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Graphics Software Hardware

First Reviews: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT GPU 162

Spinnerbait writes "This morning NVIDIA let fly with a cut-back version of their GeForce 7800GTX flagship card, dubbed the GeForce 7800GT. HotHardware has a full review and showcase posted of this new more reasonably price GeForce 7 series card. Overall it's performance was impressive but there is a tad bit of confusion in the channel about clock speeds on these new boards, so keep you eye on retail board specifications." The embargo's off: here's TheTechLounge's review, and GDHardware's, too -- I'm sure you'll find links to others in the comments below.
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First Reviews: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT GPU

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  • rotate (Score:4, Funny)

    by BoldAC ( 735721 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:53PM (#13297672)
    Nvidia has released a faster card. It's better than anything out right now.

    Stay tuned next week. ATI will do the same.

    Rinse, spin, and repeat.
  • Hope the first release drivers aren't corked this time around.
  • by ZenShadow ( 101870 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @03:57PM (#13297729) Homepage
    Sometimes I wish I were my own sibling. My sister keeps getting dibs on my "old" hardware when stuff like this happens and forces the geek in me to go on an upgrade spree.

    She will shortly have an Ath64 3500+ and a 6800GT.

    Must be nice. :p

    • Re:Oh no, not again. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by shoptroll ( 544006 )
      Heh. I've got a 3500+ and a 6600GT. Computer runs like a dream.

      I'm not upgrading my vid. card until a mid-range 512 mb model hits the market.
      • Ditto... (new) 4400+ and (year old) 6800GT. I'm obviously tempted by the new 7800 models, but I only got this thing last year! Who knows what will be out by next summer?
        • I actually have a semi-valid reason for wanting the upgrade besides the "it's shiny" factor ;-)

          Simply put: my 6800GT doesn't have dual DVI. I have a pair of Samsung 213T's, and I want them both on DVI, dammit. The one on VGA annoys me.

          Of course, looking at this, it seems as though PCI Express is the only option. That means a motherboard upgrade, too... grrrr.

          Looks like my sis is getting a shiney new computer. :p

          Maybe I should say "Screw it" and just go to a dual-proc Opteron board and slap a couple of d
          • I have a pair of Samsung 213T's, and I want them both on DVI, dammit. The one on VGA annoys me.

            Annoys you because of an actual perceptable quality difference, or annoys you because of a crippling desire to spend even more on your PC hardware habit?
      • Midrange 512MB model? What's the point of that? 512MB will do nothing at all unless the card can fully utilize it all--I doubt it gives much boost for a 7800GTX, let alone a 6800 or 6600. 256MB cards are just as fast and far cheaper.
        • Playing at that resolution (2 gig of main memory) is just a little choppy on my 6800GT with 256MB. Expected for all the DMA that's going on.

          I have'nt run into any other games that would get much benefit from the larger memory.

          Further you have to look real close (at 1600x1200) to see the difference between high and ultra quality textures. Just not much point.

          512MB midrange might be five years away.

    • by StarvingSE ( 875139 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:19PM (#13297926)
      No need to upgrade anything at this point. I have been using my athlon xp 2500+ kicked up to 3200+ and a 6600GT, and it plays anything flawlessly with all details up. Hardware lasts a lot longer than people tend to think. Even though games are coming out with minor improvements in graphics, nothing major has changed software wise to consider buy a $600+ video card just yet.
      • I have a 1680x1050 display and would really like to display games at that native resolution. A 6600GT isn't quite powerful enough for that.
        • When I can afford a monitor with a 1680x1050 native resolution, I'll buy myself the expensive vid card to go with it ;)
        • I have a 1680x1050 LCD and 6600GT and it runs quite nicely for Source and WoW @ native. Overheating is my only concern in the summertime. But if you need to upgrade, the 7xxx should bring the 6800GT down some.
      • Same here, I'm running a 2800+ with a GF6800 (stock not GT or ultra) and can play ANY game with full details and I get great framerates.. I built the over all system (1 gb ram, 200 gb hD, dual layer DVD) for 400 bucks.. the card was the most expensive being 300 (at the time, you can get one now for under 200)...

