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myshkinbob
04-16-06, 06:33 PM
Recently a 7800GS came into my hands in return for an RMA'd 6800GT, and a few people have been asking if it's a worthy upgrade from a 6800 series cards. For us AGP system owners, that's the big question.

I've read a few 7800GS reviews and they all basically say it's a nice card. Which is good, and bad too, it doesn't make the choice that much easier. I'm not slagging off those reviews, but i sometimes feel graphic card reviews are written to formula, without considering who'll be buying the card and so the info they'll want or need.

So, i've put together some benchmark numbers directly comparing this 7800GS to my old 6800GT, on the same properly configured system (eg. no strange underperformance in some games, and generally well optimised settings all round).

I'll also say a bit about how it compares from a playability standpoint; the perceived amount of improvement while gaming and if you can up the eyecandy levels at all.

First up....

The Hardware

I'll keep this brief, here's the system rundown...

CPU: A64 3000+ @2200MHz (10x220)
Mainboard: DFi UT 250GB (s754, nforce3 250)
RAM: 1.5GB (3x512MB, DDR400, 2.5cl, 2T command rate)
Hard Drives: SATA raid-0 array
Sound: Onboard realtek alc850, realtek drivers (surprisingly good game performance with decent sound)
PSU: 430W Enermax.
Misc bios settings: Agp aperature = 256MB, fast writes enabled, sideband enabled.


Like i said, a fairly normal high performance agp-based gaming system. On to the graphics cards....

6800GT

The 6800GT these benchmark figures come from wasn't run at stock speeds. It was overclocked from 350/1000 to 380/1100 core and memory speed. As such it's performance falls somewhere between the 6800GT and 6800Ultra. Remember all the benchmark results for the 6800GT in this post are at near-ultra clockspeeds, and not GT stock levels.

7800GS

At stock this card comes in at 375/1200 core and memory speeds. I'll be posting benchmark figures at those stock speeds. However, it's common knowledge that the 7800GS overclocks more than the average card. The ram itself is 1.4ns samsung GDDR3 capable of way above 1200mhz DDR. When nvidia chose the low core clock for this card, they figured most agp owners wouldn't have 400W+ power supplies. This particular card auto-detects an overclock to 505/1440 speeds. However ATiTool detects slight artifacting at that level, so i've backed it down to 480/1440. The second set of benchmark results for the 7800GS will be at those 480/1440 speeds.

Drivers

Drivers make a big difference, so here's the details. Nforce system driver is version 5.10 for all results. Realtek sound driver is 3.6x and later 3.79.

Forceware are 66.xx for doom3/farcry on the 6800GT, 81.xx for all other 6800GT results. All 7800GS results are using forceware 84.43. Forceware set to Quality mode for the 6800GT, all optimisations on. For the 7800GS, optimisations are off, High Quality mode (it's how i'd left my 84.43 drivers and i'm not retesting!).


The Benchmark Results

I'm writing this in a spare hour i have this evening before i go out, so no graphs i'm afraid, i haven't time. I'll try to keep the results clear all the same.

3DMark'05
(1024x768, all defaults)

6800GT: 4987
7800GS: 5524
7800GS-OC: 6849

3dm05 shows a marginal difference with the 7800GS at stock compared to the 6800GT, but once you add the overclock, it's pushing 7800GT performance levels.


3DMark'06
(1280x1024, all defaults)

6800GT: 2194
7800GS: 2827
7800GS-OC: 3413

At stock the 7800GS shows roughly 33% extra performance on the 6800GT, throw in the overclock and that grows to just over 66% more.

The 3DMark results are synthetics, and are indicative in some ways of true performance, but require interpretation. It's interesting to note '06 shows a much greater disparity between the 6800 and 7800 card here. That's where we can learn something. Between '05 and '06 the vertex load of the benchmarks changed very little, whereas the pixel shading load grew a great deal more. So you can infer from the above results that the 7800GS shows the greatest benefit as an upgrade in pixel shader intensive games.

On to some real games, some older and some more recent. To a large extent, the games compared with numbers are restricted to those i had results for from my old 6800GT.

