Overclocking, Power Consumption and Final Thoughts

Overclocking

Of course, we couldn’t just let this card get through a solid round of testing without out at least turning the cranks to see how high it could rev.

Remember stock speeds are 550 MHz core and 850 MHz (1.7 GHz) memory.

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512 MB GPU Preview - Graphics Cards  1

Hot damn!  This card was able to get all the way up to 610 MHz core clock (thats 60 MHz or 11%) and 910 MHz memory (60 MHz or 7%) and ran through a multiple-hour loop of 3DMark05.  We’ll have more detailed OC results once we get some retail cards in-house.

Power Consumption

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NVIDIA had just recently gained the lead in terms of performance/watt in the enthusiast level parts and they didn’t want to give that up this time around.  Though there was no getting around an increase in power usage when you increase the core and memory clocks and doubling the memory size, the 7800 GTX 512 MB only increased power consumption by 15 watts over the original 7800 GTX.  ATI no longer has the highest power consumption card any more; that belongs to NVIDIA now.  But NVIDIA was able to get the performance crown in the process as well.

Performance

There is no doubt that the new NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512 MB is the fastest consumer level graphics card you can buy.  In every single one of our 10 benchmark configurations it was able to best or match the ATI X1800 XT 512 MB card where it counts.  In Doom 3, Far Cry, Half-Life 2, Battlefield 2, FEAR and Call of Duty 2 the 7800 GTX 512 MB GPU has the performance crown; in many instances by a considerable margin. 

The previous NVIDIA flagship is still a worthy competitor, but it pales in comparison to the new kid on the block.  As you would expect, running at 120 MHz faster core clock and 250 MHz faster memory clock AND doubling the frame buffer has a dramatic affect on gaming performance. 

SLI

NVIDIA’s SLI technology is still going strong with this new GPU showing improvements as high as 86% in Call of Duty 2 when adding a second card.  Even more interesting are the results we saw when we included two XFX 7800 GT cards in SLI mode in our second round of benchmarks.  Two 7800 GTs generally fell in between the single and dual 7800 GTX 512 MB cards in terms of performance.  Users who might not want to shell out $600 for a big-bad 512 MB card can still have similar performance levels by getting a single 7800 GT card today and upgrading in the not-too-distant future.  SLI is looking more and more appealing with every NVIDIA release.

Pricing and Availability

The MSRP of $650 for the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512 MB is not a step for the faint of heart, that much is for sure.  NVIDIA put this estimated price on the card in order to line it up with the X1800 XT a bit closer and also to allow the add-in card vendors some wiggle-room to raise clock speeds or to lower price and still stay within reach of what NVIDIA is announcing today.  I think you’ll very soon see both of these variants with lower priced cards and pre-overclocked options as well.

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As of this publication, I have not yet found any 512 MB 7800 GTX cards for sale online, but with NVIDIA’s recent 100% track record  of bringing products out with a launch, I see no reason to doubt them in this case.  I will be posting updated prices and vendors as the day progresses and cards show up online.

Update (11/14/05 @ 12:21pm EST): Just found the the XFX 7800 GTX 512 MB for sale at Newegg.com.  That is the good news.  The bad news?  The current price is $749!!  This is well over the price range that NVIDIA quoted us and I really hope that Newegg and XFX don’t keep the product at that level.  I’ll keep updating here when I have more information.

Update (11/14/05 @ 12:28pm EST): Just got an email that Tiger Direct has the same card in stock for $699.

Update (11/14/05 @ 1:35pm EST): Well ZipZoomFly has their 7800 GTX 512s up for sale from EVGA, XFX and BFG, all over $729, but all in stock. 

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA has hit one out of the park with the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 MB GPU.  If you want the ultimate gaming PC, you now have a new card to put on your list.

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