        I really don't see a reason to upgrade for at least another year or 2 (already had this system for over a year now) but when i do it will be a doosy ;)
      • Sounds like my system... 2500 at 2800, and a 6600GT OC. I was running an FX5600 until, unbeknownst to me, the fan on it died, and not long after, the card did too. I picked up the 6600GT OC (Manufacturer BFG - I have no affiliation with them). The nice thing about this card is.... LIFETIME WARRANTY. After my last card burned out, that was a big selling feature. In any case, this place HL:Source without a stutter at 1280x1024 (usually CS:S). Heck, the 5600 could do it at 1024. Sure, I'd like to go to
      • xp 3200+ and a 6600GT..., and it plays anything flawlessly with all details up. Hardware lasts a lot longer than people tend to think.

        For those who you may be confused: the 6600GT is less than a year old.

        I'd bet you haven't had it for more than 6 months.

        Also anything with all details up is very subjective and wrong.

        For instance Battlefield 2 at 1600x1024 with 4xAA and 8xAF is not playable/enjoyable on your video card. It wil give you maybe 10 frames a second.

        Those are very high settings, but you said

    • You can send me your old hardware!!!!
  • One can only assume that this is to keep up with the latest trend of game developers using every possible ounce of juice from the hardware they can squeeze without a concern to gameplay or story line.

    Whats with this?

    Perhaps I'm suffering from the Star Wars "isn't as good as it used to be" syndrome..
    • Re:Graphics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:04PM (#13297783)
      Perhaps I'm suffering from the Star Wars "isn't as good as it used to be" syndrome..

      No, you're not. Much of PC gaming, with rare exceptions, has become a wanking contest between different 3D engine developers.

      • I remember the days when game developers had to wring every ounce of performance out of their machine, not code as if everyone had a fking alienware.
      • Re:Graphics (Score:2, Interesting)

        by StarvingSE ( 875139 )
        So true. It took me forever to get through HL2 and Doom3 because after I got over the wow factor, it was just the same old game. I used to be draw to pretty graphics like moths to a light, but not so much anymore.
      • Actually, the 3D engines still suck just as much as the rest of the games. You just get a sharper, smoother view of the artifacts from the stupid polygons they still use to construct everything. Any supposedly curved 3D model in a game still has freaking corners sticking out all over the place, and the higher the poly count, the more corners there are. There is no legitimate reason for this - NURBS (non-uniform rational bezier spline) technology has been out since last century! Setting aside the near-total
        • "the higher the poly count, the more corners there are" You forgot the countering factor. The higher the poly count, the less visually intrusive each individual corner becomes.
          • True, but it seems to get worse instead of better for low poly counts until one gets into the intermediate range - after that it starts to get better. It's mostly noticable in backgrounds these days, but it becomes intrusive when the background element takes up a considerable portion of the display.

            I also neglected to mention the stitching difficulties between NURBS surfaces which can sometimes be as annoying as polygon edges. That can usually be overcome with skiled modeling, though.

            I should also have ment
    • We don't need story lines, we use our imagination.
    • Re:Graphics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Incoherent07 ( 695470 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:09PM (#13297830)
      Of course. And, of course, since a card of this power is now "mid-range" at $450 MSRP, everyone should have one by now.

      Wait, you mean you DON'T upgrade your $500 video card every 6 months? You mean you've never spent more than $200 on a video card in your entire life and don't really care to? You're obviously not a gamer, we don't have to cater to you, only to our early-adopter ricer customers who feel inferior if they don't have a $4000 Alienware.
      • I don't think the Ricer comparison really holds up. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite.

        Ricer: Loud (both visually and audibly), screams "I'm fast" (just like its owner), but doesn't actually GO fast in 9 out of 10 cases.

        Bleeding-edge Gaming Rig: Virtually silent system that actually does outperform just about anything else on the market.

        I am not myself a true hardware addict (I upgrade maybe once every three years on average, and that's only because I actually need the hardware), but I still find you
      • You're obviously not a gamer

        "You call yourself a gamer? You're not a gamer unless you have a GeForce FX 5900!"
        --nVidia promotional video
  • Good deal on 7800 gt (Score:5, Informative)

    by afay ( 301708 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:01PM (#13297759)
    Dell has it for 342 + 4 shipping = 346. See the deal [] at slickdeals.

    Lowest price on pricewatch is 404 after shipping.