Doom 3
(timedemo demo1 cache, 1600x1200, 0xAA/4xAA, 8xAF, High Quality mode)

0xAA 4xAA
6800GT: 60fps 37fps
7800GS: 71fps 45fps
7800GS-OC: 80fps 56fps

The 6800GT was no slouch in doom3, putting in a respectable 60fps without AA, but add full antialiasing and things got unplayable. The stock 7800GS alleviates that problem to an extent, choking slightly at 4xAA, but i suspect 2xAA would be eminently enjoyable to play with. The overclocked 7800GS at 4xAA pretty much matches the 6800GT's performance without any AA at all! I was very impressed when it came to running this benchmark earlier this evening!

Far Cry
(version 1.3, 1280x1024, 2xAA, 4xAF, Ultra/Very High settings, geom instancing disabled, ingame benchmark: training and research levels)

research training
6800GT: 58fps 49fps
7800GS: void void
7800GS-OC: 96fps 66fps
GS-OC@4xAA: void void

I screwed up this benchmark the first time, mistakenly thinking i'd benched the 6800GT at 1600x1200, when it was 1280x1024. I quickly retested the 7800GS at overclocked speeds with the correct res, and the numbers speak for themself, this card loves far cry, huge increases!

F.E.A.R.
(1024x768, 2xAA, all options maxed, in-game performance test)

framerate percentages
min avg max <25 <40 >40
6800GT: 29 52 105 0 32 68
7800GS: 31 59 142 0 28 72
7800GS-OC: 31 67 181 0 26 74
GS-OC@1280: 30 55 127 0 33 67

Fear is interesting, giving a lot more info to go on. Again appears cpu-limited or vertex limited in places, with nearly identical minimum framerates all round. The overclocked 7800GS makes quite the difference to average framerates though, so much so, that as the last result shows, you could up the resolution a notch and maintain framerates. I personally love fear, so this intrigued me, adding a bit more beauty to one of my favourite games. With that in mind, i played through the entire of interval 02 within the game, the water treatment plant, up to the point you get in the chopper and head for the office building. It is indeed very playable with maxed out settings at 1280x960, 2xAA. The resolution increase from 1024 to 1280 looks quite impressive too. I let fraps benchmark the session, here's the framerate graph rendered by excel (click to enlarge):

http://www.vapulus.com/w900i/images/s7800fearfraps.jpg (http://www.vapulus.com/w900i/images/7800fearfraps.jpg)

That's already commenting on playability, now for a bit more on it.


The Perceptible Gaming Improvements

Stock Clocks

First of all, the card at stock speeds. This is going to be brief, simply because running such an overclockable card at default clocks isn't something i'll put more than the minimum of my time into.

At default speeds, the card performs well. I can tell it's not the 6800GT i had before. Games feel smoother and more fluid; there are perceptible framerate improvements. So much so that i felt drawn into options menus to turn up costly features or up the resolution a notch. I'd say that at stock the card is about 10-20% faster in real world gaming than an overclocked 6800GT or a stock ultra.

Essentially, it feels like an upgrade, which is what you want from a new card. You'll get appreciably smoother gameplay than a 6800 series, and the option to increase visual settings. However, if you take up that option, you may forgoe those faster framerates the card offers.

As for the games i playtested with, and the playability once overclocked, read on. What do you think i've been doing for the week or so that i've had the card? ;)

Overclocked

Once you overclock this card, or some might argue un-cripple it, it really does breathe new life into a good agp system. Looking at the benchmarks above you could figure that out yourself; you get higher resolutions, or greater AA levels, or maxed out ingame settings, as well as smoother framerates.

I had a quick blast on two of the benchmarked games, doom 3 and far cry, and indeed even at the higher settings slowdowns were less often if at all. FEAR was really fun, looking way better than it ever did on my 6800GT, and gliding along nicely, i was wisihing i had this card the first time i played the game. The graph i posted above shows it rarely got below 30fps, and only below 20fps during load screens.

