NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
Introduction & Specifications
Back in April of last year, NVIDIA released the GeForce 6800 Ultra and began to rebuild a reputation that had been tarnished by a couple of products that didn't quite live up to the expectations of many hard-core gamers. The GeForce 6800 Ultra, unlike the GeForce FX line of products that came before it, had more features than competing high-end products from ATI, and its performance was far superior than anything ATI had available at the initial time of launch. Soon after the release of the GeForce 6800 Ultra, though, ATI brought its Radeon X800 Series of cards to market and closed the performance gap, but NVIDIA's flagship still was considered more feature-rich, with full Pixel Shader 3.0 support. However, with subsequent driver releases, determining which card was the better overall performer became increasingly more difficult. Depending on which applications were used to gauge performance, the pendulum could swing either way.
Today, NVIDIA is aiming to change all this, with the launch of the GeForce 7800 GTX. The GeForce 7800 GTX is NVIDIA's latest Shader Model 3.0 architecture, which the company claims offers vastly improved performance and a handful of new features over its previous flagship card. We've have a pair of GeForce 7800 GTX cards in the lab for a while, and have done some testing of our own in an attempt to verify NVIDIA's claims. The information on the pages ahead details our experience with the GeForce 7800 GTX. Strap yourself in and prepare yourself for a wild ride. This one's a screamer...
Looking at the specifications above, it's clear that the GPU, formerly codenamed "G70," that's powering the GeForce 7800 GTX is very similar to the NV40, now known as the GeForce 6800 Ultra. If you haven't already done so, we strongly recommend reading our article covering the launch of the GeForce 6800 Ultra (available here). There is a lot of information in that piece that we won't be covering in-depth here again. The G70 does have a few unique features, though, that aren't available on any of the GeForce 6 Series of cards, that we'll cover a little later on in this article. For example, the GeForce 7800 GTX has support for new anti-aliasing modes that aim to improve the appearance of partially transparent textures, such as those used in many outdoor scenes for foliage (Intellisample 4.0). And the GeForce 7800 GTX also has an updated dedicated video processor, with more features than the previous generation (PureVideo), and it has enhancements to its pixel and vertex shader pipelines for increased performance, as well (CineFX 4.0).
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