Nvidia seems to be offering a steal of a video card this morning. Its new GeForce 8800 GT will go for between $200 and $250, and Nvidia claims it's faster than the $450 ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, and Nvidia's own GeForce 8800 GTS cards. We're working on our own review, and you can expect a post up shortly. Based on the results of a handful of review sites, Nvidia seems to have delivered a bargain here, taking out both its own and ATI's previous bang-for-the-buck winners.
Aside from the price-performance value, the GeForce 8800 GT has a few other notable features. It's the first graphics card to come with PCI Express 2.0 support. That won't mean much today, because few motherboards offer the wider-bandwidth slot and PCI Express 1.1 still provides a wide-enough data pipe. But it's nice to know that when that might matter, these new cards will be able to take advantage.
The other benefit is that the 8800 GT also seems to be a single-slot card. Both the GeForce 8800 GTX and the 8800 GTS have double-wide fan and heat-sink hardware, which takes up a ton of space inside your PC. The single-slot 8800 GT not only makes it easier to add one card, it also means you can run two of them in SLI mode in a wider variety of systems and without sacrificing as many expansion slots.
And it's a good thing this new card is so SLI-friendly, because from the look of early benchmarks and Nvidia's own testing, even a single high-end GeForce 8800 GTX card won't deliver truly smooth, 60 frames per second gameplay when you turn all of the DirectX 10 graphics features on in next-gen poster-child Crysis. But if two 8800 GT cards ($400-$500) cost less than a single 8800 GTX ($500-$600), you might be able to get better performance by doubling up on two of the new midrange cards. The single player Crysis demo that went online over the weekend can't tell us because it has no SLI support, so we'll have to wait for the full version to be sure. Also keep in mind that ATI has a new midrange card due out in a few weeks as well.