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Review: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP shootout

by James Smith on 26 July 2006, 08:21


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The 2nd of February 2006 saw NVIDIA jump to the AGP user's rescue with the announcement of a GeForce 7-series product on AGP. GeForce 7800 GS AGP brings NVIDIA's excellent G70 silicon to AGP via their latest BR02 PCIe-to-AGP bridge IC, albeit in cut down form. We showed you in the linked preview that NVIDIA configured the G70 with two disabled quads of pixel processing units, six vertex units for processing geometry to be processed by those pixel units and eight ROP units (responsible for drawing the pixels to the displayable front buffer and AA, amongst other things).

That 8/16/8 configuration of G70, containing all that makes G70 good versus NV45 (the last high-end GPU that NVIDIA placed on an AGP bus), clocked at 375/600 in reference configuration by NVIDIA, looked set to give the 6800 Ultras and X800 XTs of this world a run for their money. We previewed BFG's overclocked (400/625) version back in February and declared the following about NVIDIA's latest 256MiB AGP SKU:

"As 7800 GS approaches the sub £200 price point it almost becomes a mandatory purchase on AGP"

Approach it has done since February, with 7800 GS boards at reference clocks available and in-stock in the UK for the magic £200 mark, as I type this article up. Yum yum for the user looking for one last AGP board before the inevitable PCI Express-based upgrade at some point (likely to coincide with a Vista upgrade of some kind, or so my AGP-owning friends tell me!).

We also previewed performance of the BFG card back then. Much faster than 6800 GS and X1600 XT despite a 400MHz slower Athlon 64 FX powering the 7800 GS test system (both 6800 GS and X1600 XT were on PCIe, too, please note).

While we promised a full performance evaluation using the BFG soon after the preview piece, that slipped back until today. The reasons are good, though. We've not only analysed the BFG, but we've got performance results from XFX's Extreme Edition, eVGA's 'Superclocked' version and GeCube's Radeon X1600 PRO AGP to add in to the mix.

So this article takes a look at a triplet of 7800 GS boards on AGP8X and pits it versus ATI's latest AGP entrant (and a couple of old AGP stalwarts to boot) to see what comes out on top. Join us as we do the analysis, starting with a recap of what GeForce 7800 GS AGP is.