Geforce 7800 Performance Meets AGP Slots

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Logo

In recent months many enthusiasts have looked into updating the video cards on their dating AGP based platforms only to find that all the top end cards are PCI Express only.  NVIDIA has noticed the demand for AGP cards and in a move to help support the millions still using the AGP slot have released the 7800 GS to help out those still holding onto a architecture that is slowly coming to an end.  Based on the fundamental architecture of the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GPU launched in mid-2005, the GeForce 7800 GS AGP is a powerful graphics solution for millions of PCs with AGP slots that performs better than the 6800GT. All the great features included in PCI Expressbased 7800 Series GPUs are supported by the GeForce 7800 GS AGP, such as Shader Model 3, HDR, PureVideo, and transparency antialiasing. Many users looking to upgrade their older PCs to support the latest 3D games at high resolutions and quality settings will find the 7800 GS AGP the perfect solution to hold them over for the time being.

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Core Clocks

The NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS is a single slot card that features a 375MHz core clock speed with a GDDR3 memory clock speed of 600MHz (1.2GHz double data rate).  The 7800 GS features 6 Vertex shading units with a total of 16 pixel shader pipelines, which is a far cry from the 48 pixel shader processors that the latest ATI X1900XTX offers PCI Express users.

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Front Angle

The NVIDIA 7800 GS

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Logo

The reference NVIDIA 7800 GS is shown above and while it does have the now standard power connector on the right hand side (the black box) it is missing one thing we have come to known the SLI adapter on the top of the card. SLI is not supported by AGP-based systems, so it is not supported by the 7800 GS AGP and you will not find an SLI connector on the board on any of the partner boards either.

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Logo

While the AGP slot is becoming dated NVIDIA tells us that the GeForce 7800 GS AGP fully supports the upcoming Microsoft Vista DirectX 9.0L (previously called Windows Graphics Foundation (WGF) 1.0), and Longhorn Display Driver Model (LDDM) to give users the best possible experience with the 3D graphical user interface in the upcoming Vista operating system (OS). 

nVidia GeForce 7800 GS AGP Video Card Logo

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP-based graphics cards will be available for purchase at Best Buy retail stores and Website (www.bestbuy.com) on Sunday, February 5, 2006 in North America, with worldwide availability from leading e-tailers on February 6,

Performance Numbers

In terms of performance NVIDIA benchmarked their 7800 GS AGP versus the 6800 GT.  Before we look at the benchmarking results let's take a look at the two cards features.  As you can tell from the table below the 6800GT and 7800GS AGP have the same number of vertex/pixel shaders as well as the same amount of memory.  The 7800 GS AGP has a 25MHz core clock increase and a 200MHz memory clock speed increase.

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS Specifications

The following benchmark datawas provided by NVIDIA as a representative sample of scores and relative performance of the GeForce 7800 GS AGP versus the GeForce 6800 GT. Tests were conducted on a Pentium 4 EE 3.4GHz on an 875 chipset using Windows XP Pro with SP2.

NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS Specifications

As you can tell the NVIDIA 7800 GS AGP performs slightly better than the old 6800GT AGP video card.  If I personally had a 6800GT I would not bother upgrading, but for the millions of people that are still running integrated graphics or an older Ti-4200 or FX-5200 video card then this might be your upgrade solution. The NVIDIA 7800 GS AGP is currently $349.99 at you local CompUSA or BestBuy.  The cards are not officially on sale for another few days, but NVIDIA confirmed that some CompUSA's started selling the card last week by accident.

Overall the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP seems to be a decent card, but with a high price tag and the same number of pixel shaders as the previous generation one might want to consider jumping to a PCI Express platform as AGP is slowly coming to an end and the price tag on these cards are making you think hard about what kind of system you want to run. 

That's it from our end on this preview, but check out the FAQ that NVIDIA sent out on the next page if you have any more questions about the NVIDIA 7800 GS AGP.

FAQs Interview

Q:  What are you announcing today?
A:    We are announcing the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS graphics processing unit (GPU).  The GeForce 7800 GS is the latest addition to the GeForce 7 family and the first to support AGP.  It delivers all the performance and features of the award-winning GeForce 7 Series architecture to the huge installed base of AGP systems.

Q:  Where does this fall in your product line-up?  What does it replace?
A:  The NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS is an enthusiast GPU for AGP users. It offers a very nice bang-for-the-buck.  GeForce 7800 GS represents an upgrade from the GeForce 6800 GT with its advanced GeForce 7 Series
features and performance at a competitive price.  It will extend the life of many enthusiasts' PCs that require AGP graphics.

Q:  Will you continue to make AGP parts moving forward?
A: We do not discuss unannounced products.  However, thanks to our high-speed interconnect (HSI) chip, we have the flexibility to create a single GPU that will support PCI Express and AGP. 

Q:  Will you make a PCI Express version of this chip?
A:  We have no plans to productize a PCI Express version of the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS.

Q:  Is this a hard launch with immediate availability?
A:  Yes.  For this launch, we are partnering with Best Buy stores.  The boards are at (or on their way) to all the Best Buy stores, and you will be able to purchase them in Best Buy on Sunday, February 5, 2006, and in
e-tail on Monday, February 6, 2006.  We are announcing on Thursday, February 2, 2006, because Friday, Saturday and Sunday are not ideal days to do a product launch, and we need to announce the product so consumers know what it is when it hits store shelves on Sunday morning.

Q: Does the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS support all AGP bus specifications?
A:  Yes, it will work in any AGP 4X or 8X-compliant system.

Q:  What is the recommended power supply?
A:  NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS-based cards requires a 350 watt power supply.

Q:  How much memory bandwidth does the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS have?
A: The GeForce 7800 GS has 38.4 GB per second of memory bandwidth.

Q:  Is this a native AGP part or does it use a bridge chip?
A: AGP-based NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS boards feature NVIDIA high-speed interconnect (HSI) technology, a bi-directional PCI Express-to-AGP bridge.

Q:  Does the HSI (or a bridge chip) affect the performance of the board?
A: No.  We have used the HSI chip on many products in the past, and the performance is fine.

Q:  How many pixel pipes does the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP have?
A:  The GeForce 7800 GS AGP has 16 pixel pipes.

Q:  How many vertex shaders does the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP have?
A: The GeForce 7800 GS AGP has 6 vertex shaders.

Q:  What is the core clock of the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP?
A: The GeForce 7800 GS AGP has a 375MHz core clock.

Q:  What is the memory clock of the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP?
A:  The memory clock is determined by the add-in card partner.  However you will see a number of GeForce 7800 GS AGP-based graphics cards with a memory clock at 600MHz.

Q:  Does the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS have NVIDIA PureVideo technology?
A:  Yes, like all GeForce 7 Series GPUs, the GeForce 7800 GS AGP features PureVideo.

Q:  What kind of memory is on the NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS card?
A:  GDDR3 memory.

Q:  What is the memory interface for this GPU?
A:  The NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP has a 256-bit memory interface.