The Card, Specs and Test

The basic setup of the GeForce 7800 GT is the same as the GTX. We still have one single and one dual-link DVI port and a 6-pin power connector on a x16 PCI Express card. The stock HSF solution is the same, and the silicon hasn't changed either. The GT is still based on the G70 with a few blocks disabled.

The G70 on the 7800 GT features 7 vertex pipelines, 20 pixel pipelines and lower clock speeds (400/500 core/mem) than the GTX. This still ends up putting the 7800 GT above the 6800 Ultra in terms of vertex and pixel performance even though it lags in core and mem speed. Here's a quick table of the differences between the current high end NVIDIA parts.

Card Comparison
6800 Ultra 7800 GT 7800 GTX
Vertex Pipes 6 7 8
Pixel Pipes 16 20 24
ROP Pipes 16 16 16
Core Clock 425 400 430
Mem Clock 550 500 600
MSRP $399 $449 $599


The 7800 GT comes in the lowest on clock speed and memory bandwidth, but the combination of pipelines and clock speed give the 7 series GT a definite theoretical advantage over the 6800 Ultra in the vertex and pixel processing department. Obviously, the GTX has all the rest beat, but the real question is: how much real world difference will it make? We've already seen that the 7800 GTX performs very well compared to the 6800 Ultra, and, ideally, we would like to see the GT split the numbers. That would leave all three cards with viable performance characteristics.

Price is a very important matter in viability as well, and it is very difficult to tell where the chips will fall. As we can already see with the 7800 GTX, a six hundred dollar suggested price has resulted in street prices mostly between five hundred and five hundred fifty dollars. We don't expect the price of the GT to fall one hundred dollars as quickly as the GTX, but the prices that we see on our Real Time Price Engine show GT products available starting around $400.

Even though NVIDIA haven't recently adjusted their suggested price on 6800 Ultra cards, if the prices don't fall, there will really be no reason to buy a 6800 Ultra (unless it's desperately needed for an SLI update). The suggested retail prices on the 6800 GT and vanilla 6800 have been changed to $299 and $199 respectively. The new pricing layout does give the 6800 Ultra some ability to move down in price a little, if the 7800 GT outperforms it as we expect. It is also possible that the similarity in the price between the 6800 Ultra and the 7800 GT could mean that the 6800 Ultra is being phased out.

Aside from the rather less than spectacular differences between the GT and GTX, we still need to learn about performance. Potentially, this card could be a good buy depending on the numbers that we see. If performance is near that of the GTX, we could save money and still have a very powerful card. If we see numbers near the 6800 Ultra, then we are likely looking at a simple replacement for the 6800 Ultra in NVIDIA's lineup.

The test setup that we used for these performance numbers is the same as the one used in the last few graphics performance articles that we've done:

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 Processor
1 GB OCZ 2:2:2:6 DDR400 RAM
Seagate 7200.7 120 GB Hard Drive
OCZ 600 W PowerStream Power Supply


We used the NVIDIA 77.77 ForceWare beta driver running on Windows XP SP2.

Index Battlefield 2 Performance
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  • bob661 - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Transparency AA


    Forgot all about this. Thanks.
    Reply
  • jkostans - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    The 9800 pro had to be the best budget investment in all of video card history (as far as I can remember anyways). The price for the 128MB version quickly dropped to below $200 and it was pretty much the top performing card on the market for that price. Now its impossible to find a sub $200 offering that will last for more than 6 months. Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    quote:

