Point of View GeForce 7800 GS review

£175
Price when reviewed

The AGP-based 7800 GS is built around the same core GPU as the 7800 GT and GTX. Fabbed at 100nm, the GPU is clocked at 375MHz, while the RAM is clocked at 600MHz. The core speed is a slight reduction on the PCI Express-only 7800 GT, which runs at 400MHz. However, the memory is actually clocked a little faster – the 7800 GT runs at 500MHz. There are more substantial cutbacks elsewhere. The 7800 GT has 20 pixel pipelines, compared to 16 on the 7800 GS. The number of ROPs (Render Output Pipes) has also been shaved to eight, down from 16 on the GT and the GTX.

But no matter what resolution you play your games at, the 7800 GS is the quickest AGP card you can buy. None of our benchmarks returned an unplayable score at 1,280 x 1,024 – impressive, considering that all of our benchmarks require 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering to be turned on. Far Cry played at an average of 57fps, while Half-Life 2 ran at 48fps. Call of Duty 2 is the only disappointment, with an average frame rate of 22fps. Only certain points in the game ran particularly jerkily, though, so if you can stand the odd drop in frame rates, Call of Duty 2 is perfectly playable.

Raising the resolution to 1,600 x 1,200 produced similarly impressive scores. Far Cry ran at 42fps, while Half-Life 2 ran at 40fps. Even turning on HDR in Far Cry yielded a frame rate of 34fps at 1,280 x 1,024 and 25fps at 1,600 x 1,200. Call of Duty 2 was again the slowest runner, although the frame rate of 11fps was the only truly unplayable result we saw.

The 7800 GS is currently the fastest AGP graphics card available, making the choice easy if you don’t want to upgrade to a PCI Express motherboard just yet. The inclusion of one of the best games around, Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, as well as Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, sweetens the deal. If you want to upgrade your system one last time before moving on, the 7800 GS is a great way to do it.

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