Overclocking The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT is built upon the new G92 GPU, a refresh of the ground-breaking NVIDIA G80 GPU which gave us graphics cards like the GeForce 8800 GTX and the GeForce 8800 Ultra. Like those graphics cards, the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT features a massively-parallel unified architecture, as well as support for DirectX 10.
The new G92 GPU, however, features a new VP2 video processor and support for PCI Express 2.0. It is also fabricated on a smaller, cooler 65 nm process technology. For more details on the actual architecture of the new G92 GPU, do take a look at our NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT Tech Report.
When we first reviewed the GeForce 8800 GT, we were most impressed with its performance. For a mid-range enthusiast-grade graphics card, it offered a tremendous boost in performance over its predecessors. In fact, it was just a little slower than the very, very expensive GeForce 8800 GTX! Best of all, it was reasonably-priced. That made it an extremely compelling card for gamers on a budget.
Recently, we had the opportunity to give the GeForce 8800 GT a thorough retest which compared it against its bigger brother - the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB, also based on the same G92 GPU. It showed that while the GeForce 8800 GT offered a great price-performance ratio, it was significantly slower than the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB. Granted, the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB is significantly more expensive, but it made us wonder - would it be possible to overclock the GeForce 8800 GT to match or beat the GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB in performance? That would give gamers who cannot afford the GeForce 8800 GTS the opportunity to enjoy the same level of performance.
However, we did not want this to be an example of extreme overclocking, where you need to resort to third-party coolers. With that method, you can achieve an incredible degree of overclocking, but it would come at a significant cost. We wanted this attempt to come at "no cost" to the user. That meant overclocking the GeForce 8800 GT card using its standard cooler. Let's take a look at the cooler.
The GeForce 8800 GT Cooler
The GeForce 8800 GT's cooler uses a cast aluminium heatsink with a copper insert. This allows for a better thermal transfer to the heatsink and yet keep the cost and weight low. With the shroud in place, the air is directed through 33 aluminium fins. To improve the heatsink's performance, NVIDIA used three copper heatpipes to quickly transfer the heat away from the copper insert to the aluminium fins.
The cooler is powered by an Everflow B127515BU blower fan placed to the right side of the cooler. The Everflow B127515BU is a high-speed 12 V fan with a current draw of 0.80 A, delivering a power output of 9.6 W. It is capable of delivering a maximum air flow of 11.83 CFM.
It has two ball-bearings which not only delivers greater reliability and lifespan but also quieter operation. It's rated for a noise level of just 51 dBA.