Introduction

A vast expanse of destruction lies before you. Billowing blue smoke rises from the ashes of the destroyed city, and flames continue to lick towards the sky. The horizon shimmers from the heat waves and smoke emanating from the rubble. As you proceed into the wreckage, your boots splash through puddles, sending out ripples and churning up the ashes. One of the buildings appears to have escaped most of the force of the blast, so you head towards it hoping to find some shelter and a place to relax for a moment.

A glint of light reflects off of the cracked windows, and you instinctively dive to the ground. A split second later, the glass shatters and fragments rain down around you as the bullet misses its intended mark. You roll to the side and watch as dirt and rubble plumes into the air from the spot you so recently occupied. As you marvel at the small particles of dirt scattering into the air, you realize it's already too late; you're too far from cover and the sniper is skilled. As your body slams towards the ground and the scene fades to black, you're glad to know that this was only a game, regardless of how lifelike it appears...


That's not a description of any actual game, but it could be in the very near future judging by the progress we continue to see on the graphics front. The attempt to bring such visions to life is reason enough for us to encourage and revere continued excellence in the field of computer graphics. The ongoing struggle between ATI and NVIDIA to bring forth the most parallel and powerful GPUs at reasonable prices opens new possibilities to developers, pushing them to create content beyond the realm of dreams and move onto ground where angles fear to tread: reality. With each successive generation we work our way closer and closer to blurring the line between reality and rendering, while every step leaves us wanting more. Once again it is time to check in on our progress down the infinite road to graphical perfection.

The latest offering from NVIDIA does not offer a host of new features or any upgraded shader model version support as have the past few generations. The NV4x architecture remains a solid base for this product as the entire DirectX 9 feature set was already fully supported in hardware. Though the G70 (yes, the name change was just to reconcile code and marketing names) is directly based on the NV4x architecture, there are quite a few changes to the internals of the pipelines as well as an overall increase in the width and clock speed of the part. This new update much resembles what we saw when ATI moved from R300 to R420 in that most of the features and block diagrams are the same as last years part with a few revisions here and there to improve efficiency.

One of the most impressive aspects of this launch is that the part is available now. I mean right now. Order it today and plug it in tomorrow. That's right, not only has NVIDIA gotten the part to vendors, but vendors have gotten their product all the way to retailers. This is unprecedented for any graphics hardware launch in recent memory. In the midst of all the recent paper launches in the computer hardware industry, this move is a challenge to all other hardware design houses.

ATI is particularly on the spot after today. Their recent history of announcing products that don't see any significant volume in the retail market for months is disruptive in and of itself. Now that NVIDIA has made this move, ATI absolutely must follow suit. Over the past year, the public has been getting quite tired of failed assurances that product will be available "next week". This very refreshing blast of availability is long overdue. ATI cannot afford to have R520 availability "soon" after launch; ATI must have products available for retail purchase at launch.

We do commend NVIDIA for getting product out there before launching it. But now we move on to the least pleasant side of this launch: price. The GeForce 7800 GTX will cost a solid $600. Of course, we do expect retailers to charge a premium for the early adopters. Prices we are seeing at launch are on the order of $650. This means those who want to build an SLI system based on the GeForce 7800 GTX will be paying between $1200 and $1300 just for the graphics component of their system.

So, what exactly is bigger better and faster this time around? And more importantly, what does that mean for game performance and quality (and is it worth the price)? This is the right place to find the answers. As developers continue to grow in shader prowess, we expect to see hardware of this generation stretch its legs even more as NVIDIA believes this is the point where pure math and shader processing power will become the most important factor in graphics hardware.

The Pipeline Overview
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  • mrdeez - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    Derek-
    Please post benches with resolutions that are commonly used or this article becomes a workstatin graphics card article and not one for gamers....I mean really 2046x3056 or whatever the hell...lol...#1 who games at that res??? While this card is powerful it should be mentioned that unless you use a res over 1600x12000 this card is unnecessary.......lol those were some ridculous resolutions though.......and again post some benches with 1280x1024 for us lcd'ers.....
    Reply
  • Shinei - Thursday, June 23, 2005 - link

    #95: Did you pay to read this article? I know I didn't...

    #94: I guess you missed the part where they said that all resolutions below 1600x1200 were essentially identical in performance? If you only play in 1024x768, why are you reading a review about a $600 video card--go buy a 6600GT instead.
    Reply
  • jeffrey - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    #83

    Has the staff at Anandtech not ever heard of "Vacation Coverage"?

    The excuse of your Web Editor being on vacation is, in reality, an admission of improper planning.

    A major hardware site that is dedicated to cutting-edge technology should have planned better. New high-end GPU launches happen by NVIDIA only about 2-3 times a year at most.

    This was one of the HUGE launches of the year and it was messed-up becuase the team didn't feel it was important enough to get some help for the article. There was damage done to Anandtech today due to the article errors and due to the casual admission in post #83 about not caring to properly cover a "Super Bowl" type of product launch today.

    Save your apologies to the message board, give them to Anand.
    Reply
  • geekfool - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    How about benchmarking some useful resolutions? This review was essentially useless. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    86 - Trust me, most of us other editors saw the article, and quite a few of us offered a helping hand. NDAs a a serious pain in the rear, though. Derek was busy pulling all nighters and functioning on limited sleep for several days, and just getting the article done is only half the battle. Getting the document and results into the document engine for a large article with a lot of graphs can take quite a while and is an error prone process.

    The commentary on the gaming benchmarks, for instance, was written in one order and posted in a different order. So please pardon the use of "this is another instance" or "once again" when we're talking about something for the first time. Anyway, I've got a spreadsheet of the benchmarks from early this morning, and other than non-functional SLI in a few games, the numbers appeared more or less correct. The text also didn't have as many typos. Crunch time and getting the final touches put on a major article isn't much fun.

    Thankfully, I'm just the SFF/Guide man, so I'm rarely under NDA pressure. ;)
    Reply
  • robp5p - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    I would love to see someone start benchmarking in widescreen resolutions! 1920x1200 begs for a fast video card like this. As was pointed out, the only real benefits of the 7800 come at high resolutions, and many people buying high resolution monitors these days are getting widescreen LCD's

    and btw, my 2405fpw is sitting in a box right next to me in the office, begging me to open it up before I get home...this thing will be fun to get home on the subway
    Reply
  • patriot336 - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    Where is the Monarch and Tiger love?
    TigerDirect http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtool...

    Monarchcomputer http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant....

    Both are 599.00$
    Reply
  • BikeDude - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    $600 for a card that only features single-link DVI outputs? Yeah right, pull the other one nVidia!

    --
    Rune
    Reply
  • ta2 - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    As a player of eve-online, I can tell you that the game is entirely CPU dependent. On that matter, it will 100% any CPU you have. I mean ANY CPU. Also for the testing, you should use 1600x1200 max AA and AF and go into an area with many player ships on eve-online. I guarantee you will not get 60 FPS. Impractical and unscientific, but would still give better results than this review. Reply
  • TinyTeeth - Wednesday, June 22, 2005 - link

    I am very impressed of the performance of the new chip. Nvidia seems to have fixed the problems SLI had during the 6800 generation.

    I am also pleased they have managed to deliver the cards so quickly. That also puts some pressure on ATI.
    Reply

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