I like my first-person-shooters, and having played and beaten far cry on realistic difficulty, and FEAR on the hardest setting too, i know framerate matters or you just can't play properly; you'll die too easily. The card seems to handle things like big explosions and lots of effects going on that much better than my 6800GT. Like the 3dmark benchmarks suggested, when this card is called on to draw more shader effects at once, it doesn't choke as much as the NV40 card.

Likewise Battlefield2 is less troublesome now. On the 6800GT at 1280x960 4xAA and everything on High, it was good fun and smooth for the most part, but some areas on maps were a little too much for it. I used to play around those, but with the 7800GS i don't have to. And that's at 1600x1200 4xAA.

Since getting the 7800GS i've put some time in on Oblivion, becoming head of the thieves guild after stealing over 2000 items. I'm not usually one for full blown RPG games, but this one has a lot of depth to it. It's also very pretty! I can't comment on 6800GT performance as mine broke before the game arrived, but the 7800GS is quite playable with it. It auto-detects the card and sets in-game settings to 'ultra high' with a resolution of 1024x768 and HDR on. The only things switched off are grass shadows and self shadows. It's quite smooth at those settings too, so much so that i bumped the resolution to 1152x864 without issues. After investigating .ini tuning for the game, even playing at 1280x960 with the same settings is pretty good, with some minor slowdown in certain outdoor areas only. Being able to play at a higher resolution definitely offsets the lack of AA when HDR is enabled.

To sum up though, once you overclock the card, it does feel more like a generation ahead of the 6800 series. You can bump the eyecandy options or resolution and still get better framerates, smoother and more enjoyable gameplay. That to me is what defines a worthwhile graphics upgrade.

I got my card for free through RMA replacement though, so it still leaves the main question.

myshkinbob
04-16-06, 06:33 PM
so is it worth buying if you already own a 6800 series?

Reading the reviews for the card around the net, i haven't really seen that question answered properly. To be fair they only have a paragraph or a short page to do so. Here's my opinion on it.

Who shouldn't buy this card.

Anyone planning to upgrade their mainboard in the next 6 months should just avoid this card. AGP is so far as graphic upgrades go, a dead duck. There's no point investing in a card for it that you know will not work with any new system you intend to build in the near future.

Similarly, it's my opinion that anyone who is not comfortable with overclocking their graphics card even the slightest, should not buy this card to replace a 6800GT or ultra. It's not worth $250-300 for the performance gains at stock speeds compared to your old card.

Lastly, anyone with an AthlonXP of any speed, or a Pentium4 below 3GHz. If you buy this card, sure you'll improve your average and max framerate, but the lows will still be enjoyment-destroyingly low if you crank up the settings. Someone had to tell you, but your cpu won't cut it with high settings in the most recent or upcoming games. You need a new cpu, and so probably a new mainboard, and so would be wiser investing in a pci-e graphics card too.

With that said...

Who probably should buy this card given the chance.

Another easy answer, anyone with a 6800nu or 6600 who is looking for double or more performance, and has no intentions at all of updating their agp mainboard within the years end. This card will see you through gaming until at least 2007, and offers h.264 accellerated playback and all the other video features nv40 owners were cheated out of.

Basically if you're tied to an agp slot system for a while yet, but want to keep playing the latest games at full settings without ruling out AA in some form, and don't mind overclocking, this is a great card. It has SM3.0 and decent video support, and will probably handle most titles this year at decent resolutions without having to turn down features.


Everyone else...

This is the category i'd have fallen into myself, and it's the most tricky one. Before it broke, my 6800GT was capable of running every game i came across with virtually max settings at some resolution and AA level, for the last two years nearly. In recent titles though i was getting that poor average framerate pulling me out of the games. "I'll just go to the menu and turn down x or y setting". That was the trouble with my 6800GT being such a solid performer for such a long time as graphics cards go; i got used to enjoying games maxed out.

Assuming you own a good cpu, with a well featured agp mainboard, and a 6800GT or Ultra, i expect you're being faced with the same problem now too. I've always personally opted for the "two generations" graphics upgrade strategy, it makes you appreciate each upgrade all the more, and it's cost-effective for gaming. Basically you skip every second generation, it works out one card per DirectX level. I went from a basic voodoo2 (DX6), to GF2 GTS(DX7), to GF4 ti4200(DX8), to the 6800 GT(DX9).

