Nvidia GeForce 7800 GTX hits store shelves, really

Santa Clara (CA) - Nvidia today launched its next-generation graphics chip for gamers: The GeForce 7800 GTX, formerly code-named G70, offers more horsepower, more speed and at least temporarily takes the lead in the benchmark race. The best news probably is that 7800 cards in fact are available, according to Nvidia.

It is time of the year when gamers reconsider their graphic system. Nvidia is first with a new flagship product and a performance hike. The GeForce 7800 GTX leads the way a few weeks before ATI will release its R520 chip and, according to benchmark results from Tom's Hardware Guide, now has the fastest desktop graphics chip money can buy.

Specs of the new graphics card were widely speculated for speculated for several weeks, but can now be confirmed. The graphics processor has 302 million transistors, runs at a frequency of 430 MHz, and integrates a 256 Mbit memory interface for up to 256 MByte of memory. GTX cards offer dual DVI and HD output and carry a suggested list price of $600. New features include tweaked Shader Model 3.0 support and a shading performance of more than 200 GFlops as well as an improved implementation of Pure Video.

While gamers may not be surprised that the 7800 GTX tops the 6800 Ultra and also ATI's X850 XT PE in performance numbers, the big news of the launch is the immediate global availability in "volume" numbers, according to Nvidia. In contrast to the numerous paper launches of high-end cards in the past, Nvidia claims that gamers will be able to buy 7800 GTX cards right away. Nvidia would not comment on shipment numbers, however, several card manufacturers confirmed that there are more 7800 GTX cards available at launch than there were 6800 Ultras at their introduction.

A wider availability will also have an effect on pricing of such cards. For now, there is the hope for customers that price gouging on the 7800 GTX will be limited.

Companies offering boards at launch include Asus, BFG, PNY, Chaintech, Albatron, MSI, Leadtek, and Gigabyte. Pricing is set at the suggested retail $599, but some manufacturers are marketing bundles with prices that hit the $700 mark. This is just one indication that the best-performing cards will bring higher price tags this year: Sources indicate that Nvidia is prepared to react to an ATI R520 that is likely to surpass the 7800 GTX in speed. Expect such a card to carry a significant premium. Add in 512 MByte or even 1 GByte of memory and you have a $1000+ graphics card.

Read Tom's Hardware Guide's complete 7800 GTX coverage:
Nvidia Kicks Ass With 7800 GTX