Gigabyte GV-NX78T256V-B 7800GT
The Gigabyte GV-NX78T256V looks to be strictly based on NVIDA GeForce 7800 GT reference design, with nothing more than some fancy graphics placed over the standard copper heatsink/fan combo. There doesn't seem to be the same attention-to-detail spent on this card as on some of their previous models, such as the custom fanless heatsinks on the GV-RX80L512V X800XL or the truly beautiful GV-NX68T256DH GeForce 6800 GT, with its dark PCB and golden HSF. Perhaps Gigabyte simply wanted to bring this card out quickly and will come out with a new, custom revision sometime down the road; only time will tell.
The layout is strictly by numbers. The oversized heatsink covers not only the GPU, running at a fairly modest 400MHz, but the memory chips as well. Air is thus funneled in via the relatively smaller fan and forced out of the vents towards the rear of the card. It's not the quietest card, as the fan spins quite quickly in order to generate the airflow needed to cool down the components, but it's no ear-buster either. Finally, as with all other current GeForce models, there's a gold connector along the top of the card that is used for connecting two cards in SLI mode. Interesting to note, no longer are two of the same cards needed to run in SLI -- starting with the ForceWare 80 drivers, users can use two cards from different vendors.
We laid down the Gigabyte GV-NX78T256V-B directly next to the MSI NX6800GT that will be used for benchmark comparisons, and size-wise the two cards are nearly identical. Thus, if you had space issues with the length of the 6800GTs, you'll undoubtedly run into the same issues with the 7800GTs. Both cards take up only one slot, as the heatsink is heavy, yet slim enough to prevent touching a card placed nearby. With so little attention paid to third party add-in cards these days, this is barely even an issue, but when using SLI it's good to know there's decent room for airflow between the two graphic cards. Typical of most PCI-e cards, a 6-pin power connector is placed right at the upper edge. Most never power supplies come with at least one 6-pin power cable, but Gigabyte has provided a splitter for those who don't have one.
The bundle, much like the card itself, provides sufficient resources without doing anything to actually stand out and make potential buyers take notice. Bundled in applications include Cyberlink's Power Director 3 and PowerDVD 6, the latter of which is found on Gigabyte's driver disc. There are no other custom applications that we've become accustomed to, such as overclocking or temp/voltage monitoring software. The game "collection" is also a bit light, throwing in some pretty much unknown titles such as SpellForce - The Order of Dawn, an RPG game which typically doesn't push the graphics barrier, and Xpand Rally, a racing game that looks great, although rally racing has a smaller following in the U.S. than it does in, Europe.
On the hardware front, there's basically the minimum that one need's to get by, with a power cord that diverts two MOLEX power cables into a 6-pin PCI-Express connector and a DVI-to-VGA adaptor. Gigabyte also threw in a HDTV/VIVO cable, to allow the card to be used for video editing. As you can see, there's little here to make Gigabyte's GV-NX78T256V-B stand out from the competition.