updated 09:40 am EST, Tue December 11, 2007
GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB
NVIDIA today provided another upgrade for its GeForce 8-series with the 512MB GeForce 8800 GTS. Although it includes less memory than the 640MB card released last year, the new version boosts the number of shader processors from 96 to 128, greatly improving the card's ability to draw complicated pixel or geometry vertex effects. The card is about 25 percent faster than its predecessor at the same price, by NVIDIA's estimates. The 512MB card is also the first GTS to support full acceleration of H.264 video, taking nearly all the burden away from the CPU for many Blu-ray movies and direct downloads.
The cards also bring HDCP encryption support for copy protected HD movies as well as support for the added bandwidth of PCI Express 2.0. Two of the cards can be linked together in the by now familiar SLI mode to provide an extra speed boost.
Price may be the defining advantage for the card, according to NVIDIA: while the 640MB 8800 GTS first launched for $499 late last year, the new and at times faster card should be priced between $299 and $349 depending on third-party card manufacturers' extra features and software bundles. Boards should already be available online today and in some retail stores soon.