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Other Considerations

Foxconn 8800GTX Runs With The Best
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Another way some brands stand out is by offering cards at clock rates higher than those specified by chip manufacturers. The advantage of buying a card pre-overclocked rather than doing it yourself is that the warranty covers the card in its pre-overclocked state. But nVidia initially held its partners back from overclocking the 8800GTX, so Foxconn's model FV-N88XMAD2-OD 8800GTX uses the same 575MHz GPU clock and 1800MHz memory data rate found on other available models thus far.

Enhanced support options such as a 24-hour toll-free telephone hotline or constantly-staffed online support chat are most useful to inexperienced builders, but its added cost must be passed on to the consumer. Foxconn's telephone support number isn't toll free and is only available during normal business hours, a logical compromise for most buyers because it helps keep prices down.

Last but far from least is the warranty period: Warranties typically range from 1 year in cut-rate brands to limited lifetime warranties in some premium brands. But lifetime warranties seem pretty meaningless when the replacement for your burned-out card could be a lower-performance newer model "of equal or greater value". Most gamers won't keep their cards much more than a year, so the 3-year warranty Foxconn and several similarly-priced brands provide is both practical and cost effective.

Final Thought

Value leaders may change daily as companies battle to win customer favor. Yet with so many brands using identical hardware, Foxconn is among several we will consider when asked to make a specific recommendation.

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