MSI NX7800 GTX x 2: Retail SLI
The NX7800GTX & Some Eye Candy
MSI's NX7800GTX appeared to be physically identical to a reference GeForce 7800 GTX, save for the custom decal on the fan shroud. They both use a similar single-slot aluminum cooler with heat pipes and a radial fan. The fan pulls air in through the opening in the front of the shroud and blows it across the heatsink's fins. Then, the air is expelled from the rear of the cooler and blown across the heatsink in the card's VRM...
Just like NVIDIA's reference GeForce 7800 GTX, MSI's NX7800GTX GPU is clocked at 430MHz, and its 256MB of Samsung GDDR3 RAM is clocked at 1.2GHz (600MHz DDR). As you can see in the pics above, the MSI NX7800GTX's VRM is equipped with fewer capacitors than a 6800 GT or an Ultra, and a relatively large aluminum heat sink is visible on its MOSFET power array. The GPU cooler's fan is throttled based on the GPU temperature, but unlike older models that had only a few pre-set speeds for certain temperature ranges, the GTX's fan throttles more granularly on a "logarithmic" scale. This eliminates the abrupt change of pitch that some throttled fans exhibit when jumping from one speed to another. The configuration of the card's RAM is also slightly different then the previous generation. 256MB GeForce 6800 cards have all of their RAM packed onto one side of the PCB. The MSI NX7800GTX, however, has only 128MB of RAM situated on either side of the card,for a total of 256MB, which should help with heat dissipation.
MSI's NX7800GTX cards also sport dual-DVI outputs and a TV output, along with the same SLI connector found on the GeForce 6 Series of cards. The DVI and TV outputs can be used to power dual independent displays simultaneously, or four displays should two of these cards be running in an SLI configuration.
We've done quite a few image quality comparisons using NVIDIA's or ATI's latest hardware, so we won't be going in-depth again here. We do, however, have a few swank screenshots for you, to showcase what the MSI NX7800GTX is capable of (Note: The texture shimmering issue being discussed as of late is not noticeable in static screenshots). We snapped off a few shots using the relatively new F.E.A.R. demo with 8xS anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled. As you can see, the quality is excellent. We also took the included copy of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and took a few screenshots with that as well, but this time it was with SLI16X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled. Although the game was just a bit choppy, we've never seen it look this good.