XFX GeForce 7800 GT 256MB

XFX GeForce 7800 GT 256MB

Written by Charles Husemann on 10/3/2005 for PC  

There are a few things every hard core gamer should do.  Make a trip to E3, beta test software, play every game in a franchise, camp out for a game of hardware release, and own a high end video card.

Buying one of these cards is a rather unique experience.  It means you are hard core, it means that you have spent more on one part of your computer than some people spend on groceries for a month.  For around the same amount you could purchase a brand new Xbox 360 premium edition and the Xbox 360 will be able to play all the newest games for at least four years while you’ll be lucky to max out games out games on your PC for the next year and a half if you are lucky.  If there’s anything that depreciates faster than cars it would have to be video cards.

While the most hardcore will flock to the flagship 7800 GTX, those with some financial constraints may want to look at the slightly slower, 7800 GT bundle.  Besides the slower memory speed (500MHz vs. 600 MHz) and core speed (400 MHz vs. 430 MHz) the GT also sports one less Vertex unit and 4 less fragment units.  A lot of purists will still gravitate towards the more expensive board but given the marginal difference in speeds you’re almost better of investing the difference in a mutual fund and then cashing it out in a year or two for the next generation of card.

Enter the XFX 7800 GT OC from XFX a company that I really have not had a lot of experience with in the past.  John had good things to say about them so I felt that I could entrust my ducats to buying one of their cards (John rarely steers me wrong except when he tries to brainwash me with all of that buy AMD crap).  I do have to give credit to XFX for delivering their product in a cool box as you get a nice big X shaped box.  Actually getting to the card is a bit tricky as there are boxes within boxes to open before you can actually get your hands on the card.  The process was very similar to those old stacked dolls that my sister played with as a child.  A good box is a nice thing (especially when you’ve made this kind of investment) but at the same time you really don’t want to frustrate people with elaborate packaging.

The card itself is fairly stock and comes on your old school standard green PCB.  The cooler is also a fairly stock fan/heat sink combination.  The standard SLI bridge sits at the top of the card, taunting you with the promise of increased performance for only another $390 plus shipping.  The card is also frickin’ huge, especially compared to the X700 Pro I had in the case before.


After taking this picture, the 7800GT at the X700 and crapped out two SLI capable 6800's


Installing the card was easy, I just un-installed the ATI drivers from the system.  Popped open the case, extracted the old card and put the new card in place.  Powered on the system and then installed the new drivers.  Easy as knife killing a sniper looking the wrong way.  The included driver disc was actually the latest version of the Nvidia drivers 77.77) which was pretty impressive.

Then it was on to the big test, how well would the card handle Battlefield 2.  My old card did an OK job at a low resolution but now it was time to crank it all the way up and experience the difference.  Immediately I noticed the huge difference in how the game looked and played with no chop.  I couldn’t find a decent benchmark for Battlefield 2 but the difference in gameplay was amazing.  I would like to have added that it increased my skillz somewhat but it really didn’t so if you suck before you get a new graphic card, you’re going to suck afterwards but you’ll be able to see your own blood spurts in a much higher resolution.A review of a graphics card wouldn’t be complete without some benchmarks and graphs so here they are. 
The card was tested on this system:
  
Intel Pentium 4 630 processor
  Abit AG8 motherboard
  2 sticks of 512MBof Kingston HyperX PC4000 DDR RAM
  Windows XP SP2
  77.77 version of the NVIDIA drivers

















You really can’t argue with the performance of the XFX as the card handles about everything you can throw at it right now and probably for the next year and beyond.  You’d almost expect a card with this kind of performance to have a loud fan and make a lot of noise but with just the stock cooler and fan you’d barely know the card was in the system. 

My only real complaint with the XFX 7800 GT is the bundle.  The bundled games are great and do a great job of showing off what the card can do but it would have been nice for XFX to include something a little more useful than 3DEdit for video capture.  I really shouldn’t complain as the card sells for a lot less than competing products but it’s something that stuck in my craw.  This isn’t a big deal for most gamers but if you want to use the multimedia capabilities of the card you’re going to have to shell out some more credits for a decent multimedia capture software.

All in all I really love this card and you can beat the bang for the buck for a card that will probably be able to handle every game you can throw at it for the next year.  Right as I was wrapping up this review the Call of Duty 2 demo came out and I was able to play that at a full 1680 X 1050 resolution with max details and 4X AA without dropping a single frame.  I’m sure that the card will be able to handle the retain version of that, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and hopefully Unreal Tournament: 2007.  All in all I’m very happy with the performance of the card and can’t recommend it enough as one of those purchases that you’ll only make once or twice in your lifetime.


A great performing card with an OK bundle. Why spend the additional dollars on a more expensive card when you can get comparable performance for at a lesser rate

Rating: 9 Excellent

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

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About Author

Hi, my name is Charles Husemann and I've been gaming for longer than I care to admit. For me it's always been about competing and a burning off stress. It started off simply enough with Choplifter and Lode Runner on the Apple //e, then it was the curse of Tank and Yars Revenge on the 2600. The addiction subsided somewhat until I went to college where dramatic decreases in my GPA could be traced to the release of X:Com and Doom.   I have been a Microsoft Xbox MVP since 2009.
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