In article 3603 for HEXUS, I waxed lyrical about the ATI Radeon X1800 XT. Very late, and more than a bit hot and noisy, it's still a GPU that kicks some ass. The new fragment thread scheduler, FP32 processing everywhere and Shader Model 3.0 ability, state-of-the-art memory controller and new approach to texturing are all to be praised. The new GPU family powering X1800 XT and friends also raises the IQ bar, with the ROP hardware able to multisample float targets for easier antialiasing of 'HDR' output (it's a horrible term, but one you're likely familiar with).
It's fast, too. Generous clocks for a 90nm chip and mega fast memory on the XT version see to that. I like it, and you should too.
Amidst the lyrical waxing, as I've written about the R5 series of GPUs in the time since the launch of NVIDIA's G70 GPU and GeForce 7800 GTX flagship SKU, NVIDIA have been incessantly whispering in the collective HEXUS ear. "We have a backup plan incase X1800 XT is faster than GTX", the whispers went.
So when X1800 XT showed up to critical acclaim, NVIDIA's whispering slowly but surely turned into forceful words. There was something new coming, and it would be quick. Mighty quick. Message boards throughout the land, ours included, have rung the pixel bell and spoken its name. Leaks have sprung and info is known. Hell, we even played the daft game with a pipeline designed to tease.
If it all sounds a bit silly, that's because it is; the whole industry has gone (not so) quietly mad on a wave of one-upmanship. The competition is designed almost solely to squirt pixels out onto your screen faster than ever before, perpetuated by chatterings among enthusiasts (which both IHV's definitely hear) on message boards worldwide.
Hilariously for folks like me, sent forth to shout the Gospel according to NVIDIA, the board we're going to tell you about today has been on limited sale for the past couple of days, lucky folks with lots of spare pennies able to pick them up ahead of the NDA expiry this very afternoon (14th November 2005).
Never mind, since there's plenty to go over as NVIDIA introduce their post-X1800 XT punch, even if the odd benchmark and picture can already be found easily enough. Its (completely pants and unimaginative, in my humble opinion) name? NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX 512. The addition of those three numbers do much to tell you what it's all about, but the full story is a wee bit more on top.
Join me as I serve up NVIDIA's new champion SKU, comparing it against the existing GTX and the Radeon X1800 XT, on a bed of some of the latest popular games, garnished with freshly squeezed drivers.