We took a look at Asus’ stock second gen 8800GTS before and while it was benching faster than the GT, it wasn’t boasting the sort of performance to convince us that this wide-boy was worth the extra money over its slim-line sibling.

Now the GTS Top is here – an overclocked version for barely forty clams more than the GT and smack-talking the GTX and Ultra like a wrestler before a baying crowd in Hicksville, USA. Can it take on the ring-side heavyweight G80s, or is it all sparkly spandex and no trousers?

Well, actually, yes it can. The problem is, though, the margins at the top are so small – almost midget-esque – that it’s really hard to maintain perspective. We’re talking differences of, at most, six to seven frames-per-second improvement from Ultra to GT, something you’d only just about notice in-game. The GT was already only slightly behind the GTX, the standard second gen GTS was practically bang-on, while this oc’d version does a right proper job of making the old G80 codgers look expensive and all but obsolete.

Overclocking

The bonus of the GTS Top is that it’s overclockable from it’s already wound-up state. Unfortunately our favourite bit of clocking software, RivaTuner, isn’t supporting it yet, so we had to make do with the bundled ASUS software. Still, we managed to get the clock speed up to 780Mhz, with the memory and shader clocks at 2168MHz and 1950Mhz, respectively.

While this didn’t garner the performance gains we were hoping for, it still managed to bench as close to the Ultra as to make the difference nigh-on negligible. Throw in some water-cooling tweakery and you’re looking at a card that’s practically half the price of the cheapest Ultra and proffering the same or improved benches.

Worthy of your pennies

With graphics card manufacturers excreting new and varied iterations of their latest GPUs like last night’s home-made fajitas, it’s making things all the more confusing for us poor consumers trying to figure out whither to throw our hard-earned money. Thankfully though, the GTS Top offers enough of an improvement – punching around the magic 30fps mark in DX10, at the highest settings in WiC – over the GT wunderkind to make the extra £40 premium well worth the expenditure.