by Rob Williams on August 22, 2005 in Graphics & Displays
If you are looking for a killer gaming card, but find the 7800GTX too expensive, then you will want to check out the recently released 7800GT. It’s been scaled down to 20 Pipes and 7 Vertex Units but it still packs a massive punch. We are taking a look at the eVGA version, which comes pre-overclocked! Time to see what this beast can do.
Recently, NVIDIA has boasted about the Power of 3. What is this power exactly? SLi, High-Dynamic Range and Shader Model 3.0, all of which coincidently ATI has zero part of. These are all great technologies, so it’s no wonder that NVIDIA is trying to shift focus on them.
Scalable Link Interface is the art of combining two of your identical NVIDIA cards to work in parellel to achieve up to 2x the performance in all of your games. If you plan on playing the newest games at 1600*1200 with all the goodies turned on, you may need to consider checking further into this technology. ATI’s Crossfire seems to have been delayed, so it looks like NVIDIA will have the upperhand in this area for quite some time.
High Dynamic Range:
Personally, this is one of the greatest advances in graphics technology that I have seen lately. HDR makes use of the color palettes in amazing ways to create ultra-realistic lighting, which can seriously increase the immersiveness of a game. Currently only the 6*00 and 7*00 series can use HDR, however only the 7*00 series can handle it with relative ease.
Far Cry is the most popular game right now to make use of HDR, although it’s not very stable. The developers of the game added the HDR feature many months after the games release, so it’s not been perfected. In the future, once developers use HDR along the process of development, we can look forward to some amazing experiences. Half-Life’s upcoming Lost Coast level will take complete advantage of HDR, and Valve is making sure it makes quite an impression. For clear examples of what HDR can do, here are three before and after screenshots of the Bunker, Regulator and Swamp levels in Far Cry.
This is no doubt going to be more impressive in the future. I personally can’t wait to see more anouncements of developers utilizing HDR, since it really has the ability to add to the experience. Just ask anyone who’s played Far Cry through with HDR enabled.. they’ll tell you.
Shader Model 3.0:
NVIDIA was the first adopter of SM3.0, although we have yet to see some games use it to the full potential. You can find out a lot more officially on SM3.0 over at the Microsoft site.
Far Cry is one game that does support SM3.0, which it introduced in the 1.30 patch.
Above is a screenshot of Far Cry using SM3.0. If I was sure on how to force the game to use SM2.0, I would have included a comparison shot.