Before the RMA and the 7800GS came along for me, that was my plan, wait for DX10 hardware, socket M2, upgrade the system then. I'd heard about the 7800GS recently, but i wasn't about to buy a new agp card, even allowing for my 6800GT showing it's age a bit prematurely regarding the next generation upgrade plan. Having used one now, i honestly can't say my opinion has changed, and i don't think i would buy the card myself.

If you really can't abide your 6800GT/Ultra performance until the end of the year when DX10 parts are available, you may want to consider hunting out a bargain 7800GT and PCI-E motherboard, and simply transplant your ram and cpu to that. You'll still end up replacing it again long before you'd like to, considering the cost, but you will get better performance than the 7800GS can ever offer. Plus being a PCI-E part, when the time comes, the 7800GT will still have a resale value.

The only way i'd recommend the 7800GS to 6800GT/Ultra owners is if you're in love with your current agp mainboard for some feature, or it's an expensive one you won't replace with some cheapo pci-e model.

Otherwise, wait it out for the new mainboards and DX10 GPU's coming later this year. Or if you really must upgrade in the interim, for the cost of the 7800GS or thereabouts you can go PCI-E for better performance.

If this card had arrived at the same time as the 7800GT it would've made so much more sense as a high-end purchase. Sadly with newer platforms and DX10 on the horizon, it seems too little and too late, and for too much money.

I hate to end on a sad note for a card that's made me grin so much in the last week. So for anyone with a 6800nu or lower who is really tied to the agp platform until 2007 comes along, this card will knock your socks off. :)

Nutty
04-16-06, 07:48 PM
Very nice review..

I'm thinking of the Gainward 7800 GT AGP, which has 20 pipes.. They're still in stock at overclockers too, supposedly only 2500 ever made.. Hmmmm tempting..

myshkinbob
04-16-06, 08:14 PM
Cheers nutty. :)

That 7800 GT Bliss looks the card to buy if you need an agp one. You get the 7800GT core of pci-e cards, which is 20 pipe like you say. Plus 512MB vram, which goes a long way to boosting performance with some games like COD2. There's a surprisingly good set of numbers for it on the enquirer website somewhere.

Depends when you plan to upgrade your main system next, but for 235 it's a good deal.

Interestingly it was overclockers.co.uk that sent me the leadtek 7800GS as a replacement by the way. :)

MustangSVT
04-16-06, 09:03 PM
Good to hear you're happy with your replacement, the boost in FEAR average frame rate seems like a considerable improvement over the 6800GT.

Like you, I skip every 2nd generation kinda (used to be skipping 2 generations in the old days), and I went from Intel 740i (~Riva 128) to TNT2 to Voodoo 5 5500 to GF4 Ti4200 to 6800GT (skipped TNT1, GF1, GF3, and GF FX), and before the Intel, I had a voodoo 1 and other things.

Anyway, I'm in the same boat as you, but I am still very happy with my 6800 GT. A PCI-E upgrade for me would cost me much more since I'm still on my trusty Athlon XP and nForce 2 mobo (still runs everything well (nana2) ).

I too am holding out till DX10, Socket M2, and the next generation of video cards.

Lastly, anyone with an AthlonXP of any speed, or a Pentium4 below 3GHz. If you buy this card, sure you'll improve your average and max framerate, but the lows will still be enjoyment-destroyingly low if you crank up the settings. Someone had to tell you, but your cpu won't cut it with high settings in the most recent or upcoming games. You need a new cpu, and so probably a new mainboard, and so would be wiser investing in a pci-e graphics card too.
You know, stuff still runs surprisingly well on my trusty Athlon XP. You got 4900 in 3d05, I get 5500 in that with my system. And in FEAR at 1024x768 2xAA and all options maxed, you got 52fps with the 6800GT. I got 49fps average in the in-game bench at 1280x1024 noAA and all options maxed. Albeit, my graphics card is overclocked a tad bit more than yours.

myshkinbob
04-16-06, 09:11 PM
The athlon xp thing was a generality i admit. :)

They do lack in FP performance and ram latency, and they're more bandwidth dependant than their athlon 64 counterparts. The XP 3200+ is considered a poor competitor to a good P4 3.2Ghz.

