There are a couple of interesting developments in this launch that we would like to take the time to point out first. It is well worth noting that the 7300 GS will not launch first in the USA. We recently saw an Asia first launch from ATI as well, and NVIDIA cites the Chinese New Year as their reason for shifting things around. Parts aren't slated to start showing up state-side for a couple of weeks, and while we aren't getting the same style of hard launch that we are used to seeing, we will certainly be checking to make sure that we can find parts in Asian markets.

The "hard" launch is something that we don't want to let slip into oblivion. While on this side of the world, we essentially have a paper launch, yet we are at least thankful that parts will be available somewhere (China, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan). The logical end to the push for hard launches will eventually build to the point where we will want to see global availability at launch, but managing logistics on that level is out of reach for now. Generally, with a US hard launch, we get availability where the largest demand is centered. If NVIDIA really thinks that this part will sell amazingly well in Asia, then maybe launching there first is the right thing to do. At the same time, with the US having enjoyed the benefit of NVIDIA hard launches for so long, this move leaves us scratching our heads.

At the same time, we were just notified of this launch yesterday and we don't yet have parts to test. These two factors contribute to the reason why we are bringing out this brief overview article rather than an in-depth investigation. Usually, even if a part is launching elsewhere, we will have something to test, but budget parts like this can often slide under the radar. NVIDIA attributed the fact that they opted not to seed reviewers with cards to the common lack luster reviews for extreme budget hardware. While it is true that it's easier to get really excited about the "bigger, better, faster" of the high end market, the budget segment is one of the absolute most important. For this reason, either we must be a little concerned about the lack of importance placed on this chip or we must start to worry that there are other reasons why we don't have parts and heard about the card so late.

Why are good cheap cards necessary? Because many game developers write software for the least common denominator. The worst thing for gaming out right now is the poor feature set (and huge market share) of Intel's integrated graphics. When game developers can completely leave behind older techniques and move on to completely shader driven architectures featuring full floating point content, we will truly start to see the potential of programmable hardware mature. Even now, most developers are simply pasting some "cool effects" into games written around stale fundamental graphics architectures and most current HDR lighting is a hack that works around not having HDR artwork.

Fast, feature rich, and cheap are the three ingredients necessary for ATI and NVIDIA to help get game developers excited about pushing the limits of their craft. After all, no one wants to spend time pouring their heart and soul into something if the majority of people who buy it won't get the full experience. And here's to cards like the 7300 GS continuing the trend of raising the bar for budget parts. Now all we really need is for Intel to care about putting performance and quality into their graphics hardware.

We are quite interested in getting our hands on the GeForce 7300 GS in order to put it through its paces and see how NVIDIA's newest sub $100 part fairs. We are expecting some pretty good things as the new part combines the features of the 7 series parts at a nice low price point. The major upgrade from the 6200 series is that this part supports floating point framebuffer blends (the 6200 series was the only line of 6 series parts not to support this feature). FP16 framebuffer blends are becoming increasingly attractive to game developers who want to implement HDR lighting, and the 128 to 256 MB of RAM the 7300 GS will carry on board is plenty.

Let's take a look at what else the new 7 series part will have to offer.

What's Under The Hood?
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  • A554SS1N - Tuesday, February 7, 2006 - link

    Hi, just wondering when this card will be reviewed, now that 7300 cards are springing up everywhere, surely it's now possible to get hold of one?

    As far as I can tell from the very few shoddy reviews other sites have posted, it seems as though the 7300GS will probably be competition to an X600Pro and offer performance inbetween the NV43 6200 and a vanilla 6600, maybe even better in some situations where memory bandwidth isn't the promlem.

    I look forward to seeing an Anandtech review!!!!
  • Morro - Sunday, January 22, 2006 - link


    Likewise, the 256MB version of the 7300 will look like it has a 512MB framebuffer to software.

    Framebuffer?! Isn't it memory to store complete frames? As I inderstand videocard memory stores textures and data for GPU calculations.
  • gerf - Friday, January 20, 2006 - link


    NVIDIA's newest sub $100 part fairs.

    That'd be "fares" wouldn't it? :P

    Anywho, as a person who primarily uses his laptop, but would like a cheap-0 gaming computer, this would be ideal for me.
  • quasarsky - Friday, January 20, 2006 - link

    whats all the fuss about? who cares about hard launches. you can buy what was a paper launch, a x800xt now easy. i'm more concerned about it being availble years later when its in the 200-250 dollar price range. I don't have the big bucks to spend on 1500+ maybe crossfire/sli combos :-D.
  • Cerb - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    IGP may rule, but there are tons of gamers who don't have big wallets, and will gladly buy something like this. Unlike the GF4MX and FX5x00 (both of which were terrible, with the FX 5200/5300/5500 only being viable when it got to being about $40), I could recommend this (assuming the performance scales with the core speed) with a straight face as being moderately cheap and actually a decent value. While actual value goes up right to the 7800GT, hardly anyone has the money to put down for something like that.
  • slashbinslashbash - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    Or maybe somebody can post a link to something where I can make quick-and-easy comparisons? The cheapest and seemingly most plentiful budget card at any mainstream store such as Fry's still sadly remains the MX4000, which, if I'm not mistaken, is basically a castrated GeForce2. Truly I weep when I'm at Fry's and I see people spending $50 on these POS cards that my old GF2 GTS would beat. Yes, the 5x00 line sucked too, but I'm pretty sure even a 5200 would beat an MX4000 handily. But I can't see where Anandtech has *ever* benchmarked the MX4000. I just want some benchmarks so that I can have something solid to tell people and convince them to buy a better card.
  • slashbinslashbash - Saturday, January 21, 2006 - link

    Also, any chance we can get an update on the GPU and CPU cheatsheets? :)
  • SUOrangeman - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    Who uses VGA anymore? :)
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    "Who uses VGA anymore?"

    Just about everyone uses the analog output. Just because enthusiasts are all geeked-up about DVI doesn't mean more than a small percent of the actual market uses digital.

    That said, I do agree that I'd prefer to see all cards ship with dual-DVI, and 1 DVI-VGA adapter in the box. That would add cost though, which is why this isn't common yet.

  • ElFenix - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    how many products have ever shipped worldwide at once? none? how many graphics cards have been available on the day of launch? 2? and those within the last year? you make it sound as if 'hard launches' happen all the time, when they don't. the only thing the push for 'hard launches' is doing is pushing NDA dates back to where the manufacturer thinks they can have stock on shelves the next day. honestly, i'd much rather know a month in advance. now, true vaporware is a problem, but knowing a month in advance is not.

    and it's 'cite,' not 'site'.

    and hard launch is two words.

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