Final Words

It's taken three generations of revisions, augmentation, and massaging to get where we are, but the G70 is a testament to the potential the original NV30 design possessed. Using the knowledge gained from their experiences with NV3x and NV4x, the G70 is a very refined implementation of a well designed part.

With a max of three times the MADD throughput, 50% more pixel pipes, and 33% more vertex power than 6800 Ultra, the GeForce 7800 GTX is a force with which to be reckoned. Putting this much processing power into a package that pulls less juice from the wall than a 6800 Ultra is quite a feat as well. The 300+ million transistors fabbed on a 110 nm process are quite capable, and NVIDIA's compiler technology is finally mature to the point of handling all games with no shader replacement.

Adding transparency AA and further enhancing the efficiency of their PureVideo hardware will be the most tangible feature additions of the GeForce 7800 GTX. The tweaks in the pipeline really only come in performance numbers rather than feature enhancements. As there has been no DirectX update since the last part, NVIDIA has opted not to introduce any extra features. Their reasoning is that developers are slow enough to adopt DirectX changes, let alone a feature that would only run using OpenGL extensions.

Even though features haven't been added to the vertex and pixel shaders directly, the increased power will allow game developers more freedom to generate more incredible and amazing experiences. Though not seen in any game out now or coming out in the near term, the 7800 GTX does offer the ability to render nearly "Sprits Within" quality graphics in real-time. Games that live up to this example (such as Unreal Tournament 2007) still have quite a ways to go before they make it into our hands and onto our hardware, but it is nice to know the 7800 GTX has the power to run these applications when they do come along.

It is quite difficult to sum up this launch. From what is essentially a very thorough refresh of NV4x, we've got something that is more than the sum of its parts. The GeForce 7800 GTX is capable of smooth frame rates at incredibly high resolutions. Succeeding in bringing hardware and compiler together for a solution that does a better job of keeping the hardware busy than previous generations is definitely one of the most important aspects of this part. Eliminating shader replacement and performing this well is no feat to be underestimated.

Aside from the well executed hardware, NVIDIA has pulled off an incredible launch with availability right now. A quick look in our RealTime Price Engine shows several brands already available as low as $569. We can't stress enough how happy we are with NVIDIA's push to provide product in the retail market on the same day the product is announced. ATI really needs to follow suit on this one with their upcoming Crossfire launches.

For $600 we would like to see 512MB onboard, but with the current gaming landscape we certainly agree that more than 256MB is not an absolute necessity. But the GeForce 7800 GTX would have no reason to exist right now if not to accommodate future titles that will be more taxing than current games.

Overall, we consider this a successful launch. Aside from the performance of the 7800 GTX, we can infer that the PS3's RSX will be even more powerful than the G70. As RSX will be a 90nm part and will still have some time to develop further, the design will likely be even easier to program, faster, and full of more new features.

Power Consumption
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  • WaltC - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    I found this remark really strange and amusing:

    "It's taken three generations of revisions, augmentation, and massaging to get where we are, but the G70 is a testament to the potential the original NV30 design possessed. Using the knowledge gained from their experiences with NV3x and NV4x, the G70 is a very refined implementation of a well designed part."

    Oh, please...nV30 was so poor that it couldn't even run at its factory speeds without problems of all kinds--which is why nVidia officially cancelled nV30 production after shipping a mere few thousand units. JHH, nVidia's CEO went on record saying, "nV30 was a failure" [quote, unquote] at the time. nV30 was [i]not[/i] the foundation for nV40, let alone the G70.

    Indeed, if anything could be said to be foundational for both nV40 and G70, it would be ATi's R3x0 design of 2002. G70, imo, has far more in common with R300 than it does nV30. nV30, if you recall, was primarily a DX8 part with some hastily bolted on DX9-ish add-ons done in response to R300 (fully a DX9 part) which had been shipping for nine months prior to nV30 getting out of the door.

    In fact, ATi owes its meteoric rise to #1 in the 3d markets over the last three years precisely to the R3x0 products which served as the basis for its later R4x0 architectures. Good riddance to nV3x, I say.

    I'm always surprised at the short and selective memories displayed so often by tech writers--really makes me wonder, sometimes, whether they are writing tech copy for their readers or PR copy at the behest of specific companies, if you know what I mean.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    98 - As far as I know, the power was measured at the wall. We use a device called "Kill A Watt", and despite the rather lame name, it gives accurate results. It's almost impossible to measure the power draw of any single component without some very expensive equipment - you know, the stuff that AMD and Intel use for CPUs. So under load, the CPU and GPU (and RAM and chipset, probably) are using far more power than at idle. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    I agree, starting at 1600x1200 for a card like this was a good idea. If your monitor can only do 1280x1024, you should consider getting a better one before buying a card like the 7800gtx. As a 2070/2141 owner myself, I know that a good monitor capable of high resolutions is a great investment that lasts a helluva lot longer than graphics cards, which are usually worthless after four or five years (along with most other components).

    I'm surprised that no one has moaned about the current lack of an AGP version, to go with their Athlon XP 1700+ or whatever ;)
    Reply
  • Johnmcl7 - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    I think it was spot on to have 1600x1200 as the minimum resolution, given the power of these cards I think 1024x768, no AA/AF results for 3Dmark2003/2005 which have been thrown around are a complete waste of time.

    John
    Reply
  • Frallan - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Good review... And re: the NDA deadlines and the sleapless nights - don't sweat it if a few mistakes are published. The readers here have their heads screwed on the right way and will find the issues for soon enough. And for everyone that does not do 12*16 or 15*20 the answer is simple - U Don't Need The Power!! Save your hard earnt money and get a 6800gt instead. Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Maybe if you could save the game, change the settings and reload it you could obtain images from exactly the same positions. In one of the fence images, the distance to the fence is quite a bit different in different screenshots Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    You had an 7800 SLI? I hate you all
    :p
    Reply
  • xtknight - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Edit: last post correction: actually 21-page report! Reply
  • xtknight - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Jeez...a couple spelling errors here and there...who cares? I'd like to see you type up a 12-page report and get it out the door in a couple days with no grammatical or spelling errors, especially when your main editor is gone. Remember that English study that showed the human brain interpreted words based on patterns and not spelling?

    I did read the whole review, word-for-word, with little to no trouble. There was not a SINGLE thing I had trouble comprehending. It's a better review than most sites have done which test lower resolutions. I love the non-CPU-limited benchmarks here.

    One thing that made me chuckle was "There is clearly a problem with the SLI support in Wolfenstein 3D". That MS-DOS game is in dire need of SLI. (It's abbreviated Wolfenstein: ET. Wolf3D is an oooold Nazi game.)
    Reply
  • SDA - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Derek or Jarred or Wesley or someone:

    Did you measure system power consumption as how much power the computer drew from the wall, or how much power the innards drew from the PSU?


    #95, it's a good thing you know enough about running a major hardware site to help them out with your advice! :-)
    Reply

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