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Asus Extreme N7800 GT

If it were a battle of the boxes then this party would be over. Asus takes all with its huge box that must suck up a good few pounds of your purchase. Inside things are well laid out and Asus even spoils you with a plastic holder for your discs. Posh.

The card is a lot weightier than the AOpen with a metal bar running across the top, which should make it a more resilient design. The heatsink and fan arrangement has been redone too and the whole thing is set on a blue PCB. Most importantly, a blue light shines though the fan while it’s powered on. Excellent.

The ViVo part of the card is handled by a proper break-out box, which will make it a lot easier for anyone who regularly needs to plug things in and out as you can access the ports without having to get to the back of your PC. There are S-Video and composite outputs on one side, Component outputs on the opposite side, and S-Video and composite inputs on the side.

The manual is beefier looking but there’s not really much more to it that the AOpen one. The software consists of the definitely not A-list games, Project Snowblind, xPand rally, and Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, while the applications are Asus versions of the Cyberlink programs, PowerDirector 3DE, MediaShow SE 2.0 and PowerDVD.

The card is clocked at stock speeds and as such fall consistently behind the AOpen - nice to see that overclocking does do something. However this could be countered by applying some homebrew overclocking of your own using feely available tools.

I personally view a 3DMark05 score of 5,000 at 1,600 x 1,200 as a sweet spot, as it means that I can probably play at with features such as FSAA and AF turned on and I look forward to budget cards achieving this. Neither of these cards can come close to this, and at this setting in Far Cry the Asus comes up with 52.9fps, which is stillvery playable.

If you’ve got a 17 or 19in TFT you’ll be looking at 1,280 x 1,024 performance and at this resolution you’ll comfortably over 60fps average on both the AOpen and Asus, leaving headroom for newer features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR). Want to go to a higher resolution or invest in a higher resolution widescreen monitor? Then you’ll have to start thinking about adding a second card, assuming you’ve got an SLI board to put it in.

Verdict

The Asus is a more impressive card to hold in your hand but the AOpen is the better performer in your machine. If you want to use ViVo regularly you’ll appreciate the proper break-out, while if you have a cut out window in your PC the blue light show may appeal. Cheaper GT cards are available but with the Asus at least you can see the extra you’re spending your money on.

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