Summary: With the fastest clock speeds on the market, BFG's GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB is designed to appeal to the gamer who wants the fastest hardware money can buy. But high clock speeds aren't the only feature the card has going for it, as it also ships with a pretty impressive bundle of hardware and software accessories. See why we were so enamored with this card inside!
Since its introduction earlier this year, NVIDIA’s GeForce 7800 GTX GPU has been dominating the high-end graphics card market. Thanks to the GeForce 7800 GTX’s unique combination of not only more pixel and vertex shading units but also more refined pixel and vertex shaders (as well as high clock speeds), the GeForce 7800 GTX was able to deliver twice the performance of anything else on the market, all while doing so in a single-slot package that requires less power than a GeForce 6800 Ultra!
ATI attempted to reestablish parity with the unveiling of the RADEON X1K line. On the high-end, the RADEON X1800 XT 512MB is more than capable of giving a GeForce 7800 GTX a run for its money, in fact newer ATI drivers have given the X1800 XT 512MB the performance edge over the GeForce 7800 GTX in games NVIDIA has traditionally dominated such as DOOM 3. Meanwhile, the X1800 XL is meant to compete with the GeForce 7800 GT while the RADEON X1600 and X1300 were intended to challenge NVIDIA’s position in the mainstream and value segments respectively.
NVIDIA has since responded with a slew of new products, all of which we’ve detailed in the past few weeks. NVIDIA started at the lower end of the market first, quietly releasing the GeForce 6600 DDR2. The 6600 DDR2 is meant to replace the original GeForce 6600 DDR1 and ships with faster clocks and new DDR2 memory. We found it delivers more performance for less money than ATI’s RADEON X1300 PRO. Then, just last month NVIDIA introduced two more new GPUs, the GeForce 6800 GS and the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB.
Right now, the GeForce 6800 GS really has no natural competitor, as ATI’s X1600 cards still haven’t hit retail in massive quantities, while the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB’s supercharged clock speeds have propelled it ahead of the RADEON X1800 XT 512MB in performance. This GeForce 7800 Ultra card in disguise is the unquestionable king of the hill among 3D graphics cards.
BFG, already well known for building cards that cater to enthusiasts, has taken NVIDIA’s reference GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB board and put their stamp all over it. The result is a card that definitely stands out from the rest of the pack. Read on to see why we were so impressed with this board!
While many of NVIDIA’s board partners are now overclocking their boards from the factory, BFG is the company that got it all started with their line of factory overclocked “OC” cards, starting with the BFG GeForce 6800 Ultra OC. Of course, that’s not the only first we can thank BFG for, they’re also the first to provide a true lifetime warranty on their products, and of course, they’ve also been providing 24/7 toll-free phone support for awhile now.
BFG’s GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB card is no exception to this, as BFG clocks their board from the factory higher than any other manufacturer to date. The graphics core on the 7800 GTX 512MB OC is clocked at 580MHz, that’s 30MHz higher than NVIDIA’s reference specifications for the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB. Meanwhile, the board’s memory operates at 875MHz (1.75GHz effective), a figure which is 25MHz higher than NVIDIA’s stock memory frequency, and 10MHz higher than the XFX GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB XXX Edition board we reviewed last week.
As a result of these changes, the BFG board boasts an even 56GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth (an improvement of nearly 2GB/sec over the stock GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB), while fill-rate improves from 13.2 Gigatexels/sec on stock 7800 GTX 512MB boards to 13.92 Gigatexels/sec on the BFG GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB OC.
These figures put BFG’s GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB in a class of its own in terms of performance. This is because as of right now, NVIDIA has only announced five launch partners for the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB: ASUS, BFG, EVGA, MSI, and XFX. Of the five board partners, only BFG and XFX have chosen to overclock their 512MB cards from the factory (although we know for a fact that EVGA is working on releasing a factory overclocked 512MB “Black Pearl” card with liquid cooling). But BFG wasn’t content with just being the fastest on the block. On the contrary, they’ve put together quite a nice bundle of accessories to go along with their 7800 GTX 512MB OC card. Let’s go over those next shall we?
