Being a very early GeForce 8800 GT, BFG Tech’s OC card looks just like the Nvidia reference card. In fact, if it wasn’t for some well-placed stickers, you’d be mistaken for it being a reference card – the differences are under the hood though, as they say.
The cooler is exactly the same and BFG Tech appears to be using the default fan settings – it spins up when you first turn your machine on, but then once it’s POSTed, it quietens down to an almost inaudible hum. It’s certainly going to be inaudible above other sources of noise, like hard drives, in your system.
Under the black metal shroud, there is an array of aluminium fins connected via a heatpipe to a copper block that comes into direct contact with the GPU core. Based on what other heatsink manufacturers are doing these days, this seems to be the optimal configuration for a heatsink/fan combination.
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For those not familiar with the GeForce 8800 GT’s architecture, I recommend giving our initial GeForce 8800 GT technology review a read from start to finish. However, I’m sure there are people that don’t have the time to read the article in its entirety, so we’ll briefly outline the gory details here.
GeForce 8800 GT is based on Nvidia’s G92 graphics processing unit, which is a 754 million transistor behemoth fabbed on TSMC’s 65nm process. There are 112 1D scalar stream processors which, in the case of the BFG Tech card we’re reviewing here, run at 1,566MHz. These are arranged in seven clusters of 16 shaders, which each share eight texture address units, eight texture filtering units and have their own independent L1 cache.
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While the shaders run at 1,566MHz, the texture units only run at 625MHz – the clock that’s defined as the “core” clock. This is the same clock speed as the front end of the chip (the host, input assembler, instruction issuer and set up) and also the four ROP partitions, which can each process four pixels per clock with colour (RGB) and Z, or 32 pixels per clock if only Z samples are taken. You’d not be mistaken for thinking this bares resemblance to the G84 and G86 architectures on a shader cluster level, but obviously G92 is a much more complex chip.
One area where BFG Tech excels above most other NVIDIA board partners is with its warranty service and after sales support. The company offers a ten-year warranty with all of its cards in Europe, and a lifetime warranty to its customers on the other side of the Atlantic. The reason for the lower warranty term in Europe is EU legislation, but that shouldn’t worry you.
BFG Tech also offers its customers free 24/7 technical support, albeit on an American 1-800 number (it’s free via SkypeOut), although if you don’t have SkypeOut or don’t live in America, BFG Tech also offers free 24/7 support via email too. In the past, the downside of BFG Tech’s RMA process was the fact that all RMA’s were handled by the company’s US office. Recently though, BFG Tech opened an RMA Centre in the UK, meaning that there will be much shorter turnaround times for UK customers.