The Card & Software Utilities Up Close
Take a standard reference design, build, test, and validate it at above specification clock speeds and you have what BFG is bringing to market with their GeForce 7800GTX OC. It almost makes you wonder what clock speed a GeForce 7800 "Ultra" might run at, doesn't it? Great minds think alike...
The beauty of the GeForce 7800GTX's design is its single slot-sized cooling solution, which may be a big plus to some of you, while others wouldn't mind a two-slot solution if it meant an exhaust system was incorporated into the design. For sure the new GeForce 7800GTX does put out a fair amount of heat at standard clock speeds, never mind being slightly overclocked. However, we've tested this BFG GF7800GTX card in a multitude of closed-case environments and its thermals were manageable and reasonable. Regardless, a little birdie tells us that "OTES" (outside thermal exhaust system) style or Arctic Cooling style solutions are coming to the GeForce 7800 in the future. This wasn't a BFG birdie that gave us this tip but perhaps BFG might consider the option as well? In any event, there are obviously pros and cons to the single slot or dual slot design, depending on your perspective.
Beyond that, there really isn't much more to report that we haven't already covered, with this new BFG version of the GeForce 7800GTX, at least from a hardware perspective. The card is well built and has an extremely clean and efficient design that does a great job of packing a whole lot of performance into a reasonable profile, as is the case with NVIDIA's basic reference design as well.
Game Drive: We'll keep this section succinct and to the point as we intend to give you just a glimpse of a couple of the software perks that come along with BFG's bundle for their GeForce 7800GTX OC card. First is GameDrive 9, which is a CD/DVD caching program that emulates the computer's physical CD/DVD-ROM drive, enabling end users to run PC games directly from their hard drives without the use of the physical CD/DVD drive or the actual game disc. You can then also share these VCDs or "virtual CDs" on a LAN for multi-user access.
The program also includes a virtual disk caching system which essentially creates a RAM Drive from system memory and uses it to load files into memory, emulating a hard disk function but with the obvious benefit of faster load times with less actual hard disk access. This comes at the expense of available system memory of course. We tested the basic version of GameDrive 9 (they want you to upgrade to the full version of course to get full functionality) with our Battlefield 2 CD play-disc and it worked like a charm, affording us the ability to jump into either single player or multiplayer internet action without any CD in the system. As an aside the record time estimation to copy the virual CD to your hard disk, that is noted in the screen shot is not accurate. Gamedrive 9 reported that it would take an hour to create the VCD when in actuality it only took about 15 - 20 minutes reading from our 48X CD/16X DVD drive.
NV DVD: NVIDIA, like ATi, has also developed their own DVD and Multimedia player, entitled NVDVD 2.0. BFG bundled this A/V utility in with the card and its free-of-charge with features and playback quality rivaling those of PowerDVD and WinDVD, which are the most common DVD players we've seen bundled in from various AIBs.