With consumers forking over $700+ for a GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB right now, BFG had the presence of mind to put together a pretty nice collection of accessories to help make the purchase worth your hard-earned money. You see, also included with every GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB card is a free BFG T-shirt. Our board shipped with a black XL “Up All Nite” BFG T-shirt. To sweeten the package even further, BFG includes a free copy of Infinity Ward’s hit shooter Call of Duty 2 on DVD-ROM. With retailers charging a $10 premium for the DVD version of CoD 2 right now, this is a pretty sweet bonus in our opinion. But BFG doesn’t stop there as the card also comes with a packet containing 24 BFG Teflon Slick Pads. These pads can be used to give your mouse more traction.
Other software bundled with the card includes a copy of Ulead VideoStudio 9 SE for video editing duties and a copy of GameDrive 9.0, which allows you to play games without the CD. Additional hardware accessories include two DVI adapters, a component video cable for hooking the card up to an HDTV, VIVO cable, and power adapter.
Finally, BFG also ships the board with stickers which you can attach to the card. For instance, once sticker hilariously reads “My big f’n gun” or “OMGWTFBFGSAUCE”.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles
Half-Life 2 – Direct3D
Battlefield 2 – Direct3D
Quake 4 – OpenGL
IL-2: FB – OpenGL
F.E.A.R. – Direct3D
Call of Duty 2 – Direct3D
Half-Life 2 4xAA/16xAF
GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB core: While it’s based on the exact same G70 graphics core as the original GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB, NVIDIA’s found a way to get a massive clock speeds boost out of the chips used for GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB boards. In stock form, core clock frequency is up to 550MHz, that’s 120MHz higher than the original GeForce 7800 GTX. On top of this, NVIDIA pairs the board with 850MHz GDDR3 memory, this is an improvement of 250MHz over the original GeForce 7800 GTX.
As you can imagine, these new clocks have a significant impact on performance. The GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB nearly runs 1.5 times faster than its predecessor in F.E.A.R. at high resolutions with 4xAA/16xAF. F.E.A.R. is one the most graphics-intensive games out there at the moment, so this is no small accomplishment. That the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB is able to pull this off while running nearly silently is even more impressive.
With this kind of performance, it’s no wonder why so many have nicknamed the 7800 GTX 512MB NVIDIA’s “Ultra” card.
Supercharged clock speeds: As has become their tradition, BFG takes the stock GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB reference speeds and surpasses them, clocking their GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB faster than any other GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB card on the market right now. BFG runs the graphics core at 580MHz, 30MHz higher than stock, while the memory runs at 875MHz – this is 25MHz higher than NVIDIA’s stock memory frequency for the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB and greater than the XFX 512MB XXX Edition card we just reviewed last week.
The higher clock speeds played nice dividends in all the tests we threw at it, with Quake 4 performance improving by 7% over the stock GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB at 1280x1024, while Half-Life 2 performance was up by 5% at 1600x1200 and Call of Duty 2 6% at the same resolution.
BFG service and support: BFG has earned a solid reputation for delivering some of the best service and support in the industry bar none. BFG provides 24/7 toll-free tech support, so if you run into a problem with your graphics card, you should have no problem getting in touch with them. You can also get in touch with BFG via their new enthusiast site BFG Gaming, www.bfggaming.com. There you’ll find servers for popular games such as Battlefield 2 and Counter-Strike: Source, monthly contests, forums, and lots of other cool stuff.
Of course, what really put BFG on the map in terms of customer support though is their lifetime warranty, which they provide on all of their graphics cards. If you run into any problem with your BFG graphics card at any time down the road, whether it be today, tomorrow, or five years from now, BFG will fix it for you.
There aren’t many other graphics card manufacturers out there that will match BFG in terms of support.
Accessories: BFG bundles the GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB with a ton of accessories. Most importantly BFG includes a free copy of Call of Duty 2 on DVD-ROM, so you won’t have to deal with swapping discs. You’ll also get a free T-shirt with the card as well as Teflon slick pads for your mouse, stickers for your case and graphics card, video editing software, and all the hardware accessories you’d normally expect with a high-end graphics card, including HDTV and VIVO cables.
Price and availability: It’s a good thing BFG gives you so much with the GeForce 7800 GTX OC 512MB, because currently boards are selling for $750 or more at most online retailers. This is a far cry from the $650 MSRP we were told to expect by NVIDIA. This price hike is being fueled in part by the lack of availability of GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB cards. Right now NVIDIA’s only got five board partners onboard, and as far as we can tell only four out of the five are shipping boards to retail right now. ASUS’ own website doesn’t even mention the GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB.
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