However, somewhat controversially there are two methods of employing it. nVidia implements HDR through a technology called OpenEXR as used by Industrial Light and Magic. This uses full 32-bit precision. The other method is only partial precision and this is supported with current ATI hardware and will be the version employed in the forthcoming expansion pack Half-Life 2: Lost-Coast. The downer with OpenEXR is that it’s not possible to run HDR and anti-aliasing at the same time. Even so, it’s one feature that will certainly make a huge difference to future games once the technology becomes standard. However, the HDR in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory only supports nVidia’s implementation so ATI owners are left out in the cold as far as HDR in concerned. This isn’t a new problem either as it was nVidia GeForceFX users who were left disappointed when they found that they couldn’t run the DirectX 9 path of Half-Life 2.
Aside from the 3D features, nVidia has also improved its Pure Video technology. This now supports 2:2 pull down correction and the DVI connection is HDCP compliant, which could be vital for watching protected content from future High Definition formats such as Blu-ray. It can also scale to 1080i when connected to an HDTV and with supporting software offering hardware assist for HD-MPEG2 and WMV. Finally it offers Advanced Motion Adaptive De-Interlacing, smoothing video and DVD playback on progressive displays.
So, that’s an overview of some of the technology that the GeForce 7800GTX (x2) brings to the table. But what about the rest of the PC?
This is the first of Evesham’s Decimator systems that we’ve reviewed in this distinctive flashy case. It features a circular blue LCD display at the front. This is a good housing for a system such as this. Your mates will catch sight of the eye-catching display and immediately ask you what it is, giving you the perfect opportunity to tell them, and then really wow them once you describe the hardware inside.
Having said that, the case looks more impressive than it actually is. It’s quite plastic compared to a truly solid all metal case such as a SilverStone TJ05. The display gives you the time and readouts of the CPU and system temperature and the speed of the incredible five fans inside the case – evidently, Evesham was taking no chances with heat.
As well as the CPU fan, you find once fan at the front, one and the rear and two at the side, located over the two cards with a holder inside the front panel. As a result of all the fanage, it’s far from the quietest system in the world. In fact, it’s pretty damn noisy. But turn up the supplied surround-sound Creative T7900 speaker package or plug in a pair of headphones and you soon find yourself too immersed in the graphical splendour for the noise to bother you.
The headphone socket is actually located in a rather unusual location – at the very top of the case, under a flap, along with a microphone port, two USB 2.0 sockets and a FireWire port. Round the back you get another four USB 2.0 and one FireWire port, plus coaxial and optical digital outs to go along with the seven channel analogue audio outputs. However, these are rather redundant considering the inclusion of an Audigy 2 ZS card.