To put this in perspective I took a look back at the last test we did of an ATI high end on a similar platform. This was of a GeCube Radeon X850 XT – not quite the pinnacle of the Platinum Edition but not far off. Admittedly the nForce 4 SLI motherboard used to test this was a different brand but it’s similar enough for a valid comparison. In Far Cry, Doom 3 and Half-Life 2, at 1,600 x 1,200 with 4x FSAA and 8x AF, the X850XT scored 51.4fps, 37.3fps and 61.6fps respectively. So while the 7800GT is definitely faster it’s not a total decimation of the ATI card. Of course nVidia can simply pull SLI out of the hat while we’re still drumming our fingers waiting patiently for R520 and CrossFire. On top of that the nVidia card offers full precision HDR and Shader Model 3 support. Yes, I’ve mentioned that Power of Three thing. Those nVidia marketing bods will be pleased.
The thing is a year ago this wouldn’t have mattered as much. There were no games with Shader Model 3 and HDR support but they’re now starting to creep up, with the Far Cry patch and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. The upcoming game F.E.A.R., (the demo of which is awesome), might also adopt Shader Model 3, as it’s recently switched from being an ATI ‘Get In the Game’ title to an nVidia ‘The Way It’s Meant to Be Played’ game.
The real finishing move for nVidia though as far as ATI is concerned is that if you want to order a 7800GT card you can head over to an online retailer such as Scan and order the card straight away and possibly have one, or even two (lend us a fiver…) in your machine tomorrow. In fact Scan already has an overclocked 7800GT on sale for only £293.69, with a core speed of 450MHz! Of course we can expect Radeon cards to quickly drop in price, which is good news but then nVidia still has its 6800 series to match it. For ATI… that’s gotta hurt.
There’s no doubt about it – the GeForce 7800 GT card delivers big time. It’s not far off the performance of the GTX with a saving of at least £50 or more. It’s obviously not a budget graphics card but if you’re after some high end graphics power, then this has got to be the card, or cards, to buy.