Introduction, Specifications & The Card
AGP was supposed to fade away after the insurgence of PCI Express, wasn't it? Well yes, it was and it will in time, but as we're showing you today you can still breathe some new life into an aging AGP based system, thanks to NVIDIA. While PCI Express is the current interface of choice for new graphics products, the existing installed base of AGP equipped systems is huge. And many of these users would like to upgrade their video cards, but simply don't have the funds, or choose not to, upgrade their motherboards and perhaps processors as well. Upgrading to a PCIe based video card these days would mean getting a whole new motherboard, if you're still using a motherboard with an AGP slot. For the sake of providing a solid upgrade from existing AGP solutions, without having to break your bank account, NVIDIA is announcing their fastest AGP card yet, the GeForce 7800GS AGP.
The reference clock speeds for the GeForce 7800 GS are 375MHz for the core, with a 1.2GHz memory speed. As is the case with many of NVIDIA's current offerings though, they've given some flexibility with the clock speeds to their partners. Today we'll be looking at XFX's version of the GeForce 7800 GS, which boasts a 440MHz core speed, and 256MB of 1.3GHz DDR3 memory.
Due to the fact that the new NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS GPU is based upon the same core architecture as the GeForce 7800 GTX, it shares essentially the same feature set as its higher-powered counterpart. We've detailed NVIDIA's latest architecture in-depth in our original coverage of the GeForce 7800 GTX launch back in June, so we'd recommend perusing that article if you're not familiar with what the GTX brings the table.
On top of everything offered by NVIDIA's previous flagship AGP card, the GeForce 6800 Ultra, the GeForce 7800 GS GPU incorporates new anti-aliasing modes in the Intellisample 4.0 engine that improve the appearance of partially transparent textures, such as those used in many outdoor scenes for foliage. The GeForce 7800 GS also has an updated PureVideo processor, with more features than its predecessor. And of course, the GeForce 7800 GS has enhancements to its pixel and vertex shader pipelines for increased performance, as well.
The GeForce 7800 GS is a 16-pixel pipeline part, with 6 vertex shaders, 8 ROPs, and a 256-bit memory interface. Other than these specifications, the GS shares essentially the same feature set with other products in the GeForce 7 family.
Pictured Here: The XFX GeForce 7800 GS
Core Clock: 440MHz
Memory Clock: 1.3GHz
Frame Buffer: 256MB
Their GeForce 7800 GS shipped in XFX's signature "X" shape box. Inside you'll find a molex connector splitter, DVI to VGA converter, S-Video cable, a users manual and a quick installation guide. It's a fairly spartan bundle with no games to show off the technology. The card itself is fairly large, about the size of a 6800 Ultra, but with a much smaller cooler. The fan does a good job of keeping things cool, and isn't at all that loud. One problem we ran into with our sample though, was that the shroud was making contact with the fan's blades, causing the fan to spin incorrectly. We feel this is an isolated incident, and we don't expect it to be a wide spread problem.