When Nvidia launched its frankly awesome GeForce 8800 GT graphics card back in October, we got an inkling that there was more to G92—the chip that powers the GeForce 8800 GT—than Nvidia wanted to disclose at the time of launch. A lot of our questions were dodged and the company’s representatives avoided disclosing many of G92’s technical details.
Everything pointed to G92 being a more complex chip than Nvidia wanted to let on and guess what: there is more to G92 than Nvidia disclosed at the GeForce 8800 GT launch. So, before I head off for Christmas and give myself an egotistic massage for trusting my instincts with the G92, I should probably tell you about what Nvidia is announcing today – its latest GeForce 8800 GTS model.
Normally one wouldn't get too locked into the ridiculous naming conventions that the two graphics manufacturers (and their board partners) have used, but I find it hard to ignore this one because I can’t help but feel that it doesn’t do Nvidia any favours. Nvidia couldn’t have given this product a more confusing name if it had tried, because in my opinion the GeForce 8800 GTS 512 is anything but a GeForce 8800 GTS.
Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GTS 512
What makes it even more confusing is the fact that there are already three different GeForce 8800 GTS models on the market without adding this one into the mix. Two of them feature 96 stream processors—the GeForce 8800 GTS 320 and 640—and there's another 640MB version with 112 stream processors which was released in limited quantities by BFGTech and EVGA.
So, I guess you’re wondering why the GeForce 8800 GTS 512 is anything but a GeForce 8800 GTS? Anyone that follows technology even remotely will understand that the two GPUs are different – you'd be right to assume that G92 is not equal to G80 and, for several reasons, never will be equal to it.
I could point straight to the fact that G92 is manufactured on a 65nm process at TSMC, whilst G80 was manufactured on a 90nm process, but I’m not going to. Instead, I’ll talk stream processors, texture units, ROPs and memory bandwidth. In order to do this though, I’m going to make things simpler by disregarding the 112 stream processor GeForce 8800 GTS ‘Extreme Edition’ because of its limited quantities and the fact that it’ll only serve to confuse things even more.
I’m not going to hang around talking about the past though, so if you’re not familiar with the original G80 architecture, I recommend jumping back to our GeForce 8800 GTX and GeForce 8800 GTS 640 reviews, as they’ll help to explain a lot of what I’m going to assume is common knowledge over the course of this article.