It has been a pretty busy summer for all of NVIDIA’s board partners. NVIDIA has launched not just one, but two brand new graphics processors based on their next-generation G70 graphics core. G70 is NVIDIA’s second shader model 3.0 part, featuring new pixel and vertex shading units which have been redesigned to better handle floating point operations (and other mathematical operations) and faster geometry processing. But that’s not all. In addition to improving the shading units themselves, NVIDIA has also provided more of them, with the GeForce 7800 GTX featuring 24 pixel pipelines and eight vertex units, while the GeForce 7800 GT sports 20 pixel pipes and seven vertex shaders. NVIDIA has also bumped up the clocks slightly to further improve performance. We summarized the changes in more detail in our NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX Performance Preview and NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT Performance Preview articles from earlier this summer.
What’s really exciting about both of these GPUs is the way in which they were both launched. Rather than announcing these product days or weeks before they were actually available for consumers to purchase at retail (i.e. “paper launching”), end users could purchase both of these cards the day they were first announced to the public.
This instant availability has been a big hit with enthusiasts, and for good reason: the GeForce 7800 GT and GeForce 7800 GTX deliver considerably more performance than anything else on the market, and also boast new features, most notably NVIDIA’s new transparency AA mode, which sharpens up the jagged edges usually found on thin-lined objects such as chain-linked fences.
Of course, it also hasn’t hurt that street prices for cards based on these GPUs are significantly lower than NVIDIA’s suggested retail price of $599 for the GeForce 7800 GTX and $449 for the GeForce 7800 GT. Already GeForce 7800 GTX cards can be found for under $500 online, while a 7800 GT can be had for as little as $351 on Price Watch. This has resulted in increased competition among board manufacturers, each looking for a unique way to differentiate themselves from the competition.
With this in mind, EVGA has made a pretty major effort to entice enthusiasts to purchase one of their cards rather than a competitor. Not only has EVGA instituted 24/7 toll-free tech support, they’ve also launched a lifetime warranty program on all their cards and even provided a select number of GeForce 7800 GT bundles which ship with an nForce4 motherboard.
But what has really grabbed the attention of most enthusiasts is what EVGA has done to enhance their graphics cards themselves. Rather than sticking with NVIDIA’s reference designs as they’ve done in the past, EVGA has actively gone out of their way to not only overclock their cards, but to also provide better cooling and even better game bundles. The GeForce 7800 GT card we’re reviewing today, the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition, is a perfect example of this.