Nathan Edwards Jun 25, 2008

Asus EN8800 GTS 512MB

At A Glance


PCI-E 2.0; HDCP support on both DVI links, faster than all but the 8800 GTX.


A bit pricy.

Nvidia’s introduction of the GeForce 8800 GT left us wondering what would happen to the slightly older 8800 GTS—the model coupled with a 320MB frame buffer more so than the one paired with 640MB of memory. Nvidia cleared it all up by introducing the GeForce 8800 GTS, which has a 512MB frame buffer. Confused? We can’t blame you.

Nvidia’s branding strategy is puzzling because this graphics processor is quite different from the other two 8800 GTS cards, which were based on Nvidia’s G80 architecture used in the higher-end 8800 GTX, and the even faster 8800 Ultra; this one is based on the G92 featured in the aforementioned 8800 GT.

As such, the 8800 GTS 512 includes three important features you won’t find in its older cousins: support for PCI Express 2.0, integrated PureVideo HD circuitry (for offloading all high-definition video decoding from the host CPU), and HDCP copy-protection support on both its DVI links (which enables large-screen monitors to display commercial HD video at their native resolution).

On the other hand, this GPU (like the 8800 GT) is outfitted with a narrower 256-bit memory interface, compared to the 320-bit interface in the original 8800 GTS. And like boards based on the 8800 GT, boards based on the 8800 GTS 512 are equipped with only one SLI connector—there won’t be any three- or four-way GPU action with this card.

The only other features that separate this from the cheaper 8800 GT are clock speeds (Asus’s EN8800 GTS runs its core and GDDR3 memory at a stock 650- and 970MHz, respectively), the number of stream processors (128 versus the GT’s 112), and the presence of a dual-slot cooler. This is a terrific card, but with street prices for the 8800 GT and AMD’s Radeon HD 3870 hovering at $285 and $250, respectively, we just can’t elevate it to Kick Ass territory.

Windows XP (DirectX 9)
  Asus EN8800 GTS 512
Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
3DMark06 Game 1 (FPS) 32.0 26.3
3DMark06 Game 2 (FPS) 24.1 20.4
Crysis (DX9) (FPS)
34.9 33.8
Unreal Tournament 3 (FPS) 84.2 73.6

Windows Vista (DirectX 10)
  Asus EN8800 GTS 512 Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT
3DMark06 Game 1 (FPS) 30.3 24.8
3DMark06 Game 2 (FPS) 23.4 19.8
Crysis (DX10) (FPS) 28.0 21.3
Unreal Tournament 3 (FPS) 73.5 67.3
Best single-GPU score bolded. AMD-based cards tested with an Intel D975BX2 motherboard; Nvidia-based cards tested with an EVGA 680i SLI motherboard. Intel 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 CPUs and 2GB of Corsair DDR RAM used in both scenarios. Benchmarks performed at 1920x1200 resolution on ViewSonic VP2330wb monitors.

Asus EN8800 GTS 512MB

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