Summary: After successfully launching GeForce 7800 GTX earlier this summer what does NVIDIA do for an encore? Why, launch another GPU! Today NVIDIA introduces their least expensive high-end GeForce 7 card yet, the 7800 GT. See how this card performs in single-card and SLI configs against the popular 6800 GT, 6800 GT SLI, and of course the 7800 GTX and 6800 Ultra in this article!
NVIDIA has incorporated multiple core improvements designed to enhance the GPU’s performance with today’s latest DX9 games. According to NVIDIA, the enhancements they’ve integrated into GeForce 7800 GTX increase pipeline efficiency by 50% on a clock-for-clock basis. The list of changes includes vertex shader units that have been enhanced to speed up geometry processing, as well as tweaks in the pixel and vertex units that have made both units better at handling MADD math operations, which are frequently used in lighting and normal map calculations (among others).
On top of this, NVIDIA has also increased the number of pixel and vertex shaders for GeForce 7800 GTX, as well as slightly cranking up the clocks. For GeForce 7800 GTX, NVIDIA has incorporated 24 pixel pipelines, eight more than the 16 pixel pipes found in GeForce 6800 Ultra. On the vertex processing side, NVIDIA has increased the number of vertex shaders by two units, with the GeForce 7800 GTX consisting of eight vertex shaders versus six in GeForce 6800 Ultra. NVIDIA’s reference specifications for the 7800 GTX call for a 430MHz graphics core and 600MHz on the memory (an improvement of 30MHz on the GPU and 50MHz on memory), although multiple board partners have chosen to overclock their 7800 GTX boards from the factory for added performance.
NVIDIA has made other changes as well, including improved texture fetching and NVIDIA’s beautiful new transparency AA mode (which include multisampling and supersampling support), but we’re not here today to talk about the GeForce 7800 GTX. As the title of this article suggests, NVIDIA’s got a brand new GPU they’re launching today that’s designed to steal the show: GeForce 7800 GT.
Introducing the GeForce 7800 GT
The 7800 GT fills out the GeForce 7 lineup just a little bit more, bringing the technology first introduced in the GeForce 7800 GTX down to a lower price point – while the GeForce 7800 GTX officially carries an MSRP of $600, the 7800 GT is priced at $450; $150 less.
The GeForce 7800 GT includes all the core features found in GeForce 7800 GTX, but with slightly reduced clock speeds and fewer pixel and vertex pipelines. Lets go over the exact changes NVIDIA has made for the 7800 GT.
The only differences between the 7800 GT and 7800 GTX lie in the number of pipelines, and clock speeds.
The GeForce 7800 GTX features 24 pixel pipelines, with eight vertex shading units. The pixel pipelines are arranged into groups of four (known as quads), with the 7800 GTX consisting of six pixel quads for a total of 24 pixel pipelines.
In contrast, the GeForce 7800 GT sports 20 pixel pipelines, NVIDIA merely turns off one of the pixel quads for the 7800 GT. In addition, one vertex shader is disabled as well, with the 7800 GT featuring seven vertex units.
NVIDIA used this exact same strategy for the vanilla GeForce 6800 a year ago, disabling one pixel quad and one vertex unit for the GeForce 6800.
To separate the GeForce 7800 GTX further from the 7800 GT, NVIDIA reduced the core and memory clock frequencies on 7800 GT, with its core running at 400MHz (versus 430MHz in 7800 GTX) while the board’s memory is clocked at 500MHz (the GeForce 7800 GTX’s memory runs at 600MHz). Like the GeForce 7800 GTX, the 7800 GT ships with 256MB of memory and is available on PCI-E format only, although NVIDIA hasn’t officially closed the door on an AGP variant in the future.
As a result of these changes, NVIDIA ensures that the 7800 GT has enough horsepower to outgun any of 2004’s highest-end cards, including the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition and GeForce 6800 Ultra, while at the same time allowing the 7800 GTX to maintain its status as the flagship of the NVIDIA lineup.
But that’s not all, once again retail boards are available on launch day!
The retail cards
Rather than send out reference samples for the 7800 GT launch, NVIDIA invited their board partners to send out final retail cards for review. EVGA and BFG were the first to send GeForce 7800 GT cards over, both of which are based on the same NVIDIA reference design.
In traditional BFG fashion their GeForce 7800 GT OC, is overclocked out of the box, with BFG opting for a core clock speed of 425MHz, while the board’s memory runs at 525MHz. This is 25MHz over stock 7800 GT speeds on the core and memory.
EVGA clocks their 7800 GT card a little higher than BFG, at 445MHz core and 535MHz on the memory. In adddition, EVGA includes a copy of EA’s Battlefield 2 inside the packaging of their e-GeForce 7800 GT card.
NVIDIA has changed the card’s cooler slightly, opting for a smaller heatsink/fan unit, while the board design itself is slightly modified, with reduced power requirements NVIDIA’s reference specifications call for less power circuitry (although you’ll still need a 6-pin PCI-E connector). NVIDIA states that the 7800 GT’s power consumption peaks at 85W versus 100W for 7800 GTX, making it more ideal for SFF applications.
Finally, as you can see both 7800 GT cards provide dual DVI and VIVO support.
Pacific Fighters - OpenGL
Far Cry – Direct3D
IL-2: FB – OpenGL
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – Direct3D
Half-Life 2 – Direct3D
Battlefield 2 – Direct3D
F.E.A.R. Beta – Direct3D
F.E.A.R. Beta – Direct3D
Thanks to its 20-pixel pipeline G70 roots and high clock speeds, the GeForce 7800 GT delivers performance that’s better than any card not named GeForce 7800 GTX, this includes the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition. In fact, in some cases one GeForce 7800 GT card was able to outrun two GeForce 6800 GT cards running in SLI mode!
With an MSRP of $450, the GeForce 7800 GT isn’t cheap, but it clearly delivers more performance at the sub-$500 price point than any card currently on the market. Price competition among NVIDIA’s board partners will likely drive prices even lower very quickly; already numerous 7800 GTX cards can be found selling for well under their $600 list price. In fact, Newegg is currently running a back-to-school special on MSI’s NX7800 GTX board, which is selling for $479 today only.
The GeForce 7800 GT isn’t the only announcement NVIDIA’s making today however, as NVIDIA is also announcing that they’ve lowered the MSRP of their entire GeForce 6800 lineup, with the 6800 vanilla now retailing for $199, the 6800 GT at $300, and the 6800 Ultra at $400. Of course, these “official” prices have been available from many online retailers for many months now, but it’s refreshing to see nonetheless.
With each new GeForce 7 launch, ATI’s lack of next-gen offerings becomes more apparent. Today’s GeForce 7800 GT launch and 6800 price cuts give NVIDIA the edge at practically all price points. Clearly the 7800 GT is the best card available on the market in the $400-$450 range, while the 7800 GTX is the $500+ card of choice right now. Meanwhile, at the $200 and $300 price points, the 6800 line delivers as well. ATI needs to get a new product out the door ASAP.
Until then, NVIDIA’s latest GeForce 7 cards will continue to rule the market unchallenged.
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