The specifications we care about
While all these fancy words in the paper specs sound all good, most people firstly don't know what it all means and for those who do they don't really care all that much. The main information people want to know is how fast the important components are and how many pipe lines are in play.
Firstly - an interesting fact - the 7800 GTX is the most complex GPU ever made and includes a total of 302 million transistors. This is more than the XBOX GPU, PS2, Game Cube Flipper, Game Cube Gekko, XBOX P3 CPU, AMD Athlon FX-55 combined. When you see statistics like this, you can be pretty sure you'll have a GPU which can produce some solid performance in today's games.
nVidia's 7800 GTX includes 24 pipelines which is a 50% increase from the 16 pipeline GeForce 6800GT and 6800 Ultra. The core has risen up 30MHz from the Ultra speed to 430MHz but with that said we know that some brands are looking at doing a bit more. We've heard rumors nVidia may release a 7800 Ultra card down the track with 32 pipelines but at this stage it's only a rumor and will depend on what ATI does with the R520.
Finally the memory clock (256MB of total onboard memory is standard but nVidia and their partners can make a 512MB model if the market demands it) is only 1200MHz standard when compared to the 6800 Ultra which had 1300MHz. We have seen in the past though that memory speed isn't everything as cards like the 6600GT and X700 have had memory speeds similar to the 6800 Ultra and GT but not be able to perform anywhere near it due to their reduced pipelines.
One of the most noticeable features on the 7800 GTX would have to be the inclusion of the single slot only cooler. While most SLI motherboards are well and truly designed to compensate for dual slot cards, thanks to the 6800 Ultra it is good to know that there is going to be that extra gap between the cards to keep the airflow as high as possible.
As we have become to expect of most of the high end cards, included are dual DVI ports. With the drop in price of DVI LCDs and the response time becoming lower and lower, they have become an extremely good option for gamers not only on the move but those who want the best display. On retail cards there will also come support for HDTV output as well as VIVO.
You can see the back plate design is extremely similar to that of the 6800 series with a bracket that covers the back memory and also helps hold the front heatsink in place. You can also see towards the top of the card our favorite nVidia feature….the SLI connector.
Reduced Power Consumption and Noise
The good news about the 7800 GTX is that it actually requires less power than the 6800 Ultra. nVidia spent a considerable amount of time working on reducing power requirements of the G70. In fact, nVidia recommended a 480 watt power supply for the 6800 Ultra where nVidia are telling us the 7800 GTX only requires a 350 watt power supply on an AMD FX-55 based system.
Additionally, the reference card cooler was very quiet - quieter than the reference 6800 Ultra. This is good news for people wanting quiet systems and nVidia probably learned their lessons from the 5700 Ultra GPU dust buster. This can be attributed to the fact nVidia managed to produce a faster GPU which requires almost 40% less power than its sibling.
For a 7800 GTX SLI system, you'll need a 500 watt power supply but considering the user with this type of system, they'll likely already have a beefy power supply unit capable of delivering these numbers and higher.