Tom is one of the Product Managers at CCL responsible for CPUs, Graphics Cards and Storage amongst other ranges. With his finger on the pulse of the technology retail channel he is ideally placed to provide an insight into the inner goings on of the big names behind the products we all enjoy.
The 8800 series, codenamed G80, was launched on 8 November 2006 with the release of the GeForce 8800 GTX. The card revolutionized what people expected from a graphics card and has a legacy that exists to this day. No other high end card before it has had quite the staying power of this legend.
With its £475 price tag on launch it was an expensive proposition but it was helped by the fact it was a DirectX 10 GPU and offered performance roughly double the performance to what the previous generation of cards at the price could muster.
It really redefined hardware performance and started the change in the games industry towards the hardware currently available being too powerful for the majority of games. Since the 8800 GTX has been released you can count on one hand the amount of games the fastest single GPU available struggles to run on release. Crysis being the major one and arguably Battlefield 3 pushing the limits of what the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580.
At the time of the 8800 GTX’s launch I remember I was running a pair of Nvidia GeForce 7800 GT OC cards in SLI from a company called BFG. They performed epically in all games at the time, but I remember looking at a single 8800 GTX and realizing the game had changed.
It has taken almost 6 years for any real games to be released that are beyond the capabilities of the 8800 GTX, if you purchased one on launch day for £475 then you will have gotten fantastic value for money out of your investment. Call of Duty MW3 for example will run on recommended settings with ease on the 8800 GTX, that’s one of the current hot games. Battlefield 3; the most demanding game currently available, will even run on the 8800 GTX.
Time is nearly up for the defining graphics card for enthusiasts over the last 10 years, the next major AAA graphical game will no doubt start at a level above the 8800 GTX requiring an AMD Radeon 4850 or Nvidia GTX 260 to power it along.
Nvidia really were on to a winner with the 8800 GTX and it is a shame we will likely not see such a leap between generations as the 7 series to 8 series provided, 60-70% performance gains just don’t happen every day.
That said there is talk of a card faster than a single Nvidia GTX 680 due out later this year, if it performs 40% better than the GTX 680 like the specifications may suggest then the GTX 580 to this new card could be the 8800 GTX scenario all over again. We can but dream…