Summary: With its 470MHz graphics core and 1.1GHz memory, EVGA's e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition delivers GeForce 7800 GTX performance at a much lower pricetag. EVGA also adds a copper heatsink/fan unit to the card for better cooling. See how this board stacks up to BFG's GeForce 7800 GT OC, the GeForce 7800 GTX, and more in today's article!
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.
With their e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition, EVGA set out from the start to build the fastest GeForce 7800 GT solution on the market, bar none. With this in mind, the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition is clocked from the factory at 470MHz on the graphics core (15% higher than NVIDIA’s reference speeds), and 550MHz on the memory (1.1GHz effective). These figures are both significantly higher than the GeForce 7800 GT’s stock speeds of 400MHz on the core and 500MHz on the memory, with the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition boasting a memory bandwidth figure of 35.2GB/sec; that’s 3.2GB/sec higher than stock.
In comparison to other GeForce 7800 GT board manufacturers, these are also the highest clock speeds on the market to date.
Of course, hitting the high clock speeds necessary to achieve EVGA’s performance goals wasn’t that much of a problem, thanks to its fewer functional shader units the GeForce 7800 GT has proven to be an excellent overclocker. The real dilemma was providing high clocks with a product EVGA could supply proper support for. In order to accomplish this and still provide EVGA’s new lifetime warranty, EVGA devised a new cooling solution for their e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition board, hence the “CO” in the card’s name.
The CO in this case stands for copper, which shouldn’t be confused for cobalt, which is the proper designation for CO in the periodic table. EVGA uses copper on their e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition board rather than aluminum because copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminum; the latter is the material of choice for the reference GeForce 7800 GT cooler that most 7800 GT manufacturers are using on their boards. (EVGA also uses an aluminum heatsink on their older e-GeForce 7800 GT card.) The only downsides to copper are that it’s pricier and heavier than aluminum.
EVGA places a copper heatsink directly over the GeForce 7800 GT’s G70 core. This heatsink is responsible for cooling the graphics core, and four of the board’s eight memory modules. EVGA then uses a separate aluminum heatsink to cool the four remaining modules. The cooling unit itself is also larger in size than the reference GeForce 7800 GT heatsink, this gives the cooler greater surface area to absorb more heat and thus increases its effectiveness. The black duct used to top the cooler off is adorned with EVGA’s corporate logo (a large “E”) and is borrowed straight from their e-GeForce 7800 GTX board.
Besides the enhanced heatsink, EVGA also outfits the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition with the same fan used on GeForce 7800 GTX cards. This fan spins at roughly the same RPMs as the 7800 GT fan, only it has more fins and thus can push more air than the standard GeForce 7800 GT fan.
With supercharged performance (thanks to the higher clocks) and better cooling, EVGA has positioned their e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition to enthusiasts who want a card that’s better than your typical everyday GeForce 7800 GT board, but they’ve also got other cards in their 7800 GT lineup
EVGA’s 7800 GT family
In addition to the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition board we’re reviewing today with clocks of 470MHz core/1.1GHz memory, EVGA also provides a slightly tamer version of the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition with a 460MHz core. This is a little lower than the card we’re taking a look at now, but it sells for $15 less and since it ships with the same 1.1GHz memory speed, so its performance will be very similar. If you want EVGA’s flagship 470MHz part, be on the lookout for part number 256-P2-N517-AX, the 460MHz board’s designation is 256-P2-N516-AX. Again, the only difference between the two cards is the GPU speed (460MHz versus 470MHz) and price, EVGA expects the 460MHz board to sell for a street price of $354.99 while the 470MHz card will go for about $369.99.
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GeForce 7800 GT core: NVIDIA’s GeForce 7800 GT GPU is currently second only to the GeForce 7800 GTX in terms of performance. The chip is built off the exact same line as the GeForce 7800 GTX, only it has had four of its pixel pipelines and one vertex unit disabled from the factory. NVIDIA’s reference specifications also call for lower clock speeds on the graphics core and memory, although board partners like EVGA have obviously elected not to follow NVIDIA’s reference speeds, opting instead for more megahertz. Which brings us to our next point:
Higher price point: Of course, all this come at a price, as EVGA sells the e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition for a $20 price premium over their stock GeForce 7800 GT board. If you don’t want to spend the extra money EVGA will also be producing a second e-GeForce 7800 GT CO Edition board that sells for $15 less which retains the copper cooling, only it runs at 460MHz on the graphics core while memory speed remains unchanged at 550MHz.
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