But with a good overclock on a mobile barton and decent dual channel ram, they are still powerful with the latest games. That kind of athlon xp rig isn't that common though. :)

snowmanwithahat
04-16-06, 11:38 PM
The athlon xp thing was a generality i admit. :)

They do lack in FP performance and ram latency, and they're more bandwidth dependant than their athlon 64 counterparts. The XP 3200+ is considered a poor competitor to a good P4 3.2Ghz.

But with a good overclock on a mobile barton and decent dual channel ram, they are still powerful with the latest games. That kind of athlon xp rig isn't that common though. :)

i agree, they can hold their own, but it's very uncommon, i generally see ~2500+'s overclocked to 2.2ghz, and they're maxed out at that, any more and they'll choke and die, and at that point it becomes somewhat of a bottleneck..... as for me i think i'll wait, my 3.4ghz pentium 4 could probably handle it, but it's not worth it unless i could sell my card for atleast $250, but i doubt that could happen, plus i don't like using the stock cooling, i already have a Zalman vf-700 on my 6800 GT, and it cools great, i couldn't use that on a 7800 GS becaus of the bridge chip to AGP.

myshkinbob
04-17-06, 05:05 AM
snowmanwithahat - I'm a silent pc enthusiast so the stock cooler worried me at first. PC noise bugs me so much that i bought a pair of the quietest performance disks around for my raid array, and then i still mounted them to elastic suspension rather than hardmount into the drivecage. ;)

Like you said, the HSI bridge chip makes aftermarket coolers problematic or impossible, luckily the stock HSF works quite well. In 2D mode it's inaudible, while in 3D mode it makes a very soft woosh that i can barely detect in daytime, but can be noticed easily at night. That's with the sound off of course, but when i'm gaming i have sound on and it's low quiet noise in 3D mode is entirely masked.

So far as temps go, for a stock cooler it's quite good. it idles at around 44c, and the highest load i could get it to was 67c, using either ATiTool or an 8 hour Oblivion session. Temps were recorded with rivatuner's monitors and checked later. :)

P.S. i just edited the far cry benchmark. It became apparent that the original 6800GT numbers were taken at 1280x1024, and not 1600x1200, so i did a quick rebench of the 7800GS at the correct res. The cpu-limited training level gets a good 17fps boost. The more shader limited research levels gains by almost 40fps!

snowmanwithahat
04-17-06, 06:30 AM
wow, that's great results with Far Cry, FEAR seems to be good too...... i might have to try and get a hold of one in the near future if i can find some dumb sap around here needing an upgrade, i could sell him my 6800 GT for $250...... with that said, i had planned on buying a 7800 GS from best buy, and then shortly after returning it, because they have a 14-day no questions asked return policy on stuff, i'll just say i messed up and bought it for the wrong slot, so it's a free trial run pretty much, i am very interested to see how it will do, so i think i may just do that

BigE4u
04-17-06, 06:23 PM
I still own an AGP system, two actually... a64 3000+ venice@2.4ghz/chaintech vnf3-250 and a P4c 3.0@3.5/abit IS7. Im still tempted to buy a 7800GS card just for the fun of it for i am still not ready to convert to a PCI-E system yet. Even though i do own a chaintech vnf4 pci-e motherboard at the moment, i'm still going to wait. :D

THE VIKING
04-17-06, 08:39 PM
Wow, nice review. I've clocked my 7800GS up to 475/1400 which is just a lottle lower than yours. I have to say it runs great. Even 6800GT and Ultra owners would find the card a worthy upgrade at those OC speeds if they can find one for under $300, which I did. Anyone with a 6800nu or lower or a 9800 PRO or lower will absolutely love the card. It's MUCH FASTER than the 6800 nui I had in my system. GeForce 5900 Ultra owners will drool over the 7800GS. If you're not planning on making the jump to PCIe, it's definitely a card that will allow your old AGP-based system to play the latest games with all features enabled at decent resolutions like 1280X1024.

