Monday, December 3rd, 2007

nVidia 8800 Ultra (SLI) or 8800 GTX (SLI) for FSX

As described in recent posts, I’ve now decided to go with the Intel QX6850 for my new FSX system (currently ~$989 on This is currently the most powerful processor on the market that will work with an SLI system. I’m planning on ordering all the parts in the next week or so and thus I also need to decide what SLI card to order.

My two top choices are the nVidia 8800 Ultra and the 8800 GTX. The 8800 Ultra is essentially a factory overclocked version of the GTX and boasts some minor performance increases but a rather big price increase. Case in point, 2 8800 Ultras will set one back about $1400 but 2 8800 GTXs will only set one back about $980 (prices fluxuate a bit depending on exactly what make one buys).  $980 for a pair of graphics cards is certainly not small change, but it’s a lot less than $1400.  The natural question then is will the extra $400 make a huge difference with FSX?

Ideally, I could buy both sets of cards, test them out in my new system and then make a decision, but of course that’s not too practical.  At this point, I think I’ll go with the GTXs as I haven’t seen much evidence from other reviews and comments to suggest that the extra $400 for the Ultras would make much difference with FSX.  There has been so much talk about the CPU bound nature of FSX that a minor bump up in GPU performance seems unlikely to have much impact (or certainly not $400 worth of impact).  Again, the Ultras are essentially just slightly beefed up versions of the GTXs and not some totally new technology.

At the moment, I’m eyeing up the FV-N88XMAD2-ONOC GeForce 8800GTX from Foxconn (currently $489.99 on  This is an overclocked version of the GTX with the GPU clock core at 630 MHz.  This is the same GPU speed as the 8800 Ultra from BFG Tech (currently $699.99 on  In fact, the only listed spec difference between these two cards is that the Ultra has a memory clock of 2200 MHz vs 2000 MHz for the GTX.  Is an extra 200 MHz (+10%) of memory clock speed on an SLI system worth the extra $400 (+40%) in combined (x2) price?  My guess would be probably not in this case and so that’s why I’m going with the GTXs.

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4 Comments on “nVidia 8800 Ultra (SLI) or 8800 GTX (SLI) for FSX”

  1. thanks for keeping us up to date! i have a 8800GTX with an E6600 overclocked to 3.6ghz and FSX runs with all settings close to max at 25fps, you should be able to hit much higher numbers!

  2. fsxmissionguy

    “The natural question then is will the extra $400 make a huge difference with FSX?”

    And the answer is: Definitely not.

    FSX does not even fully task fairly low end GPU’s (such as the DX9 GeForce 7950).

    You’d do a LOT better spending the money on cores rather than GPU cycles.

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  4. I personally am a big supporter of the nVidia video card. I use for my FSX and it works pretty good. I don’t know about the other ones but I do know that I am happy with this 512MB one that I currently have.

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