A vast expanse of destruction lies before you. Billowing blue smoke rises from the ashes of the destroyed city, and flames continue to lick towards the sky. The horizon shimmers from the heat waves and smoke emanating from the rubble. As you proceed into the wreckage, your boots splash through puddles, sending out ripples and churning up the ashes. One of the buildings appears to have escaped most of the force of the blast, so you head towards it hoping to find some shelter and a place to relax for a moment.

A glint of light reflects off of the cracked windows, and you instinctively dive to the ground. A split second later, the glass shatters and fragments rain down around you as the bullet misses its intended mark. You roll to the side and watch as dirt and rubble plumes into the air from the spot you so recently occupied. As you marvel at the small particles of dirt scattering into the air, you realize it's already too late; you're too far from cover and the sniper is skilled. As your body slams towards the ground and the scene fades to black, you're glad to know that this was only a game, regardless of how lifelike it appears...

That's not a description of any actual game, but it could be in the very near future judging by the progress we continue to see on the graphics front. The attempt to bring such visions to life is reason enough for us to encourage and revere continued excellence in the field of computer graphics. The ongoing struggle between ATI and NVIDIA to bring forth the most parallel and powerful GPUs at reasonable prices opens new possibilities to developers, pushing them to create content beyond the realm of dreams and move onto ground where angles fear to tread: reality. With each successive generation we work our way closer and closer to blurring the line between reality and rendering, while every step leaves us wanting more. Once again it is time to check in on our progress down the infinite road to graphical perfection.

The latest offering from NVIDIA does not offer a host of new features or any upgraded shader model version support as have the past few generations. The NV4x architecture remains a solid base for this product as the entire DirectX 9 feature set was already fully supported in hardware. Though the G70 (yes, the name change was just to reconcile code and marketing names) is directly based on the NV4x architecture, there are quite a few changes to the internals of the pipelines as well as an overall increase in the width and clock speed of the part. This new update much resembles what we saw when ATI moved from R300 to R420 in that most of the features and block diagrams are the same as last years part with a few revisions here and there to improve efficiency.

One of the most impressive aspects of this launch is that the part is available now. I mean right now. Order it today and plug it in tomorrow. That's right, not only has NVIDIA gotten the part to vendors, but vendors have gotten their product all the way to retailers. This is unprecedented for any graphics hardware launch in recent memory. In the midst of all the recent paper launches in the computer hardware industry, this move is a challenge to all other hardware design houses.

ATI is particularly on the spot after today. Their recent history of announcing products that don't see any significant volume in the retail market for months is disruptive in and of itself. Now that NVIDIA has made this move, ATI absolutely must follow suit. Over the past year, the public has been getting quite tired of failed assurances that product will be available "next week". This very refreshing blast of availability is long overdue. ATI cannot afford to have R520 availability "soon" after launch; ATI must have products available for retail purchase at launch.

We do commend NVIDIA for getting product out there before launching it. But now we move on to the least pleasant side of this launch: price. The GeForce 7800 GTX will cost a solid $600. Of course, we do expect retailers to charge a premium for the early adopters. Prices we are seeing at launch are on the order of $650. This means those who want to build an SLI system based on the GeForce 7800 GTX will be paying between $1200 and $1300 just for the graphics component of their system.

So, what exactly is bigger better and faster this time around? And more importantly, what does that mean for game performance and quality (and is it worth the price)? This is the right place to find the answers. As developers continue to grow in shader prowess, we expect to see hardware of this generation stretch its legs even more as NVIDIA believes this is the point where pure math and shader processing power will become the most important factor in graphics hardware.

The Pipeline Overview
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  • Diasper - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    oops posted before i wrote anything. Some of the results are impressive, others aren't at all. In fact results seem to be all over the board - I suspect drivers are something of the culprit and are to be blamed. Hopefully, as new drivers come out we'll see some performance increases or at least more a uniform distribution of good results
  • Diasper - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

  • Live - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    Derek get cracking, the graphs are all messed up! And the Transparency AA Performance section could use some info on what game it is tested on and some more comments. I also think that each benchmark warrants some comments for all of us that have a hard time remembering two numbers at the same time. Keep it simple folks….
  • Johnmcl7 - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    I agree something is wrong with these results, I thought they were odd but when I got to the Enemy Territory ones they seem completely wrong - at 2048x1536 and 4xAA the X850XT is apparently getting 104 fps, while the 6800 Ultra gets 48.3 and the SLI 6800 Ultras are only getting 34.6 fps! Especially bearing in mind it's an OpenGL game.

  • rimshot - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    This has got to be an error by Anandtech, all other reviews show the 7800GTX in SLI at those same settings hammering the 6800Ultra in SLI.
  • Lonyo - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    The benchmarks are all a load of crap it seems.
    Check the Wolfenstein benchmarks.
    The X850XT goes from 74fps @ 1600x1200 w/4xAA to 103fps @ 2048x1536 w/4xAA
    A 33% increase when the res gets turned up. Good one.

    There also seem to be many other similar things which look like errors, but they could just be crappy nVidia drivers, or something wrong with SLI profiles.

    Who knows, but there's definately a lot of things which look VERY odd/suspicious here.
  • Dukemaster - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    My Iiyama VMP 454 does 2048 no prob so i'm game :p
  • vanish - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    oh and in several of the benchmarks, the 6800U SLI more than doubles the performance over the single 6800U. Is that normal? I thought SLI gains were generally about 45% or so.
  • rimshot - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    Is it just me or is it a little strange that the 6800Ultra SLI outperforms the 7800GTX SLI at 1600x1200 with 4xAA in every benchmark ???
  • PrinceXizor - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    No comment on the fact that in virtually every game it LOSES to the 6800 SLI at 1600x1200 at 4XAA.

    All other scores look very impressive. But, in this particualar group of settings, the 6800 SLI eats it for lunch.


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