Chippo
04-18-06, 06:44 AM
I would suggest there's another category of buyer for whom these cards make sense.

That is, people who have really solid, stable AGP-based systems, with masses of applications loaded, who can't face the trauma of a new motherboard and new build to go with it.

That's the camp I am in. Its taken me a long, long time to get my current system purring along. Lots of fiddling with overclock settings, voltages, timings etc. Hours (days!) of stress testing and more fiddling.

The idea of doing all that all over again, just to get a PCI-Express slot that doesn't actually perform even 1% better than AGP is just ***SO*** unappealling.

Its a real shame the hardware vendors aren't producing more high-end AGP options. They would perform just fine and surely there would be a decent market for them?

The only reason there is somewhat "subdued" demand for the AGP 7800GS's is because lots of potential owners already have 6800GTs and Ultra's anyway. Surely if they produced 7900GTX's in AGP lots of people would buy them. I know I would.

Chip
_______________
MSI K8N Neo2 easybios 1.c3
AMD Opteron 146 @ 10x280
Thermaltake Big Typhoon
2x512MB PQI Turbo Memory 10-3-3-2.5 CMD=1T
BFG GF6800GT @ 400/1100
2xWD 74GB Raptor Raid0
Creative Labs Audigy2 ZS
OCZ Powerstream 520w PSU
Windows XP SP2

CaiNaM
04-18-06, 03:40 PM
I would suggest there's another category of buyer for whom these cards make sense.

That is, people who have really solid, stable AGP-based systems, with masses of applications loaded, who can't face the trauma of a new motherboard and new build to go with it.

That's the camp I am in. Its taken me a long, long time to get my current system purring along. Lots of fiddling with overclock settings, voltages, timings etc. Hours (days!) of stress testing and more fiddling.

The idea of doing all that all over again, just to get a PCI-Express slot that doesn't actually perform even 1% better than AGP is just ***SO*** unappealling.

Its a real shame the hardware vendors aren't producing more high-end AGP options. They would perform just fine and surely there would be a decent market for them?

The only reason there is somewhat "subdued" demand for the AGP 7800GS's is because lots of potential owners already have 6800GTs and Ultra's anyway. Surely if they produced 7900GTX's in AGP lots of people would buy them. I know I would.

Chip
i just upgraded my neo2 plat to a pci-e board. for the most part it was painless. just boot with the xp cd, select install, then when it finds your old xp install select "repair". xp will install, then upon reboot i just installed the nf4 drivers, etc. (just don't install nforce network access mgr when installing the chipset driver) and the video drivers. only took about an hour and was quite painless .

all that's left is overclocking.

sharangad
04-18-06, 03:51 PM
myshkinbob,

Could you test the WMV HD decoding on the 7800 GS for me? I'm considering upgrading to the 7800 GS, but I'm not sure whether it works or not. My AGP 6600 GT doesn't have functional WMV HD decoding with the 80 series drivers and has audio sync issues with the older drivers.


Could you download the two patches on this page:

1) http://support.microsoft.com/kb/888656 (Microsoft patch for WMV HD DXVA )

2) Reboot after installing them both.

3) Set WMP10 to VMR HQ or VMR Overlay modes ( Tools menu, options, Performance tab, advanced button ) and try playing back this clip:

(Step into Liquid 1080p )
http://download.microsoft.com/download/e/a/d/eadb9b42-728b-42b0-bfdf-b472fa2a2464/Step_into_Liquid_1080.exe

and getting a CPU utilisation graph.

Thanks

myshkinbob
04-18-06, 07:21 PM
sharangad,

ok i installed both patches and rebooted, then tried step into liquid. Cpu usage was 90-100% with a few dropped frames, and i happen to know this is the same performance that my 6800GT gave on that clip. Using drivers 84.43 and then 84.21 btw.

