Manufacturer:BFG Tech UK Price (as reviewed): TBC US Price (as reviewed): TBC
Core Clock: 700MHz Shader Clock: 1,728MHz Memory Clock: 2,000MHz (effective) Warranty: Ten years (Europe), Lifetime (North America)
As is obvious from these pictures, BFG has completely redesigned and replaced the stock 8800 GT cooler, swapping the single slot combination GPU and memory cooler with a single heat pipe based heat sink for the core and a heavy duty ramsink. It's very visually striking and obviously a huge departure from Nvidia's single slot stock cooler.
This improved cooling solution has allowed BFG to push the card’s stock clocks to previously unseen levels, with the core clock at 700MHz, the shader clock at 1,728MHz, and the memory clock at 2,000MHz, compared to the 600/1,500/2,000MHz stock clocks of the reference design. At the same time BFG claims significantly improved idle and load temperatures, which should also mean some healthy overclocks well above what BFG ships the card are possible.
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The custom cooler certainly looks the business, with a large array of chrome fins around the circumference of the heatpipe’s loop and a paddle fan that's quite a bit bigger than the stock solution. This moves air through the fins, and then down over the ramsinks. The fan is even lit by a green LED, and looks great when fitted, with a subtle green glow shining up through the heatsink fins.
I was disappointed to note that the custom cooler's fan did not speed up and down to match the load placed on the GPU, as the stock cooler does, and at its single speed it's noticeably louder than the stock cooler when the system is idle. However, at load the stock cooler spins up and is much louder than the ThermoIntelligence design, with the OCX remaining at its single (quieter) speed setting.
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Aside from the custom ThermoIntelligence cooler, this is just another 8800 GT, and architecturally at least, it’s identical to the reference design. It still features the same 65nm G92 GPU, 112 stream processors and 256-bit memory interface. For those seeking more information on the GeForce 8800 GT in its standard form, check out our exhaustive review from back in November.
One area where all BFG Tech graphics cards excel is their warranty. The company offers a ten year warranty on its products in Europe (because of EU legislation) and a lifetime warranty across the Atlantic in the USA and Canada. The only downside is that the warranty does require activating directly with BFG within 30 days of purchase in order to get the full term, otherwise you'll just be limited to a statutory one-year warranty - that's a fair shake in our opinion, but it's something you need to be aware of.
In addition, BFG also offers its customers free 24/7 technical support via a toll free 1-800 number, (it's a USA number, you'll need to use SkypeOut to call it free of charge from elsewhere), or via email. The RMA process itself is all handled by UK/USA based RMA centres, so don't worry, you won't have to pay for a FedEx to the States should you have problems with your card.