Introduction

While the industry has definitely firmly attached itself to PCI Express, many enthusiasts out there are still running AGP based systems. The cost of keeping up with the pace of technology is certainly steep, so upgrade cycles for some people stretch quite a bit longer than others. Even in cases where a technophile is able to upgrade frequently, no savvy user would just throw out last year's top of the line. If that AGP box doesn't become a hand-me-down to a friend or relative, keeping an older system around for some LAN gaming when guests come to visit is definitely a nice alternative to the trash heap.

Whatever the situation, there are plenty of people out there looking to extend the life of AGP systems in one way or another. And if gaming is a primary function of the computer, graphics card upgrades are most often the way to go for users who want the most bang for the buck. Luckily, NVIDIA hasn't left the users behind. Today, the GeForce 7800 GS makes its debut as NVIDIA's first AGP 7 Series product.

It is unknown whether further updates to the AGP lineup will present themselves, but NVIDIA has said that they will be able to adapt to the demands of the market. This part, like all other recent NVIDIA AGP parts, is made possible by use of their HSI (High Speed Interconnect), which is capable of connecting AGP and PCI Express busses together. The G70 part used on the 7800 GS is a native PCI Express part, and NVIDIA aren't planning on fabbing any more native AGP parts.

Some of you may remember that we took a look at a PCI Express 7800 GS (which will never exist) when an NVIDIA partner accidentally gave away an engineering sample instead of a 7800 GT in a promotion. The specifications of the AGP 7800 GS are not very far off the part that we tested a few months back, but on the AGP platform, there is considerably less competition at the top. Add to this the fact that some manufacturers are shipping boards with higher than stock core and memory speeds, and this part could definitely push an AGP system as far as it is likely to go.

Between a Rock and a Hard Launch
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  • Jojo7 - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    I agree.
    We need AGP 6800U thrown into the mix.
    Reply
  • fl0w - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    did you compare SC with SM1.1 path or did you run it on 3.0 for the Geforce?
    Didn't see it written somewhere so I thought I ask, because it would make a big difference....
    Reply
  • RamarC - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    "Our 7800 GS was tested with SM3.0 enabled and all the options while the X850 XT PE does not support these features.

    The price the 7800 GS pays for enabling HDR and other SM3.0 eye candy is that it is limited in playability to lower resolutions. Disabling the SM3.0 features would give performance quite a boost without AA (SM3.0 features are not available with AA enabled). "
    Reply
  • fl0w - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    thanks didn't see that... still can't find it btw, but at least now I know ;) Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Im a little bit dissapointed, overall. While I guess the 850XTPE is a pretty lofty card to try to beat, i was hoping for a little more power from this piece, to keep my AGP rig alive a little longer. :D

    Might have been a good idea to compare AGP and PCI-Ex versions of this card on the same board with a ASRock 939Dual-SATA2. I know weve gone over that terriroty before, but it would have still been interesting to me to see it again using this higher end part that likely would take a little bigger hit going through the HSI bridge. Just an idea.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    To be very clear -- in case the title didn't sink in :-)

    The 7800 GS will not have a PCI Express counterpart. This is an AGP only card.

    The engineering sample we tested last year was simply that and will never be anything more. There are a few differences as well, so a direct comparison isn't really possible.

    Thanks,
    Derek Wilson
    Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Doh, didnt get that the PCI-Ex version was NEVER coming out. Just thought it was coming out later. I read the title more as "NVIDIA's AGP Only VERSION of the 6800 GS" Im a jerk-face. My bad. :D Reply
  • Cygni - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    PS, throwing in the engineering sample would have still been pretty interesting, for me at least. :) Reply
  • gooser - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Or maybe, better yet....the 6800 GS agp? Those two would be the one of the top choices for an AGP upgrade. Reply
  • kalaap - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    I think its great that nvidia and ati are still releasing AGP parts. I've beeen planning on replacing my 9700pro so I like having so choices even if its very limited. Reply

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