I'm like a dog with a bone when it comes to things not working as they should, so i did some research. It seems in the 80 series forceware, nvidia decided to disable wmv-hd hardware decoding on the only available agp cards that supported it at the time - the 6600 series. This was due to some audio desync bug or something along those lines.

My little theory is they disabled it not by checking for 6600 and agp devices, but, as at the time the 6600 was the only agp card capable of hardware decode, they simply disabled it for any agp device the driver found. Along comes the 7800GS and as an agp card, the driver says no to hardware decoding.

To test this little theory, i did some further digging, and found the last driver to support hardware decode for the 6600 series on agp was the 78.05 forceware. Unfortunately the 78.xx forceware don't support the 7800GS, however i just tricked it into thinking my 7800GS was a 7800GT and it installed fine.

Back to step into liquid, and i get a cpu usage averaging 60% with the 78.01 driver. Seems like hardware decoding is active, do those numbers sound right for a 2.2Ghz A64 with purevideo decoding active on the step into liquid clip? Also i could now enable "use high quality mode" in the WMP10 advanced options for VMR, without my framerate dropping to 10fps, and no impact on cpu usage.

Now a question for everyone on the forum, what's the best way to let nvidia know their 6600 agp fix has also disabled purevideo WMV acceleration on the 7800GS? By best, i mean most likely way to get something done about it. Thanks. :)

snowmanwithahat
04-18-06, 09:21 PM
I would suggest there's another category of buyer for whom these cards make sense.

That is, people who have really solid, stable AGP-based systems, with masses of applications loaded, who can't face the trauma of a new motherboard and new build to go with it.

That's the camp I am in. Its taken me a long, long time to get my current system purring along. Lots of fiddling with overclock settings, voltages, timings etc. Hours (days!) of stress testing and more fiddling.

The idea of doing all that all over again, just to get a PCI-Express slot that doesn't actually perform even 1% better than AGP is just ***SO*** unappealling.

Its a real shame the hardware vendors aren't producing more high-end AGP options. They would perform just fine and surely there would be a decent market for them?

The only reason there is somewhat "subdued" demand for the AGP 7800GS's is because lots of potential owners already have 6800GTs and Ultra's anyway. Surely if they produced 7900GTX's in AGP lots of people would buy them. I know I would.

Chip
_______________
MSI K8N Neo2 easybios 1.c3
AMD Opteron 146 @ 10x280
Thermaltake Big Typhoon
2x512MB PQI Turbo Memory 10-3-3-2.5 CMD=1T
BFG GF6800GT @ 400/1100
2xWD 74GB Raptor Raid0
Creative Labs Audigy2 ZS
OCZ Powerstream 520w PSU
Windows XP SP2

yeh, definetly the category that i'm in.... i have a countless number of things on here, that i'd have to re-install, re-configure, and it would just literally waste hours upon hours of my time to do so.

ReDxKiNG
04-18-06, 10:53 PM
Excellent Review :)

I myself recently purchased a bfg 7800gs. I was coming from a 9700pro which i have had for about 4 years. Im not ready to go pci-e just yet and will stick with my p4 2.4 (533) fsb cpu and 1 gig of ram and my new 7800gs. Yea I know my cpu is crappy but I will be upgrading it to a p4 3.4 in the future. While This cpu more than likely bottlenecks my video card I can still notice the huge performance increase in games like cs source,hl2,far cry . I play on a widescreen monitor (1440x900 native res) and I play source with 4xSSAA
16xAF and HDR (de_dust & de_nuke) and the game still stays well above 45 fps most of the time unless theres a huge firefight of about 18+ people at once. Overall I am impressed with this lovely card, and yes it is a crippled card but I seriously doubt the 7800GS is begging for more memory bandwidth as it has acres. Compared to the 7800GS the 7800GT(pci-e) has a 33% faster core yet only 84% of the memory bandwidth, in fact the 7800GS has the same memory bandwidth as the 7800GTX yet the GTX has a whopping 72% faster core. Not bad for a "crippled" card but it isnt good either :thumbdwn: . At the end of the day If your like me and want to keep ur agp rig and are coming from a R300 card,this is THE card to get at the moment if you want to jump on the high end boat.

