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  Gigabyte GeForce 7800 GTX review

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The sixth generation of NVIDIA graphics products was a great success that saw the company quickly recover from the previous generation disaster. Their partners are happy and the sales figures are clearly the reason for this. With minimal chip shortages, NVIDIA has done well to cover the majority of the market segment with a range of new products.

Currently, ATI offers a bigger range of PCI Express graphics cards when compared to NVIDIA. However, this is not to say the ATI products are out right better, quite the contrary really. There has been no way to really determine a winner as neither brand offers consistent performance in all games. Past results have shown that either company can shine in a particular game, for example NVIDIA has proven to be the king of Doom 3.

The GeForce 6 series was built around the NV4x architecture which has been carried through to the latest generation. The core that has been codenamed G70 is the heart and soul of the new GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card. This product is based on the NV4x architecture, yet there have been a number of important changes made to improve the product. These improvements include increased clock speeds and more importantly bandwidth, thanks to the additional rendering pipelines. There is also an extra two vertex pipelines bringing the grand total to eight, while this is not a feature that will greatly benefit users today, it will certainly be a handy feature in the future.

Despite all the impressive features the GeForce 7800 GTX has to offer, there is something else about this card that I am far more impressed with and that is its availability. The moment NVIDIA lifted the NDA on the GeForce 7800 GTX, it was available for purchase everywhere. This is highly unusual and NVIDIA really has done well to achieve this. The ability to get products such as the GeForce 7800 GTX, in large volumes to retailers instantly, will give NVIDIA a great deal of leverage over ATI. This is something ATI has struggled with in the past and it has cost them dearly with their latest generation of products.

When push comes to shove, I often find that Gigabyte is among the quickest to deliver products, such as the GeForce 7800 GTX. This is obviously due to the fact that Gigabyte is a tier-one manufacturer with a great deal of resources at their disposal. Many years ago when I found myself building my first computer, the shelves were lined with Gigabyte products; from motherboards to graphics cards, you name it. Not much has changed over the years and Gigabyte is still one of the easiest to come by names in the industry. They are also a highly respected manufacturer and their reputation has continued to serve them well over the years. 

Before we move on, here is a quick summary of the GeForce 7800 GTX. As mentioned, the card does utilize 24 pixel pipelines, the core is clocked at 430MHz with the GDDR3 memory clocked at 1200MHz. As I have discovered when using GDDR3, it is highly overclockable, meaning these cards should offer a great deal of overclocking potential. Just like the Gigabyte GeForce 6800 Ultra, there is no physical difference in appearance from the NVIDIA reference design. This is a little disappointing as I was really hoping to see Gigabyte do something impressive with their GeForce 7800 GTX cards.

Nevertheless, they still look impressive and more importantly will only vacate a single slot in the case. Furthermore, Gigabyte has most probably followed the NVIDIA reference design to save on cost. After all, the average GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card will retail for a lazy $650. This means if you were to build a GeForce 7800 GTX SLI system it would cost around $1200-1300 just for the graphics cards! This really is no different to GeForce 6800 Ultra pricing when these cards were first released; on a positive note SLI capable motherboards are now much more affordable.



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