BFG, Asus, PNY... does it really matter who makes the card?

I’m looking at these geforce 8800 cards, and they’re all priced the same. Does it matter at all who manufactures your video card?

Look at the warranty offered, and the heat sink used.

Besides that, I mean, are there any performance differences at all?

Here’s my warranty research, just to save more folks the trouble:

Limited Lifetime Warranty
BFG Tech

5 Year Limited Warrany
PNY (only 3yr warranty if you dont fill out online registration)

Three Year Limited Warranty
Gigabyte (2 yrs parts & labor, 3rd yr parts only)

Two-Year Limited Warranty

Isn’t this what hardware sites make ten pages of graphs for?

I haven’t really looked at cards in a couple months. But eVGA/BFG/XFX generally overclock their cards up from factory defaults across all their SKUs, so keep an eye on posted clock rates.

Generally i like BFG simply because they have pretty good, US based tech support. When they started out they tended to just replace RMA’d cards by default; now, you’re more likely to get it repaired unless it’s a defect that has patently fried the card. I’ve heard good things about eVGA, but also that their cards are a bit unstable if you’re getting the super-high factory overclocked versions.

The bad thing about BFG though is they tend to skimp on the material quality of their heatsinks and generally use aluminum instead of copper.

All of the cards are made in the same factory in china by the same manufacturor, foxconn. They are all absolutely identical in every particular. No 8800s are factory overclocked. Only the prices, warranties, and bundles may differ. EVGA has the best warranty, they allow you to overclock and replace their cooling under warranty.

The cooling could differ, but as of right now it doesn’t.

What does everyone think about the PNY? I really want to buy a 8800GTS PNY since I found a site that’s actually selling it at the MSRB instead of being greedy little bastards and overcharging by $50.

Stusser is correct. These are all reference board designs. I’m not sure warranty (beyond two years) is that big a deal – does any PC gamer keep their card for longer than that?

Bundles are nice, if you don’t have the game.

Note that some of the warranties are factored into the pricing. For example, the BFG card is about $659 (Newegg), while if you order the PNY card direct from them, you get it for the actual $599 price.

Is the BFG MSRP really $659 or is newegg just price gouging like usual? I’d bet on the price gouging.

All the cards I saw on Newegg for $659 + ~$7 for 3-day air I also saw on ZipZoomFly for $650 with free ground and $2 2-day air.

Needless to say, I bought an eVga 8800GTX from ZipZoomFly. It comes with Dark Messiah too.

Huh? PNY has always had lifetime warranties on their cards as far as I know.

No, on the 8800 GTX at least, it’s 3 years, with a 5 year warranty if you register the card.

It matters a great deal which company you go with, and all lifetime warranties are not created equal.

EVGA’s warranty even allows you to modify the cooler, so long as you don’t do physical damage to the card (in which case you just pay for the needed repair – the warranty is not void). BFG voids your warranty if you make any changes.

I think EVGA is the best deal in video cards. They even let you “trade up”, if something better comes out within I think 90 days.

Loyd/Jason or other knowledgeable fellows, it seems like companies are recommending a 700w power supply for a 8800 GTS SLI set up, and a whopping 1000w power supply for a 8800 GTX SLI set up. Is that true, or are those just really conservative numbers (i.e. would a 700w power supply do the trick for an GTX SLI set up? The difference in price between a 700w and 1000w power supply seemed really high, and i’m wondering if it’s definitely needed.

Nvidia is reccomending a 450w unit for a single card, power usage seems to have only increased 20 or 30 watts over the previous generation. From Anandtech “Total system power consumption when running our benchmarks, at times, peaked at over 520W with the SLI setup.”

Yeah, well, PNY told me to go screw when my Geforce 3 card (WITH the lifetime warranty) went south last year. Turns out they have a very different definition of “lifetime.” I wouldn’t do business with them at all.

Some of the game rigs we recently tested (and will run in Games for Windows and ExtremeTech) shipped with 750 or 850W PSUs. I think one had a 700W unit, but I’m not positive.

But unless you’re trying to drive a 2560x1600 display, SLI is overkill. One 8800 GTX is roughly equal to 7900 GTX SLI.

Peak power draw is 180W or so; typical draw during intense gameplay is more like 140-145W.

Lifetime warranties are too easy to abuse.

“Hmm. I’ve had my graphics card for over three years now. Time for a new one. Let’s see, take off the fan, and run a razor along this trace.”

… later …

“Hey, BFG, my GeForce XXIV card is borked. What do you mean you don’t make them any more? What am I supposed to do? Oh, you’ll send me a new GeForce XXV card? Cool!”

Thanks, that’s helpful. I was just wondering what might be necessary in case you wanted to throw another one in later as an upgrade option, and didn’t want to have to also replace the power supply at that time. But maybe with the current prices for those power supplies, it’s not such a bad thing to wait.

Looking forward to your roundup!

Yeah it’s a bummer, and if they don’t want to offer a lifetime warranty well then golly, I guess they shouldn’t offer a lifetime warranty. But they do, and refusing to honor it is bullshit.