It doesnâ€™t seem that long ago since I first laid my eyes on an nVidia 7800 GTX board. I was in Taiwan attending Computex and a rather friendly board partner sneaked me into a back room so that I could get my paws on nVidiaâ€™s new card before the official launch. After the success of the GeForce 6800 Ultra, nVidia needed to pull something special out of the hat to convince users to upgrade, and the 7800 GTX certainly delivered.
Since the launch of the 7800 GTX nVidia has released the 7800 GT â€“ this is a cut down part with 20 pixel pipelines instead of the 24 sported by the GTX. The GT also had lower clocks than its sibling, but there are already retail cards running way above the stock clocks. Likewise there are 7800 GTX boards running much higher than the stock speeds, which made it very clear that there was a lot of headroom with nVidiaâ€™s latest chipset.
With this in mind, ever since the 7800 GTX appeared, Iâ€™ve been waiting for nVidia to launch an Ultra version of the 7800, and although that still hasnâ€™t appeared, the next best thing has. The GeForce 7800 GTX 512 is, to all intents and purposes, a 7800 Ultra. Now, nVidia might not like me referring to it as that, but â€œa rose by any other nameâ€ and all that!
So, what is a GeForce 7800 GTX 512? Iâ€™ll give you a clue, the 512 at the end isnâ€™t referring to the late incarnations of the Ferrari Testarossa â€“ thank god! Donâ€™t even get me started on how the most globally recognised Ferrari is one of the worst â€“ but I digress. Of course the 512 at the end of the model name refers to the amount of memory that the card has â€“ basically twice the amount of the standard 7800 GTX.
But sporting 512MB of GDDR3 memory isnâ€™t the only thing that separates this new card from the existing ones. To say that nVidia has tweaked the clocks would be a bit of an understatement, itâ€™s probably more accurate to say that the company has turbocharged them. The original stock timings for the 256MB 7800 GTX were 430MHz for the core and 600MHz (1,200MHz effective) for the memory. But the new 512MB card has the core screaming along at 550MHz, while the memory is clocked at a staggering 850MHz (1,700MHz effective).