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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  • Spoelie - Friday, February 03, 2006 - link

    I think you missed the point of this article. It was not meant as a review of the particular brands, but of the card nvidia just released. Those are the reference clocks and that's what nvidia is putting out right now, it is the baseline you can expect all the 7800gs cards to do, not what some brands may do. That they just happened to use an evga card to show it doesn't really have anything to do with the matter.

    I'm pretty sure there will be a followup article discussing the differences between the brands and their clocks, with some lower end comparison cards everyone is craving for thrown in for good measure. I hope you can leave your pants on till then.
  • mindless1 - Friday, February 03, 2006 - link

    If the context is seen as those cards, for that price, we can reasonably assume only someone ignorant of clock speeds would pay same price for a lower clocked stock card, else they'd planned to really o'c it themselves.

    So, we do care what some brands do because it's not that we're buying a "7800GS" if we do, rather we're buying a 7800GS for 7800GS performance levels which are not a conceptual thing but an actual product.

    Who wears pants? ;)
  • phaxmohdem - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    No kidding, I was actually VERY upset and confused as to why you downclocked the retail parts, or at least didn't run tests both ways. VERY poor reviewing on this one IMO, not typical of Anands norm. IF I go out and purchase a eVGA 7800GS for my FX-51 AGP system, I"m sure as hell not going to underclock it the second I get it. I would most likely just leave it at stock and call it a day.

    PLZ for the love of God, show us the true out of the box performance numbers, and compare it to other cards like my AGP x800XL, or the 6800GT/Ultra AGP parts.
  • bldckstark - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    This is my idea of a hard launch --> A buyer has to be able to purchase the part on the day of the launch, or it is not hard. Not ALL buyers, but enough stock so that parts are available to purchase nationally for at least 24 hours. Nationally meaning the part would have to be at a national retail chain (Best Buy, CompUSA, Fry's, etc.) or online where a price search engine can find it.

    So my definition of hard launch is, parts nationally available for 24 hours, or it is soft.

    What do the rest of you think? Fair or not?
  • dqniel - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Very fair. Reply
  • dqniel - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Very disappointing. This card at stock is $300 yet has worse performance than the x850xt in most cases which is about $210 now...

    Perhaps I need to see some results with this thing overclocked and the pipes unlocked (if they truely can be)
  • kmmatney - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    The AGP version of the X850xt is way higher than $210, more like around $400. IMO, its pointless to get it. You can just get a new mobo for the price difference, especially if you already have a good processor.

    When I went to PCIE, I bought a new mobo, Sempron 2800+, and X800GTO2, all for ~$350 $350. Then then sold my old setup for $150, so my net cost was $200, and I have a much faster cpu as well as a faster video card. Way better than paying $300 or so dollars just for a new video card.
  • OvErHeAtInG - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Well to be more accurate, the X850 XT AGP can be had for <250. Heck I bought an X800 XT PE last summer for $249 shipped, and some people are now getting the 850's for less than that. You don't see these deals widely advertised, as it would compete with the 800GTO's.

    Now to be fair, dgniel compared street prices of the X850 to MSRP of the 7800GS which is apples-to-oranges. But I don't think too many people pay $400 for X850 XT's anymore, seeing as a 7800GT will match its performance for 100 less and better feature set.
  • Avalon - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    So how many pixel pipelines does the card have, 16? Let's see some benches of it overclocked. Reply
  • rcxplane - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - link

    Check out this review">

    If the numbers are correct it shows an overclocked 7800GS with stock cooler getting a higher score than the 7800GT.
    I have read in several places that people have been able to unlock the unused pipelines and shaders using RivaTuner.
    If all this is true then Its a must buy for all of us still using AGP

    I agree with all above. I would also like to see the card compared to the AGP 6800GT and Ultra with OC scores.


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