Chippo
04-19-06, 04:09 AM
sharangad,
Now a question for everyone on the forum, what's the best way to let nvidia know their 6600 agp fix has also disabled purevideo WMV acceleration on the 7800GS? By best, i mean most likely way to get something done about it. Thanks. :)

Excellent work Bob.

I'd very much like to get this fixed too. I bought a 6800GT a couple of years back and was *really* pissed to find out that Purevideo didn't work as advertised.

Now I buy a new AGP 7800GS - got it yesterday - and one of the things that persuaded me to do it was that I would finally get Purevideo working as it should. And now I find out that its STILL not working. :fu:

Other than that, very pleased with the new card. Its the Gainward 7800GT in disguise version :-)

Only done some preliminary tests, but already hit over 8,000 3d05 marks, which aint too shabby for an AGP card ;-)

http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=1965858

Chip

Superfly
04-19-06, 04:20 AM
Now a question for everyone on the forum, what's the best way to let nvidia know their 6600 agp fix has also disabled purevideo WMV acceleration on the 7800GS? By best, i mean most likely way to get something done about it. Thanks. :)

Whats the problem with the 6600 AGP fix?? - or rather ehat is that fix??

I can log a bug report but I need other 7800GS users to confirm the same problem ie it needs to be reproducable in a lab environment.

Can you provide as much info as possible, thanks.

Chippo
04-19-06, 04:40 AM
I can log a bug report but I need other 7800GS users to confirm the same problem ie it needs to be reproducable in a lab environment.

Can't answer all your questions, but I can confirm this part.

I have tried 84.21 and 81.98 drivers. I have the MS WMV acceleration patch loaded (888656). I have the nVidia Purevideo decoder installed (1.02-196).

And *still* no WMV HD acceleration. I get 60~75% CPU usage on Step Into Liquid 1080i, but that is with an Operton 64 at 2800MHz! And when doing any sort of multitasking, CPU goes 100% and I get dropped frames. Also, GPU temp doesn't rise whilst the video is playing - indicating its not doing anything.

Cheers & thanks

Chippo

Superfly
04-19-06, 04:42 AM
Can't answer all your questions, but I can confirm this part.

I have tried 84.21 and 81.98 drivers. I have the MS WMV acceleration patch loaded (888656). I have the nVidia Purevideo decoder installed (1.02-196).

And *still* no WMV HD acceleration. I get 60~75% CPU usage on Step Into Liquid 1080i, but that is with an Operton 64 at 2800MHz! And when doing any sort of multitasking, CPU goes 100% and I get dropped frames. Also, GPU temp doesn't rise whilst the video is playing - indicating its not doing anything.

Cheers & thanks

Chippo

You dont have a 7800GS though, the problem with the old 6800Gt's is a semi broken video chip.

Chippo
04-19-06, 04:46 AM
You dont have a 7800GS though, the problem with the old 6800Gt's is a semi broken video chip.

Yes I do.

Sorry, must edit my sig. Got the 7800GS yesterday. My post above tells the story...

Chip

Superfly
04-19-06, 04:57 AM
Yes I do.

Sorry, must edit my sig. Got the 7800GS yesterday. My post above tells the story...

Chip

OK, thanks.

RAY16
04-19-06, 05:29 AM
I'm thinking about buying a 7800GS, but I've heard it's very unstable because it's such a power hog and that a lot of PSU's don't put out enough on the 12V rail to run it properly. Any truth to that? I have an Aerocool Turbine 550W PSU, which I would think should be able to run it...but I'm still worried about it.

BigE4u
04-19-06, 06:35 AM
When it comes to powering high end parts, its always best to have a quality built PSU for reliabilty and stability concerns, preferably, at minimum 460w or more and at least 26a or more on the +12v rail for single video card users and at least 30a or more for SLI systems. Brand names by the likes of OCZ, Enermax, Antec, Pc Power&Cooling, Xclio, FPS group, etc will do just nicely. For example, i don't ever plan on going SLI so i went with an Enermax 460w psu that has 33a on the +12v rail, its more than enough power for my system(sig).