How does nabbing a GeForce 8800 graphics card for around $180 sound? That's essentially what Nvidia promised when it quietly added the GeForce 8800 GS to its lineup last month. The card was positioned between the 8800 GT and the 8600 GTS, and we saw it listed at some European online retailers for €166-186. However, it was nowhere to be found in North America.
Today, we've noticed that the card has finally reached U.S. shores. Newegg currently stocks two different version of it: this XFX GeForce 8800 GS priced at $179.99, and this slightly faster XFX variant priced at $189.99. Both feature 96 stream processors, 384MB of GDDR3 memory, and 192-bit memory bus widths. The cheaper model is clocked at 580MHz with 700MHz memory while its pricier sibling has a 680MHz core speed and 800MHz memory. Incidentally, the two flavors depart from the stock 550MHz core speed and 800MHz memory speed listed on Nvidia's website.
We haven't tested this card ourselves. However, benchmarks that appeared last month on a Chinese website indicate that an 8800 GS clocked at 775MHz/850MHz is about 21% slower than the GeForce 8800 GT overall. If accurate, those numbers suggest Nvidia's latest offering performs quite commendably for a sub-$200 graphics card.
Update 7:55 PM: Newegg has dropped the price of the two 8800 GS cards to $159.99 and $169.99, respectively. Thanks to TR reader Matt for the heads-up.