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MSI NX7800GT-VT2D256E (GeForce 7800 GT)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Thursday, 25th August, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

Strike Two

Building on the successful launch of its high-end GeForce 7800 GTX graphics card, NVIDIA is consolidating its perch at the top of consumer graphics with a second product based on the G70 core used in the GeForce 7800 GTX. This time round, the main barrier of entry – price, has been reduced somewhat, though this is not out of the goodness of NVIDIA, as the latest entrant is a slightly slower derivative, the GeForce 7800 GT. As is customary in this industry, for cost effectiveness reasons, this is achieved by disabling pipelines in the core and setting lower clock speeds for the core and memory; cores that couldn't make the higher grade can be reused in this scenario.

The resultant GeForce 7800 GT card comes slightly handicapped with 20 pixel pipelines and 7 vertex pipelines, compared to the 24 pixel pipelines and 8 vertex pipelines found in the GeForce 7800 GTX. Its default core clock speed of 400MHz is also 30MHz slower than the higher end variant while the memory clock is 200MHz DDR slower. So far, despite attempts by enthusiasts, there have been no reports of anyone having success with unlocking the dormant pipelines in the GeForce 7800 GT. With its lower entry price, the ability to unlock the pipelines will surely cannibalize sales of the GeForce 7800 GTX and NVIDIA seems to have things in control here.

The official price from NVIDIA has also been adjusted to reflect the slight inferiority, with the GeForce 7800 GT set initially at US$449, compared to the US$599 launch price of the GeForce 7800 GTX. Of course, the prices of the GeForce 7800 GTX has plunged rather rapidly since its launch, and with this downward pressure, you can expect to find GeForce 7800 GT selling below its MSRP now, and as a result, introducing the GeForce 7 series to a larger pool of potential customers. Coupled with the strong 'GT' branding, NVIDIA makes it clear that we are looking at a possible upper, mid-range card in the future, when the GeForce 6 series outlives its usefulness.

For those who want to know how the GeForce 7800 GT compares to its more powerful older brother, we will be doing an in-depth review of the NVIDIA reference card shortly. However, what we have here today is a review unit from MSI, its standard edition of the GeForce 7800 GT, the NX7800GT-VT2D256E. While its nondescript and standard looking exterior appearance seem to suggest that this card is nothing but a vanilla GeForce 7800 GT, we shall know more after our usual benchmarks.

Is that an angel that we see?

MSI NX7800GT-VT2D256E Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT GPU
    • Stock 2D GPU clock = 275MHz
    • Stock 3D GPU clock = 400MHz
  • NVIDIA CineFX 4.0 Shading Engine
    • Vertex Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
      • Displacement Mapping
      • Vertex Frequency Stream Divider (Geometry Instancing)
      • Infinite length vertex programs (supported in hardware)
    • Pixel Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
      • Full pixel branching support
      • Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
      • Infinite length pixel programs (supported in hardware)
    • Texturing Engine Features
      • Accelerated textures access
      • Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
      • Support  for 16-bit and 32-bit floating point formats
      • Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
      • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
    • Full 128-bit FP Precision Graphics Pipeline
      • Native support for 32 / 64 / 128 bits per pixel rendering modes
  • 64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending
  • NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology (accelerates shadow  computations)
  • NVIDIA SLI Technology
  • NVIDIA Intellisample 4.0 Technology
    • 16x Anisotropic Filtering
    • Adaptive Texture Filtering
    • Gamma-adjusted Rotated Grid Antialiasing
    • Transparent multisampling and supersampling modes
    • Fast antialiasing and compression performance
    • Loss-less Color, Texture and Z-Data Compression algorithms (in real time)
    • Fast Z-clear
    • Support for normal map compression
  • NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
    • Dedicated programmable on-chip video processor
    • MPEG-2 video encode and decode
    • High Definition MPEG-2 and WMV9 hardware decode acceleration (up to 1080i)
    • Post Processing Features
      • Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing (adaptive)
      • NTSC 3:2 Pulldown / Bad Edit correction
      • PAL 2:2 Pulldown correction
    • High quality 4x5 video scaling and filtering
    • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
    • Integrated HDTV output (with HDCP support)
  • Composited Desktop Hardware Engine (for Windows Longhorn)
  • Advanced Video and Display Functionality
    • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
    • Dual DVO ports for interfacing external TMDS transmitters and external TV/HDTV encoder
    • nView Multi-display Technology
  • NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
  • Designed for PCI Express x16
  • Advanced thermal monitoring and thermal management
Graphics Memory
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • 256MB Graphics DDR3 SDRAM
  • Default clock rate of 500MHz (effective speed of 1000MHz DDR)
Display Capabilities
  • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
  • Integrated dual TMDS transmitters (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
  • 1x mini-DIN connector (for Video-out)
  • 2x DVI-I connector (for Digital Flat Panel displays, compatible with analog displays with converter)
Drivers & Software
  • Driver support for Microsoft Windows 9x/ME/2000/XP/XP MCE/XP Pro x64, Linux and Macintosh OS (including OS X)
  • MSI Utilties (Live Update, GoodMEM, Lockbox, WMIinfo, SecureDoc)
  • MSI D.O.T. software
  • Norton Internet Security 2005
  • PowerCinema
  • Power2Go
  • PowerProducer
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Other Information
  • PCI Express x16 slot required
  • Adjacent expansion slot to be kept free preferably
  • Dedicated 6-pin PCIe Molex power connector required (not shared or split)
  • Power supply rated for 350W or higher receommended by NVIDIA (500W PSU for SLI setup)

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