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Albatron 7800 GTX Albatron 7800 GTX: NVIDIA's latest makes its way into the labs in Albatron's high-end PCI Express offering.
Date: September 9, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

Earlier this Summer, NVIDIA dropped their latest bomb on the gaming market. Codenamed G70, the 7800 GTX is currently the king of the hill for NVIDIA based GPUs. Featuring a smaller fab process of 110nm as opposed to the 130nm of the 6800 series before it. NVIDIA also upped the transistor count by 80 million, weighing in at a hefty 302 million now.

Unlike ATI, and their brute force techniques as of late, the 7800 is all about efficiency. There are 24 pipelines present in the G70, a jump of 8 over the NV40, but the architecture relies on better parallelism with increased calculations for improved performance. Unsurprisingly, with the improved manufacturing process and a relatively small bump in clock speeds over their previous parts, the 7800 GTX is not as much of a power hog as the 6800 Ultra was. NVIDIA requires a 330W PSU for the 7800 GTX, and draws between 100 to 100W of power. With the power requirements of additional devices in a PC, we'd still suggest a quality PSU in the upper 400W range at the minimum.

Anyhow, we're sure most of our readers are already very familiar with everything the 7800 GTX offers feature-wise (if not, will go over the newer technology and features), so let's just dive into our first look at a retail product based on NVIDIA's new design.

Albatron 7800 GTX

We'll start off by saying that everything about Albatron's 7800 GTX screams "reference". The box doesn't feature any original artwork and pretty much seems like NVIDIA loaned them their stock photo CD. Still, nobody displays their box next to their PC, so diving into the package itself is where the action is. Outside of the card, you'll find the usual assortment of cables, adapters, CDs and manuals. Nothing noteworthy for the bundle, so let's move on to the star of the show.

We did mention "reference", right? Other than the Albatron sticker on the fan, the Albatron 7800 GTX looks exactly like the cards NVIDIA released for their preview two months ago. Still, Albatron was pretty quick in getting this product out, and heck, if "reference" works, no need to mess with it. The card itself is fairly long, and for those with a lot of obstacles near the PEG slot, you'll want to keep some clearance around the rear of the card. We didn't have any installation issues with our Lian Li V1000, Cooler Master Wave Master and Soltek Mania SFF.

NVIDIA made some major strides in the heat output of the G70 series. Unlike their last high-end offering, the 7800 GTX only requires a single slot cooler this time around, which is good news for those of you who lost use of their PCI or PCI Express slots next to their second PEG. NVIDIA achieves this by drawing less power as mentioned earlier, as well as shutting down portions of the GPU that are not in use. The end result is a cooler GPU and as a side effect, a quieter system since a Hoover fan is not required.

The Albatron 7800 GTX features two DVI connectors, though they only include one DVI-to-VGA adapter. There is also a S-Video out for those who wish to watch their display on a TV.

Test Setup

Athlon 3500+, MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI (v6.66), 2x512MB Corsair XMS PC3200, Seagate 160GB Barracuda 7200.7, Creative onboard audio enabled.

We'll be pitting the Albatron 7800 GTX (v77.77) against the ATI X850 Platinum Edition (v5.8), which is currently ATI's top-of-the-line part, as well as a pair of NVIDIA 6800 GTs (v77.77) in both single and SLI mode. Unfortunently, Albatron was unable to send us two cards for SLI performance testing, but we did compare against the twin 6800 GTs as those two cards as a pair falls at a similar price point as the lone Albatron 7800 GTX. The games used are as follows:

Doom 3 v1.1

Far Cry v1.3

Unreal Tournament 2004 v3355

Half-Life 2

Chronicles of Riddick

's default timedemos were used for the majority of game testing. The driver settings were manually configured for AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering enabled (4xAA and 16xAF respectively), and set to "Quality" via the video driver's control panel. All games were set to their highest allowable game settings unless otherwise noted. The latest chipset and video drivers at the time of testing (in parenthesis above) we used for the tests.

Doom 3

As far as timedemos are concerned, a twin 6800 GT setup will still be fastest during gameplay at the highest quality settings. In terms of actual gameplay, the performance is not too far removed from the Albatron 7800 GTX, which in turn suffered fewer framerate drops when compared to the ATI and single 6800 GT cards.

Image quality was excellent, and as we've began to notice with the NV40, when it comes to gaming the NVIDIA cards have made some major improvements in this department. I did find the game darker overall than on ATI hardware with stock settings, but this was easily corrected before playing.

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