NVIDIA’s really pushing performance with their GeForce 7800 line. Their GTX version’s the fastest card out there now but not everyone can afford the price tag. With that, NVIDIA’s also releasing a slightly slower GT version and we have one on our test bench today from Leadtek.
The Leadtek WinFast PX7800GT TDH MyVIVO Extreme
, or another long Leadtek card name, is one of two versions of the GeForce 7800 GT PCI-E cards that they produce. Why is it “Extreme”? Well this version has a slightly better clock speed than the stock 7800 GTs. While the regular 7800 GT has speeds of 400MHz for the CPU and 500MHz (1000MHz DDR) for memory, the Extreme version has 450MHz for the CPU and 525MHz (1050MHz DDR) for the memory. There are 5 quad fragment pixel shader pipelines and 7 vertex shaders compared to the 6 quad and 8 vertex of the GTXs. So the GT’s reduced in a few areas, but not by that much. Everything else that the GTX can do the GT can do as well such as High Precision Dynamic Range Technology, CineFX 4.0, Intellisample 4.0, SLI, Pure Video, and so forth. The card also features 256MB of ram.
Physically, the board is a single slot solution with a reference cooler. The WinFast logo is over the cooling solution though. You might have seen a few of their cards that feature a grill cover on their fan but Leadtek has done away with it in this card at least. I was surprised at how quiet the fan is after the initial startup. I was afraid that it would be too loud but after the card settles down, it didn’t seem to spin up at all after long sessions of Battlefield 2
. Combining this card with the ABIT AN8 SLI
featuring the heatpipe cooling of the Northbridge and a quiet Zalman power supply provided a very, very quiet gaming session.
On top is the SLI connector that’s prominent in other recent NVIDIA cards. For video connections, the card has dual DVI connectors and comes with two DVI to VGA adapter in case you need to connect it to an older monitor. As the name suggests, the board also has a VIVO connection so you can connect a video source to be displayed on your computer through the card.
The GeForce 7800 GT cards need an external power connector even though it’s connecting to the PCI-E bus. So for that, there’s a six pin connector on the card itself. Included in the package is the necessary cable to convert the six pin to a regular molex connector.The bundle for the card features Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
, Prince of Persia Warrior Within
, PowerDVD 6, and a plethora of ULEAD products. Atleast Leadtek decided to update the game bundle to the sequels of their previous bundle. They are two great games, especially Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
. And to top it off, the game comes on a DVD.
If you want to take advantage of the VIVO functions, the Leadteak software suite offers a nice array of features. Time-shifting, or the ability to pause and rewind live television, is supported in the set. If you want to capture video, you’ll have the ability to choose from various formats so you aren’t stuck with one that you don’t want. The ULEAD video editing suite will let you take any home video and give it some pizzazz. Once you are done, you can take advantage of DirectBurn to easily transfer your video to a DVD or VCD. The software that Leadtek provides allows you to do all this is an added bonus.
The cable needed to plug into the VIVO port is one that I wish Leadtek would’ve replaced. On my GeForce 6600 cards, Leadtek provided a nice solid breakout box that had all the connectors. This card includes a six cable dongle for all the video interfaces. My preference would’ve been to have that box to house all the connections giving it a nice cleaner look rather than six cables coming from the back of the card. It’s a very small nitpick on the package though.
Our test system included:
2 sticks of 256MB OCZ PC3200 Ram
ABIT AN8 SLI
Maxtor 80 GB 7200RPM HD
Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 2
78.01 NVIDIA display drivers
We will compare the results to an SLI setup of GeForce 6600 GT cards from Leadtek. For the pricing, you can get the Leadtek card for $399 while two GeForce 6600 GTs will set you back around $350.
Let's start of with Futuremark’s 3DMark05
is the only synthetic benchmark we are using today. From their website: It is the first benchmark to require a DirectX9.0 compliant hardware with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher! By combining high quality 3D tests, CPU tests, feature tests, image quality tools, and much more, 3DMark05 is a premium benchmark for evaluating the latest generation of gaming hardware.
