Introduction

This card should have gotten a different name. With hugely increased clock speeds, more memory, a beefy heatsink (the one used on the Quadro FX 4500), and a new board layout, the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 is one very powerful card. Oh yeah, and it's got more RAM too.

Earlier this month we started seeing ATI's new Radeon X1800 XT show up for sale. Today, ATI's high end part gets some revamped competition from NVIDIA's new offering. And even though we don't like the name, the 7800 GTX 512 is an excellent performer. Will the increased core and memory clock speed be enough for NVIDIA to topple ATI's high end monster? Will the additional memory make a tangible difference? The answers may not be as straight forward as they could be, but we were certainly excited to get our testing done and find out.

As we can see, the heatsink has had quite a change and the new card is now a two slot design. This is a small price to pay for the performance boost we see with the new GTX, as most people who will be shelling out the money for this card will likely want to drop it in very performance oriented systems (which usually throw space restrictions out the window). The competition (the Radeon X1800 XT) is also a two slot solution, so neither camp has the advantage on this point.

Before we get into the thick of it, it is important to note that ATI released drivers last week that greatly improve OpenGL performance with 4xAA. One of the suprises we will see from this new ATI creation is that the X1800 XT actually bests the current 7800 GTX in Doom 3 when 4xAA is enabled. This driver is a welcome development from ATI (whose OpenGL drivers have been somewhat lacking for quite some time), but with the new 7800 GTX 512 coming up to bat, it may be too little too late.

In any case, this is the second card in as many weeks that NVIDIA has brought out in response to new ATI parts. We found the 6800 GS to be quite a good fit for it's price point, and the 7800 GTX 512 is no slouch either. But with our price engine showing a $700 barrier to entry at the time of publication, we aren't quite as excited about price/performance ratio potential. Of course, the Radeon X1800 XT is still running between 600 and 700 at the moment, so the competition is still in the same ball park price wise.

Let's take a look at what we actually get for all that cash before we decide whether it's worth it or not.

The Card, The Test, and Power
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  • nourdmrolNMT1 - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    i still need to figure out what to get for my Computer so i can run CSS at native res (1680*1050)

    its hard having to always scale the games.
    Reply
  • ElFenix - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    i would assume so, seeing as how it would be a very good use of the second slot. but two slot designs don't always do that. Reply
  • Fluppeteer - Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - link

    At least one picture I've seen (Ars) shows vents in the second slot backplane. The
    air seems to blow in both directions. Which is better than nothing, but I might
    still have to make some kind of ducting to stop the fans at the front of my
    case blowing into the open end of the shroud. This is one reason I prefer water
    cooling, but I'm too wary of cooking the RAM if it's not fully cooled.

    (Saving up...)
    Reply
  • Fluppeteer - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Good review, good to see some high(er) resolutions being benchmarked.
    Thanks for the efforts, people.

    Just wondering, have any of the cards other specs changed? Is it still
    one dual-link and one single link DVI (the latter run from the chip,
    the former from external SiI parts)? (Since the 512MB 6800Ultra was dual
    link and the Quadro FX4500 is dual dual link, I thought I'd check.) I'm
    still hoping someone will get around to testing the G70's DVI quality on
    the single link output for me, since the issue with the 6800.

    I don't suppose nVidia took the opportunity to stick some of SiI's
    HDCP-capable TMDS transmitters on it, did they? They're playing
    catch-up with the X1800, and it would be a good time for them to
    spend the extra few dollars on fixing it.

    I'd be quite interested in some audio measurements of the fan, too.

    Speaking of which, is the airflow actually useful with the Quadro
    fan? I've got a lot of air blowing from the front of my case to the
    back, and I've suspected that the overheating issues I've seen with
    my 6800 are because the card's fan is fighting the case airflow
    (for some reason nVidia's fans seem to blow the wrong way round).

    --
    Fluppeteer
    Reply
  • Sunbird - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    So how bad does this spank my 5900XT? :P Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - link

    I had one of those. You might be able to dig up an early benchmark on the 6600GT that will show how it compares to the 5900XT. Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - link

    quote:

    benchmark on the 6600GT that will show how it compares to the 5900XT
    http://tinyurl.com/77v66">Here you go. :)
    Reply
  • Griswold - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Ok, if this peanut represents the 5900XT, the GTX 512 would be the size of a melon. ;) Reply
  • viciousvee - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    For the price this is really for people with a "I don't care what it cost" (big) budget! Get 2 GT's (7800 ones) and call it a day. N.E ways Good article but I would like to see more benches with WOW (World of warcraft, even though they don't support SLI setup) and with 2 setups rather than one, one with the AMD 3500+ and the 57! Reply
  • Spoonbender - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    You mean, get two GT's (which would cost about the same as one of these, while offering far less performance? No thanks, if I were to spend $6-700, I'd go for the faster solution. Which means this card.

    As for the rest, well, why is it relevant? AT is a hardware site, reviewing hardware. They're not benchmarking games to find "the best WoW card", they're benchmarking to find the best card overall. As for the CPU's, what would it add to a review of a card like this? Again, the purpose isn't to tell you "how many fps would you gain if you upgraded your CPU to a FX57?". It's to test this card versus the competition.
    Reply

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