Seven of NVIDIA's Latest and Greatest Cards Tested

Web Support

Unfortunately, the Asus download page is very slow; individual tools and drivers could only be downloaded at about 15 to 20 kb/s. Luckily, several downloads can be started simultaneously, and the graphics driver offered on the site was up to date.

Overclocking And Heat

The most important overclocking tool for the Asus card is the company's own Smartdoctor utility, which lets you set the memory and GPU frequencies directly and instantly. Asus ships its 7800 GT at a stock speed of 400/1000 MHz (GPU/memory). Smartdoctor permits a maximum speed of 420/1040 MHz, but does so without warning the user that overclocking voids the card's warranty.

The Coolbits registry hack unlocks the frequency selection dialog in the NVIDIA reference drivers. Beware, however, that the manufacturer will not cover any damage to the hardware resulting from overclocking-related overheating. In our test, the driver's automatic detection routine determined a maximum clock speed of 480/1157 MHz for our sample.

The card's temperature ranged from 38 to54 degrees Celsius (2D/3D) when not overclocked. Running at higher frequencies, the temperatures were only slightly higher, at 38 and 60 degrees.