In the 3DMark05 test, the WinFast PX7800GT TDH MyVIVO Extreme
stays ahead of the SLI setup at all resolutions. While close at the beginning, the card runs farther ahead as we push the resolution. Will the same trend translate to real games? Let’s see with our first test, Half-Life 2
First up in the games tests will be Half-Life 2
. Half-Life 2
is Valve's sequel to their first masterpiece. Powered by Source technology, Half-Life 2
features the most sophisticated in-game characters ever witnessed, advanced AI, stunning graphics and physical gameplay.
All scores were pretty close with the 7800GT card keeping the edge on the SLI setup.
iD’s latest, Doom 3
, pushes graphics cards to the limit. The game will even support cards with 512MB of ram when they are released. The dark atmosphere and smooth characters generate an incredible visual atmosphere that remind me of many horror movies.
Here is the first game we see where the SLI setup starts out faster. The lead isn't held for long as the WinFast PX7800GT TDH MyVIVO Extreme
starts to push ahead after 800x600 and holds steady. The SLI drops off 45% from 800x600 to 1600x1200 while the 7800 card drops off just 6%. Halo
is the Microsoft/Bungie/Gearbox first person shooter originally appearing on the Xbox. Featuring great graphics, vehicles, and good gameplay Halo
is ran with max settings as well with Pixel Shader 2.0.
Surprisingly, the 7800 GT card falls behind on Halo
until you hit the 1600x1200 resolution. Far Cry
is a first person shooter that delivers lush outdoor settings, fast action, and many vehicles for you to use. Discover a whole island and see out far into the distance as you encounter mercenaries and monsters.
Here the card does it's best but stays behind the SLI setup. But like most of the other scores, as you push the resolution the gap closes and I'm sure the card would surpass the SLI setup once you go past 1600x1200.Unreal Tournament 2004
is one of my favorites. While it’s starting to get a little old, it still looks gorgeous and features great gameplay. This is what 2003 should’ve been and with the added Onslaught mode, the game’s one of the best LAN games out there right now.
Here we see the 7800GT card just outduel the SLI setup. Even so, both setups run the game at a very high rate at high resolutionsNow let’s take a look at how the card scales when you start turning on anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing. We’ll test Doom 3, Far Cry,
and Unreal Tournament 2004
. We ran the test at 4xAA and 4xAF as well as the maximum setting in both with 6xAA and 16xAF.
There's barely a sputter with 4xAA and 4xAF when comparing to the normal scores. As with some recent high end cards I tested, the only game in the batch that gives you any sign of performance hit at 4xAA and 4xAF is Doom 3
.. So for most games I'd turn on some antialiasing and anisotropic filtering to increase the image quality.
For stability, I ran the card in a previously tested stable setup for 24 hours with 3DMark05 running on a loop. The system held up without any problems and the card was stable throughout all testing. In regular usage, the card was solid as well in the various games I tried out.
I was surprised at how much the SLI system kept up with the card. You can see the GeForce 7800 GT start pulling away as you get to the higher resolutions and being less CPU bound but you can get good performance if you already have a GeForce 6600 card. But this review isn’t about the GeForce 6 series. The GeForce 7800 GT card from Leadtek offers fast gaming at high resolutions with high levels of AA and AF on while being a single card solution utilizing less power than the SLI setup. If you really want to turn up the resolution and some image quality options, then the WinFast PX7800GT TDH MyVIVO Extreme
gives you enough power to do so and more.
To say the card is fast is an understatement. It’s damn fast and it’s stable. Leadtek’s implementation of the GeForce 7800 GT is a winner. While it doesn’t feature anything innovative, it’s a solid card with a very good warranty. For 3 years, you’re covered and they send another card to you immediately so you don’t have to wait too long for a replacement. At $399.00 from Newegg.com
, its $100 less than the Leadtek GTX version and offers unparalleled performance. It’s even less expensive than some cards that are clocked lower. From the great games included to the speed of the card, the WinFast PX7800GT TDH MyVIVO Extreme
is certainly one card you should definitely consider when looking for a GeForce 7800 GT card.