ATI has surprised both customers and reviewers by increasing the price of the X1800XT to $599, instead of sticking to the $549 RRP previously announced by the company. When ATI sent the cards for review, the release date was several week away, but they had already set the price of which was $549, about $100 more than the 7800 GTX, but with 256M more memory. The X1800XT, according to a recent ATI memo making the rounds, is now going to retail at $599, and according to one dealer ‘no one can go below that’. If at first sight the card looked like a good deal, now end-users might consider a better look around? Time will tell if this is just smoke or?fire, but this isn’t the first time ATI RRP’s have not been upheld. If ATI keep making mistakes like this while Nvidia chug along doing exactly what they say they will do, they?are going to be hit hard come next quarters financial results.
Both the?Tech Report and Hexus both have published overviews for the newly announced S3 DeltaChrome series of graphics cards. That?s right, S3 are back! It appears the S3 is targeting the mid-range sector and might be a good contender to?the 6600 GT. This is a good move on S3?s part as this is where the big money is. S3 wll have to offer more performance for a cheaper price to have any impact on ATI and Nvidia. A key factor?for S3?s success with these cards is going to be driver support, and this I fear is where S3 may stumble. Time will tell though, and I for one am looking forward to testing one as soon as possible! You can check S3’s very overloaded website HERE
We review a passively cooled performance powerhouse from Sapphire
Gainward have another Golden Sample to wet your appetite, could this be the best 7800 GT currently on the market?
G70 was the codename for the 7800 core. Now G73 has been discovered by NGOHQ who have been snooping around in the latest ForceWare. "It seems that NVIDIA is working on a new GPU architecture for laptops. We discovered that they already added support for the G73 inside ForceWare Control Panel. We believe it would be a mid-range GPU"
From what Eric Demers, lead chip designer?at ATI has hinted, there seems to be a lot of head-room built into the R520, and we’re starting to see its potential around the web now the worlds leading overclockers have there hands on them! Sampsa & Suvanto (who’s names sound like a Trance duo!)?have been able to clock an X1800XT to 1GHz core?and 2GHz on the memory?using LN2. Click the link for more details, but to wet your appetite here’s a screen shot of ATI tool. If you look closely there are small artifacts even in this screenshot so they must have been at the absolute limits here but still, its a great achievement.
Eric Demeres runs the chip design team at ATI.?He has?now confirmed?some details behind the memory mapping?performance leap in OpenGL. This change is for the X1K family only The X1Ks have a new programmable memory controller and gfx subsystem mapping. A simple set of new memory controller programs gave a huge boost to memory BW limited cases, such as AA (need to test AF). We measured 36% performance improvements on D3 @ 4xAA/high res. This has nothing to do with the rendering (which is identical to before). X800’s also have partially programmable MC’s, so we might?see increases in performance?in the near future. According to Eric Demeres, It’s still not optimal -?"The work space we have to optimize memory settings and gfx mappings is immense. It will take us some time to really get the performance closer to maximum. But that’s why we designed a new programmable MC. We are only at the beginning of the tuning for the X1K’s"
ATI have released a small App to the press which optimises memory mapping on the X1000 series of cards. Once enabled it can give performance boosts of up to 35% in Doom III when?tested?at high resolutions and with Anti-Aliasing on. To be more precise though, it’s an Open GL optimization and so will give benefits in all Open GL games, not just Doom 3. Though this small App?will only be avilable?to the press, it should be?implemented in a later version (perhaps 5.11) of Catalyst drivers, so everyone can reap the benefits. Hexus?are the first to test this?tool out and you can check there result here. Though i have the patch in my possesion i have no X1000 series cards here right now and so cannot do my own tests, but i can confirm that this is most definitely an X1000 series boost only.
Nvidia have today release driver 81.84. According to Nvidia this new driver gives a boost of 15% for GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs in Battlefield 2, a 5% improvement for GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs in Far Cry, and 5% for GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs running in SLI mode in Half Life 2. The most interesting new feature has got the be support for mixing vendor GPUs for?SLI . The NVIDIA Release 80 graphics driver gives end users the ability to mix and match any SLI Ready graphics cards of like GPUs to use in an NVIDIA SLI configuration?using two PCI-Express graphics cards in tandem for unparalleled graphics performance.? Previously, users had to use two graphics card from the same vender in an SLI configuration. Other note worthy performance increase include: Dual core CPU performance optimisations – including performance increases of up to 15% for GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs running Far Cry in SLI mode, and up to 15% for GeForce 7800 GTX GPUs running Half Life 2 Support for NVIDIA mobile GPUs – provides instant upgrades for selected notebook computers featuring NVIDIA GPUs PureVideo quality enhancements-support for high definition, MPEG-2 de-interlacing on GeForce 6600 and higher GPUs Broader SLI optimisations and quality-assurance validation for the latest games?including specific SLI profiles for more than 150 of the most popular titles You can download the Windows XP version of this driver here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp_2k_78.01.html
This is?what the X1800 XL single slot cooling solution looks like. The core is cooled by copper heatspreader, heatpipes and fins while the memories are cooled by a large nickel plate. See pics HERE
Recently Rage3D reported that the method in Crossfire capable cards used? to communicate to each other could be flawed, offering no higher than 1600×1200 at an unimpressive 60Hz. Speculation arose when the backbone to this setup was the Silicon Image Sil 1161. Penstarsys.com has more information on this and is countering the argument, saying that ATI cards will probably not have such limitations: "The receiver can handle 1600×1200 @ 60 Hz, which means that it can receive 60 frames of 1600×1200 pixel content per second.? When used with the output of the master card, this can give a theoretical maximum of 120 fps at 1600×1200 resolution when using alternating frames.? Most high quality 21" CRTs can usually handle a maximum of 100 Hz at 1600×1200, so using AFR with v-sync enabled, 100 fps is theoretically achievable (depending on the application of course).? Let’s look at other situations." Read the full article HERE
All of the X800 cards from ATI will support Crossfire, including the X800GT and X800GTO. You will need a master card in order to run it and have to wait for the?second driver release, as the launch drivers will?only support X800XT and X850XT derivatives. Hexus
NVIDIA will be releasing Rel-80 drivers within the next month, which will support mix-matched graphics cards. Whilst it is unclear if it will currently down clock the performance of the faster card – it will show a clear upgrade path for users who have SLI and a single 6-series card. We should see this within the next month. Hexus
Gainward have?launched two 7800GT cards this week, the?Vanilla Ultra/3400 PCX XP 7800 GT and a Golden Sample version with increased clock speeds over the reference design. The vanilla Ultra/3400 PCX XP 7800 GT will run?at?400MHz core?/ 1000MHz memory speeds. The Golden sample will run with higher clocks which are yet to be decided upon.. Pricing for the vanilla card was not mentioned to me but you can buy it HERE for ?323.11. The price and availabilty of the Golden Sample is still to be disclosed. In my opinion the 7800GT’s are set to be a monumental success!
Have you seen the banner ads around from Nvidia talking of "The Power of 3, coming 11th August? This has sparked quite a buzz over many forums asking the question? What is power of three? Speculation?is rife, with some guessing it may mean?three way SLI (duh). Anyhow, I have been told that "Power of 3" is not?a reference?to any new cards from Nvida or?some new form of SLI. Power of?3 is likely referring to?SLI, HDR and Shader Model 3.0, all feature ATI currently do not have in there line up. So that wraps up one of the best marketing campaigns of the year so far!