    Until performance is increased beyond the 7800 GTX


    Same here, sort of. I would LOVE to have a mid range card based on this tech. Running cooler and performing MUCH better than my current setup.
    Reply
  • neogodless - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    I think what the two of you are missing is that the Geforce 6 series is basically the same technology. This pushes the 6800GT a little closer to mainstream, as it can currently be had for around $250-300, and it will probably drop in the next few months to the $200 level, which is about where it could be considered mainstream (and probably about what you paid for your 6600GT. Any new "mainstream" 7xxx releases would simply overlap current 6xxx parts. If the 7xxx series showed more of a technological difference, then this sort of thing would make more sense. If you go to Nvidia's home page, you'll see their "power of 3" marketing push, and see the list of products that all share this same technology. Reply
  • Lonyo - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    Yup.
    The original request was for "Like a 12-16 pipe/ 256-bit 7600 GT"
    Err, the 6800, 6800GT are 12 and 16 pipe, 256bit SM3 cards.
    How would a 7600GT type part be ANY different than what we already have, except for being cooler/cheaper to make?
    In terms of performance, it's just a case of the 6800 dropping down to cheaper prices.
    And as I said in the forums:
    "Lower end redesigned parts to replace the 6xxx series would probably use 11nm tech, which would lead to smaller dies, and lower power consumption, reducing heat in the end, and reducing cost to make the die in the first place, making it a better deal for both consumers and nVidia, although transitioning the NV40 to 0.11 might not be worth the hassle."
    ie: there's already a current part fitting the niche you want a brand new part for, and the probable only changes would be a transition to a smaller process, and a dropping of the price.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    Like I said, I find the cooler/faster combination VERY attractive. I don't care about the 6800GT as it will be warmer/slower than a "7600GT". Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, August 12, 2005 - link

    While the 6800GT would be warmer than a hypothetical 16-pipe 7600GT, it would not be slower. On the contrary, the 6800GT would probably be faster. Why? Because it has a 256-bit memory-bus, and in all probability the 7600 series would have a 128-bit bus.

    The 6800 and 7800 series are designed as high-end parts and for that they need the 256-bit bus to allow satisfactory performance at the extreme resolutions with AA that high-end users demand. The 6600 and possible 7600 are designed as mid-range parts and they do not need to be able to run at such high resolutions with AA, therefore they can make do with a 128-bit bus as memory-bandwidth is not so important at medium resolutions. The 128-bit bus lowers the cost of manufacturing the core, and also the card's circuit board as it is much simplified, and provides a clear distinction between the mid-range and high-end parts.

    Do you really think they'd release a 16-pipe 256-bit 7600GT, when the 7800GT is "only" a 20-pipe card? The performance gap would be too narrow. A 12-pipe 256-bit 6600GT would be a possibility, but it would make a lot less sense than a 16-pipe 128-bit 6600GT.

    If you want a 16-pipe 256-bit card, just go out and buy a 6800GT. It's every bit as good as the 16-pipe 256-bit 7600GT you want but which will never be released.
    Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Friday, August 12, 2005 - link

    Ooops the third paragraph should read "Do you really think they'd release a 16-pipe 256-bit 7600GT, when the 7800GT is "only" a 20-pipe card? The performance gap would be too narrow. A 12-pipe 256-bit 7600GT would be a possibility, but it would make a lot less sense than a 16-pipe 128-bit 7600GT."

    I started calling the 7600GT the 6600GT.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    It may be basically the same tech but my 6600GT will never perform like a "7600GT" would. And that's basically what I'm interested in. I don't see why a 7600GT part couldn't be sold at the $200-$220 price point. I'd buy it. Reply
  • neogodless - Thursday, August 11, 2005 - link

    Likewise your 6600GT won't perform like a 6800GT... which would perform the same as a 7600GT... the 6800GT will be sold in the $200-$220 price point within six months, and probably sooner.

    What I might find exciting... would be if ATI actually gets their new card out... and has new mainstream parts (available to buy) that drive down the prices of the X800/X850 and Geforce 6800GT even more, and maybe introduce some new technology, too.

    Has anyone heard anything about naming of the new ATI cards? Are they finally ready to give up the Radeon name... or their new X naming? If they went with X900 for the new flagship, would they be able to release new mainstream parts, since there would be nothing to name them?!
    Reply

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