I thought some real in game testing would provide a better real world benchmark, so playing Quake 4 at 1024x768 was next (Okay, fine, I just like playing Quake 4). The FPS are very steady, around 59-61 throughout the game, as the screenshots show.
Even during fights, the card doesn't stutter or lower the framerate, and during special missions like opening the hangar doors… very close to the same.
After playing with this video card in some RTS games and City of Villains, I do think it's a nice improvement over my old SLI setup of 2 MSI 6600GTs. My new problem is that many games don't support the native 1680x1090 wide screen resolution of my LCD, since the card is definitely fast enough for things to be playable at that resolution. City of Villains does, however, and it plays beautifully. I hooked it up to a CRT to try out some high 4:3 resolutions and the DVI-I to VGA adapter, which was also flawless.
Next, having picked up Battle for Middle Earth II, I had to see how it looked with the new card. Here's the opening screen with the detail set to highest. Next, we have me building a couple of new buildings at the beginning of an easy game.
The detail level is very good and the animation is smooth. Even when buildings are nearing completion and small rocks are falling off it, the detail doesn't suffer.
You don't see as much when you wipe them out as the "Victory" logo pops up quickly and covers the screen, but you can still see some of the building falling on my dwarves.
Overall, I think this video card is worth purchasing if you are looking to upgrade or are moving to PCI-E. For a mid-high range card it holds well in FPS games and does well in RTS and MMORPGs as well. It stays cooler than the 6600GTs which it replaces, which idled around 50c, a temperature this one only reaches after a gaming session. Although I'd still like to see the card come with RAM heatsinks, I have not run across a time where the extra cooling was required. The biggest disappointment I had was having to wait for the second card to arrive after the first one arrived DOA.