Between a Rock and a Hard Launch

In the wake of the recent, very successful hard launch of the X1900 series by ATI, NVIDIA has had quite a bit of pressure placed on them to make up for the stumbles that they have had with 7800 GTX 512 availability and the limited regional availability of the 7300 series at launch. We have certainly been putting a lot of pressure on these companies to deliver tangible product on the day of a launch. Doing so helps reviewers and consumers alike. We are able to report on a product that we know exists, and we are better able to make a solid recommendation about what to buy. Those interested in the cards don't have to wait for some far off date in the future to get their hands on hardware. Hard launches are a good thing and we want to keep seeing them happen.

And, as is usually the case, we would love to see even more: more parts, more stores with parts, and more countries included at launch. But these kinds of things tend to get a little complicated, and sometimes we end up in situations like what we see today.

We have full retail boxes from both BFG and EVGA. NVIDIA is calling this a hard launch, and we know that they have product out there. Only, no one can buy it until Sunday and Monday. The reason for this is that Best Buy is working with NVIDIA on this launch, and they will start selling their stock on Sunday. NVIDIA has informed us that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are poor days to launch new products, and in order to get the word out before Best Buy started selling cards, the most logical choice is to launch today. Right?

So, we are left with an odd situation where NVIDIA is launching a product that will be available in a brick and mortar store before it is available online, but without immediate availability at launch. This time, we're asking what you think. Is this a good thing? Certainly, getting parts out to physical locations anywhere near a launch is a great thing, but what do we need to see from a company in order to call something a hard launch?

This time around, we will adopt a wait-and-see attitude. We will base future reaction to and analysis of launches like this on what actually happens with this launch (when we go to Best Buy Sunday, there had better be some parts on the shelf) and the feedback that we get from our readers. The power is in your hands; let us know what you think in the comments.

UPDATE: We stand corrected. It has been brought to our attention that CompUSA has 7800 GS boards and is selling them. With that, we are quite impressed with the level of hardness that NVIDIA has brought forth: it's right off the end of the Mohs' scale.

Index The Card and The Test
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  • sandman74 - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link


    I hate to repeat what the others have said, but this review was borderline useless to the very people who would come here to find out how well the card performs...

    My other half has a 6600GT, and I have a 9800 Pro. How does the 7800 GS compare as an upgrade. NO IDEA is the conclusion I reached after reading your review, which has forced me to look elsewhere.

    I did however find the article interesting to see how it compared with PCI-E cards, but thats about it.

    I think you need to add in some more cards to THIS review, rather than letting everyone wait for another AGP comparison in a few weeks time.
    Reply
  • manno - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Is everyone overlooking the fact that this is going to be a part with a $399 MSRP?, and why no 6800GT AGP, or 6800GS AGP(same thing) an ommision like that is preaty bad. Reply
  • spinportal - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    So far the guesses have been between 300 and 350 USD for a plain vanilla or OC part. Reply
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    the MSRP of the 7800 GS AGP is indeed 349US, the OC parts are about MSRP 379US, however we will have to wait to see how this translate to street pricing.

    The X850 XT PCI-E/AGP is MSRP 499US, Street 200-250
    The 7800 GT PCI-E is MSRP 449US Street 275-300
    The 6800 GS PCI-E/AGP is MSRP 249US Street ~200
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Someone from AT should probably say this, but perhaps they think it's obvious:

    This article is about the launch of the NVidia GeForce 7800GS GPU. It is NOT about a particular vendor's board. Vendor boards are tested in vendor roundups or occaisionally individual board reviews.

    While I agree it would have been *interesting* to see the vendor cards tested at their shipping clock speeds, that is really for another article. A GPU launch article should test either reference hardware or vendor hardware set to reference clocks, and this article does exactly that. Period. Quit complaining.

    People should also keep in mind that neither AT nor most other sites re-run every benchmark on every card for every test. They test the new card on their standard hardware platform using current benchmarks, and then use benchmark numbers for other cards from recent tests. Older cards were last tested on an older platform using older benchmarks, so no comparable benchmark numbers are available.

    AT isn't going to re-benchmark a pile of older cards unless doing so is the POINT of the article. This article, again, is about the launch of a new GPU, not a 'Mid-range to High-end AGP Comparo' or '7800GS Vendor Roundup'.

    Reply
  • spinportal - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Then why doesn't AT just have a Video Chart that can pull similiar Min/Max/Avg FPS for each type of test at each resolution / AA / AF setting at-a-glance? Instead we have to muck around dozens of articles and have no generic yardstick. Why include the 7800GTX then if not to compare? Stop being an apologist. Reply
  • spinportal - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Let me be more clear..
    Why can't AT build an result aggregator database / spreadsheet?
    Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Your kidding right? Ok 1) You do realize that more than one person does reviews for Anandtech. 2) Due to 1 (see above), it would be a weebit difficult to ship the standardized review rig to each persons house. 3) The tests done on games change over time. When 6800 Ultra's were being reviewed, there was a totally different set of games being played. 4) As with 3 (see above), hardware changes over time. If they wanted to test on the same system for every graphics card YEARS apart, they would still be using a 486.

    This isnt Toms. If you want the VGA Charts, go get them.
    Reply
  • spinportal - Friday, February 03, 2006 - link

    Im sure this being a *technical* site, one can factor in plain vanilla CPU/mobo/chipset and formulize those effects vs. the video card. I guess Futuremark's database is closer to where I'm going, where its a composite scoring system, and then an overall, but not divergant and possibly too specialized and even misses the market's techniques. Tom's chart is a bit fuzzy to read it makes my eyes blur at times ;) I mean I could try to scour thru AT and do my own chart in excel (and factor in platform %), but who has time Reply
  • Sharptooth - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    First, I enjoyed this review as it has relevance to me (NF2 AGP user). However, as already mentioned, it would help to compare this card to other AGP cards (6600GT, 6800GT/Ultra, X800XT/PE, X850XT/PE) because AGP systems use these cards. That way, it'll help to access any inherent value (if any) to purchasing. Also, while most reviewers have chosen A64 AGP systems, benchmarking on other platforms (like Socket A) would be extremely appreciated as many (including me) still use these systems.

    --Fernando

    Reply

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