you see with the 8800GT (don't forget to do a few benchmarks with the old card to compare... :) ).
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Old April 24, 2008, 08:56 AM
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***UPDATE***

Well I have completed my upgrades and preformed some rough bench marks. Here is what I found out along the way...

Upgrade installation:



- Power supply was upgraded from the stock 305watt Dell to a 600watt OCZ StealthXStream. This went smooth with the 4 screw wholes lining up nicely. I really like this OCZ power supply, it is whisper quiet and has a mother load of connectors all nicely wrapped in mesh to help keep it organized.

- Futureshop was nice enough to "loan" me an EVGA 8800 GT and a BFG 8800 GTS for testing. I just couldn't get the GTS out of my mind; I had to see if I could justify it somehow. After testing I did return the cards to FS and then placed my order with NCIX.

I had an idea that I was going to have to modify the HS/F shroud to fit the GTS, but was unprepared for just how big that beast is. The GT on the other hand slipped right in see below for some pics.

BFG 8800 GTS



EVGA 8800 GT



To get the GTS in I would of had to slice the whole side out of the HS/F shroud as well as cut the first few fins off the chipset heat sink. When I seen how well the GT fit it made the decision even easier.

My reading led me to believe the GT ran hot and had me worried about the stock cooler just blowing all that hot air around the case. So I added a fan on the back side of the case to suck some of it out. In the end I don't think I had much to worry about because the Dell BTX case design actually works really well for keeping the rig cool'n'quiet.

Completed upgrade:




Now for the bench marks:



I used F.E.A.R, Crysis and 3DMark06 for testing, and RivaTuner for OC'ing the cards. These provide a rough gauge more than anything.

XFX 8600GT OC'ed to 650 CC and 450MC -VS- EVGA 8800GT with 600CC and 900MC (stock)

F.E.A.R (built in test)

8600GT after 5 test runs:

- 1280x960 res with max settings including 4x AA

FPS = 12 min, 22 Avg, 28 Max

66% below 25
34% between 25 and 40
0% over 40

8800GT after 5 test runs:

FPS = 22min, 26avg, 31max

48% below 22
52% between 25 & 40
0% over 40

CRYSIS (first good fire fight on beach with Fraps)

8600GT

- 1024x768 res with Medium settings no AA

FPS = 11 min, 21 Avg, 31 High


8800GT

- 1680x1050 res with Medium settings no AA

FPS = 10 min, 25 Avg, 37 High



3DMark06 (basic)

8600GT

- 1280x1024 res with stock settings
1st run 3DMarks = 4354
2nd run 3DMarks = 4372

8800GT

- 1280x1024 res with stock settings
1st run: 3DMarks = 8913
2nd run: 3DMarks = 8993

- 1280x1024 res with 700CC and 1000MC
1st run: 3DMarks = 9229
2nd run: 3DMarks = 9260


Note 1: Overclocking the 8800GT to 700CC and 1000MC had no effet on FPS for either F.E.A.R or CRYSIS, but did in fact give a minor boost to 3DMark for some reason?


Note 2: The hotest I recorded the 8600GT at was 82 degrees celcius and 72 degrees for the 8800GT. And that was with the 8600GT fan set to a 100% while the 8800GT is set to auto. The 8800GT idles at 54 degrees.


Conclusoin:

I am really glad I didn't go ahead and mod my HS/Fan shroud to fit the 8800 GTS. Overclocking the 8800 GT with zero net result in FPS in both F.E.A.R and CRYSIS really put it in black and white for me that my CPU simply can't feed the beast. The only spot overclocking the 8800 GT made a diffence was in 3DMark06 taking the score from 8993 to 9260.

Having said that I am very pleased with the jump my games took going from the 8600GT to the 8800GT. It has been worth the time and cash.

Lastly going through this little exercise really put in prespective how much work it is to accurately test/benchmark graphics cards. Simply put it takes time and care to do it right.

Last edited by PEIGuy; April 24, 2008 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Major edits for many reasons ;)
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Old April 24, 2008, 10:05 AM
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The 8600GT is choked by the 128bit memory interface and 32 stream proccesors with little bandwidth available performance in todays games are practically unplayable at resolutions higher then 1024x768 with high settings. Like you, I had to upgrade from the 7600GT which is practically the same as an 8600GT performance wise, even with 2 in sli COD4 Modern Warfare brought it to its knees.

A compliment on the cable mangement in your case looks great minimal clutter even with my bigger case and components its still a crowded mess hopefully that will change when I get my Antec P182.

If thats a reference 8800GT keep an eye your temps those videocards have had problems with the fan not keeping up with heat output and can get very hot.

BTX Form Factor!! A really poor attempt by Intel to make a change to the motherboard layout you can see exactly where the limitations begin as you experienced with a larger video card.

Glad to see you had such a fun time with it all, let us know when you plan on building a new rig I am sure everyone here will be glad to help out.

Last edited by Eagle Eye; April 24, 2008 at 10:30 AM.
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Old April 24, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Eye View Post
If thats a reference 8800GT keep an eye your temps those videocards have had problems with the fan not keeping up with heat output and can get very hot.

BTX Form Factor!! A really poor attempt by Intel to make a change to the motherboard layout you can see exactly where the limitations of it begin as you experienced with a larger video card.
Aye that is what all the reading I have done says and yet even after extended gaming card seems to peak at 68-73 degrees. I am thinking it must be the BTX form factor / fan setup. Still I agree that it is quite clunky.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Eye View Post
Glad to see you had such a fun time with it all, let us know when you plan on building a new rig I am sure everyone here will be glad to help out.
You read my mind . Although it won't be for awhile maybe even a year or more. I mostly upgraded this machine in preperation of Age of Conan MMRPG (Dx10 game) release coming up. And at this point I should be able to crank that up pretty good.
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