    Also, BFG is a good manufacturer to buy from as they have a lifetime warranty. I actually had one of their cards die on me and the RMA process was painless (only had to pay for shipping the card out to them).
    • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:22PM (#13297944)
      There's no such thing as a "good deal" on bleeding-edge hardware. There's only "expensive" and "ream me with a stick."
      • by Cornflake917 ( 515940 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @05:31PM (#13298539) Homepage
        There's no such thing as a "good deal" on bleeding-edge hardware. There's only "expensive" and "ream me with a stick."

        Hey, maybe some people like getting reamed with a stick.
      • That's bullshit. You can buy it now for $400 or in 6 months for $200. In a year it'll be about $150. Maybe in two years you can find it for $50 in a bargin bin.

        These cards have a lifecycle of about 10 months, maybe a year. 18 months if you aren't a gamer, but, if that were the case, you'd have never bought one anyway.

        So, look at it this way:

        But the card now for $400. Use it for 6 months. Sell it on e-bay for about $200 after that and then spend $400 on another card.

        You've basicly paid $200 for 6 month
    • "BFG is a good manufacturer to buy from as they have a lifetime warranty. I actually had one of their cards die on me and the RMA process was painless (only had to pay for shipping the card out to them)."

      I don't know about that, i recently went through their RMA process for a defective card OUT OF THE BOX, 3 cards later i think i finally have a good one...

      So 2+months and 3 cards to get a decent replacement hardly counts as painless, but ymmv.
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:11PM (#13297851)
    Wake me when the 7600GT arrives, then it'll be time for me to jump to a PCIe platform. I'm happy enough with my NVidia 5900XTV-based system for now. No way am I spending over US$250 for a videocard. I'd prefer under US$200. Once you can play BZFlag [] at 1600x1200x32 at 85Hz or above, with all options on, and no slowdowns, what more do you really need?
  • Mid-level? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:11PM (#13297852)
    From review:

    NVIDIA's has, in many ways, pulled ahead of ATI's desktop command over the past 6 months or so and recently cemented the deal with its release of the 7800GTX and now the 7800GT at the more "mid-level" price-point.

    Since when did $450 become a "mid-level" price?
    • Since when did $450 become a "mid-level" price?

      Since Nvidia offered exlusive previews to hardware review sites, who will provide at the very least moderate amounts of praise if they want to receive such previews again in the future.

      $450 USD is not mid-level...that would buy you a mid-level PC, not just a video card.

      A 9800Pro or a 6600GT would be considered 'mid-level' or better-than-average performance for most users at this point.
  • Anandtech review (Score:4, Informative)

    by nigham ( 792777 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:13PM (#13297878) Homepage
    Here [].
  • Does this mean I can finally get an nVidia card that can run HL2's DirectX 9 codepath decently at a reasonable price? The 6600 (and better) cards have been stuck at at around $150 for quite a while now, and I can't get an ATi card because of the Linux driver situation, so I've been limping along on a GeForce 3...
    • the 6800 line runs the dx9 codepath VERY well, the problem was in the 5xxx line, which have a VERY POOR dx9 performance. This was solved in the 6xxx line... so there are nVidia cards that can run the code (they are expensive, but are out there) the good news here is the price drop in the 6xxx line, so you can buy for less than 200$ a 6800 card (vanilla, 12P)
      • Yes, I know about the 5xxx line -- that's why I've been waiting! I just want a 6xxx card (that's not a bottom-of-the-line one (e.g. 6200); I know better than that) for less than $100.
        • Its going to be a while before the 6600GT is less than $100. Although who knows? Maybe by Christmas they'll fade them out and they'll go for a little over a hundred. By the time the good 6800 cards are less than $100 it will be like 3 years from now and you'll only find them on ebay.

          How about this. Put $5 a week into a jar. Before December you'll have like $60 saved. Add on that $90 you were willing to spend and you'll have a solid card.

          Although not to rain on your parade but I've heard that 6600GT's and up
        • I've been watching this for a while - you're screwed. Video cards that can do a good job rendering current games never drop below $160 or so - or at least it hasn't happened yet.
          • I don't care about "current games;" I care about Half-Life 2. It and Warcraft 3 are the most graphically-intensive games I play, or even plan to play in the near future. I haven't really seen any game with higher requirements than Half-Life 2 that's a "must have" for me. Except maybe Spore, but I don't think that's coming out any time soon.
            • At the moment, Half Life 2 is a current video game.

              What I mean to say is, high end video cards never become low end video cards - they go off the market first and are replaced by new generations of (still expensive) high end video cards.

