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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  • mrdeez - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    also:maybe gaming in hi def......ona big screen
  • mrdeez - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Dude just stfu......we are here to comment what we want and say it freely......minus threats and name i said before this card is not for gamers...maybe elite gamers that have a monitor that does these resolutions but most gamers i know have went to lcd and i have yet to see any lcd[im sure there are some]do these resolutions so this card really is a card for crt elite with those resolutions on a 21 inch monitor you would need binoculars as glasses to play the game....the tanks on bf2 would be ant like small....
  • bob661 - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    I am SO glad that Anand remains in business despite all the bitches that are in these comment sections.
  • Locut0s - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Those who are complaining that they should have reviewed at lower resolutions should think for a minute. First of all you are talking about a 600 buck card, most people who have that kind of money to spend on a card also have a monitor that is capable of 1600x1200 or better. Also benchmarking at any lower resolution on a card like this in todays games is almost pointless as you are almost entirely CPU bound at those resolutions. Do you really want to see page after page of 1024x768 charts that differ by only 4-5 percent at the most?

    Also give the editors a break when it comes to writing these articles. As others have said this is not a subscription site and given the number of visitors and the quality of the articles I'm amazed, and gratified, that the people of Anandtech keep putting out article after long article despite all the winning that goes on over spelling mistakes and graph errors that more often than not are corrected within a few hours.
  • SDA - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    That's a really great comparison, #112, especially seeing as how we pay for AnandTech and any problems with it could leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere. And so witty, too!

    Jarred, ah, thanks.
  • Questar - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    "Our Web Editor is on vacation and we are all doing our own HTML and editing for the next 10 days. In our usual process, the article goes from an Editor to the Web Editor who codes the article, checks the grammar, and checks for obvious content errors. Those steps are not in the loop right now."

    " do know Derek as a very conscientious Editor and I would ask that you please give him, and the rest of us, a little slack this next week and a half"

    Dear Mr. Fink,
    I am sorry to hear about the problems you have had with your vehicle breakdowns. You see, our quality inspector was on vacation that week, so we just shipped our vehicles strait off the assembly line. Please cut us a little slack, as we usually build much better vehicles.

    Buncha Crap,
    Crappy Moters Inc.

  • frisbfreek - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    my question is how did they do hi res 2048x1536 when the card is only single-link DVI? Shouldn't either an analog connection or dual-link be necessary?
  • yacoub - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    #108 - what do you want, a $2000 CPU to go with your $1200 in GPUs? =P
  • CtK - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    so dual display is still not available with dual 7800s?!?!?!?!?
  • smn198 - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Come on Intel & AMD. Keep up!

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