              If you're actual plan is to wait until a video card that can run HL2 nicely costs less than $100, you'll be waiting about 2 years, and you'll probably end up buying a Nvida 9200 rather than the "Old & Busted" 6600 GT.

              Needless to say, other great games will have come o

    • How does it perform on a GeForce3, DX8 and 1024x768? Altho I don't have time for much gaming, I'm stuck in a similar situation - the GF3 is the only card that has a relative small, quiet fan, supports VIVO, and has *some* pixel shader support.

      I'm still looking for a card with DX9 support, runs at decent speed with as little active cooling as possible, and VIVO.

      NONE of the cards on the market seem to do the job. I figure I'd stick around with a GF3 for a while...
      • Err... to be honest, I don't know. I've actually been running it on a laptop with a Radeon 7500 because it was my Windows computer, but since I just got rid of that in favor of an iMac I'm going to have to either start dual-booting my Athlon XP desktop, or get Steam working under WINE. I haven't gotten around to it yet, unfortunately.
    • it's only been in the last month that nvidia's 6xxx line of cards run hl2 natively in the dx9 code path. the drivers that came out removed the "optimizations" that were put in place since the dreaded 5xxx line.

      nvidia has become the intel/ms of the video card world. not that ati is a saint but it's nowhere near as bad as nv.

      • Yeah, as far as I can tell nVidia cards suck compared to ATi cards of the same price. However, as a Linux user I have no choice. (Hear that ATi? Make a decent Linux driver and I'll buy your cards!!)
  • by thoper ( 838719 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @04:18PM (#13297916)
    The 7800gt uses the same chip that the 7800gtx uses, but it has a quad disabled, therefore it only got 20 pixel pipelines, but as the 6800 -> 6800ultra rivatuner can unlock the "hidden" pipelines and turn your 7800gt into a 7800gtx. however, the firs cards out are most likely based in the faulty versions of the chip, whit a little time, the probability of found a card fully modeable increases The fact that this mod can be done, with the current version of rivatuner, is a clever move by nvidia, as most of their sales are not in the top of the line cards, but in the mainstreams, so give this possibility to users is a really smart move... I for one will buy myself one as soon as I get a pcie board...
    • You write we should "wait for better yields". What? After reading two articles about this card it is my impression these 7800 GT are the left over cards from the 7800 GTX cards, and were the faulty GTX ones (with only seven out of eight pipes working).

      Maybe this is along the very same path as was announced by Sony for the Playstation 3, where the eight vector processors turned into seven (insisting on 'high' yields). Cost per gain.
      • yes, their are based in the "faulty" 7800gtx chips. the 6800 (vanilla 12 pipelines) is also based in the 6800ultra "faulty" chips, but now in the mayority of the 6800(vanilla) you can activate the disabled parts using rivaruner, and in most cases it turned out that the 16 pipes were fully functional... this leads to the impression that the yields are not as bad, an to satisfice demand they used good chips for the "inferior" line... so, the more you wait, the more likely your 7800gtx have a fully function
    • Oh, look at me! I'm making people happy! I'm the Magical Man from Happy-Land, in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane! -- Oh, by the way, I was being sarcastic.

      That's not even a decent attempt to carma whore.
  • No paper launch this time, you can buy the cards for $399 already: 0GT+-GTX []

  • The specs say it's compatible with windows, linux and OSX, so can you pop this one in your G5?
  • H.264 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Thursday August 11, 2005 @05:37PM (#13298589) Homepage Journal
    I'd buy this thing in a second if it did HW accelerated H.264 decoding. I have heard detonator 80.40 includes the features on the 7800 series. Anyone know if this is true or if there is a software player or codec that can take advantage of this?
    • Re:H.264 (Score:2, Informative)

      by ruyon ( 660897 )
      Even 6200 series is going to get the feature (already got it?). why not more expensive/later model wouldn't? see it for youreself at nvidia's page []
      • I'm sorry but I looked all over for information about H.264 regarding the NVIDIA chipsets and all I found was references to MPEG2 and WMV9 -- can you point me to anything more specific? I can already take advantage of HD MPEG2 acceleration even with my lowly FX5200, but now that I've got a HD camcorder and I'm starting to do some HD production work on the desktop, the lack of H.264 acceleration is a pretty big drawback. I find it funny that the only device I have capable of playing H.264 without enormous am
  • "Overall it's performance was impressive..."

    So it = performance? Finally, a pure performance PU.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard