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Leadtek 7800 GTX MyVIVO Extreme Review

Leadtek responds to the factory-overclocked competition with a highly-cranked 7800 GTX (490MHz core and 1.25GHz memory). Additionally, Leadtek throws in a good bundle to add value to the package. Check out our review of this fast and big (thanks to the cooler) card.

[review_ad]Introduction


Leadtek consistently releases unique cooling solutions for its NVIDIA-based video cards. Leadtek also jumped on the factory overclock bandwagon and offers several overclocked versions of its cards. Today’s review focuses on the Leadtek WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO Extreme, which happens to feature both a custom cooling solution and a factory overclock.

If you have seen the massive, heatpipe-based cooler on the 7800 GTX 512 cards, then the cooling solution on the WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO Extreme is nothing new to you. Leadtek’s WinFast PX7800 GTX Extreme was actually the first non-Quadro card to use this cooler, as this card was out weeks before the GTX 512s hit the shelves. The cooler was first seen on NVIDIA’s Quadro FX.

The cooler isn’t the only “extreme” aspect of this 7800 GTX Extreme card. It also offers one of the highest factory overclocks on the market with a core at 490MHz and memory at 1.25GHz. Recall that NVIDIA’s reference design card’s core and memory speeds for the 256MB GTX are 430MHz and 1.2GHz, respectively.

In this review, I’ll show you how WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO compares to Gigabyte’s reference-clocked 7800 GTX, XFX’s 7800 GTX 512 and two XFX 7800 GTs in SLI.

Features & Specifications


Features

  • Proven Shader Model 3.0 technology with Longhorn support
  • NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
  • CineFX™ 4.0 engine
  • UltraShadow II Technology
  • Intellisample™ 4.0 technology
  • HDTV support
  • MyVIVO function
  • Hottest game bundle:
    • Splinter Cell® Chaos Theory™
    • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within™
  • Popular Software Bundle: Power DVDTM6, VideoStudio 8SE, DVD MovieFactory 3SE

Specifications

GPU GeForce 7800 GTX TDH
Memory size 256MB DDR3
Memory Interface 256-bit
Graphics Bus PCI Express
GPU/Memory clock 490/1250MHz
Memory bandwidth( GB/sec.) 38.4
Fill Rate(billion texels/sec) 10.32
Vertices/sec (million) 860
Pixels per clock (peak) 24
RAMDACs (MHz) 400
Process 0.11µ
Output VIVO with HDTV out, DVI
Package contents WinFast PX7800GTX TDH Extreme graphics card
General guide
Quick installation guide
Driver & Utilities CD-ROM
DVI to VGA converter x 2
vivo cable
System Requirements Window XP ,2000
Installation software requires CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
VGA or DVI- 1 compatible monitor
A minimum 350W system power supply with 12V current rating of 22A required (When running in SLI configurations, 500W system power supply required.)
A PCI Express compliant motherboard.

Closer Look & Bundle


Closer Look

As I mentioned in the introduction, Leadtek went with the large Quadro FX cooler in order to add extreme cooling and clock speeds to this 7800 GTX. This cooler features four heatpipes and a large fan in the middle of the cooler.

The positive aspects of this big cooler are that it’s relatively quiet, and it does an excellent job cooling the GPU. The biggest negative is its size; it actually takes up two slots. Most SLI motherboards would be able to support two of them, but there wouldn’t be much space left on the board.

Just like other 7800 GTXs, this card features dual DVI output and requires a connection to your system’s power supply. In addition to the DVI outputs, the WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO features VIVO capabilities just as the name implies.

Bundle / Package Contents

  • WinFast PX7800GTX TDH Extreme graphics card
  • General guide
  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver & Utilities CD-ROM
  • DVI to VGA converter x 2
  • VIVO cable
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (full)
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (full)
  • PowerDVD 6
  • DVD MovieFactory 3 SE
  • VideoStudio 8 SE DVD

Leadtek includes a rather nice bundle with two very fun and fairly recent games – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. You also get the necessary cables and some other software. I’d like to see an S-video cable included, but it seems to be a trend right now to leave them out.

Test System & Benchmarks


Test System

  • DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR Motherboard (review)
  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+
  • Corsair TWINX1024-3200XL (review)
  • Maxtor 120GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive
  • Graphics 1: Leadtek GeForce 7800 GTX Extreme
  • Graphics 2: XFX GeForce 7800 GTX 512 XXX Edition
  • Graphics 3: 2 x XFX GeForce 7800 GT in SLI
  • Graphics 4: Gigabyte GeForce 7800 GTX
  • Windows XP with Service Pack 2
  • ForceWare 81.89 and DirectX 9.0c

Benchmarks

  • 3DMark03 v3.6.0 – default settings and 4xAA / 8xAF
  • 3DMark05 v1.2.0 – default settings
  • AquaMark3 – 4xAA / 8xAF, high quality
  • Counter-Strike: Source, Video Stress Test – 4xAA / 8xAF
  • Doom 3 – NoAA / High Quality and 4xAA / High Quality, both with highest details set in game
  • Far Cry – NoAA / 1xAF and 4xAA / 8xAF
  • X2: The Threat, Rolling Demo – automatic quality set in benchmark with antialiasing, bumpmaps and shadows enabled in benchmark
  • F.E.A.R. – NoAA / NoAF and 4xAA / 8xAF

Benchmark Results – 3DMark03


An introduction to 3DMark is probably unnecessary. Many reviewers have totally dropped 3DMark from their test suites, but I still like to include both 3DMark03 and 3DMark05 since so many people love to compare 3DMark results and since so many people are familiar with the tests.

Keep in mind that the 3DMark tests are just synthetic benchmarks and therefore do not reflect real game performance.

Benchmark Results – 3DMark05


In addition to the official test scores for 3DMark05, you can see the results from the feature tests below. The tests are good for showing the relative power of each card in regards to fillrates and shader capabilities.

You can see that the factory overclock of the Leadtek 7800 GTX Extreme offers a nice boost in performance over the Gigabyte 7800 GTX.

Benchmark Results – AquaMark3 & X2: The Threat


AquaMark3

The AquaMark3 benchmark is based on an actual game engine, and some parts of the benchmark can really stress even the most modern cards. I ran the benchmark with 4xAA and 8xAF in the application and “Application Preference” set in the driver control panel.

X2: The Threat, Rolling Demo

This demo is also based on a game, and that is X2: The Threat, of course. The Rolling Demo renders a bunch of different game scenes and reports scores for each scene and an average score in frames per second (FPS). The chart below just shows the average. This benchmark was run with bumpmaps, shadows and anti-aliasing set to “On” in the application and with “Application Preference” set in the driver control panel.

Benchmark Results – Counter-Strke: Source & Doom 3


CS: Source VST

The Counter-Strike: Source video stress test, which can be found in the CS: Source game menu, is a quick benchmark that tests a card’s ability to render various scenes that demonstrate the Source engine’s advanced capabilities. The average FPS is shown on the graph.

Doom 3

While it can play fairly well on low-end systems at lower resolutions, Doom 3 can really punish a system if you crank up the details and resolution. I ran the included demo1 timedemo with quality set to high and AA turned off and also with quality set to high and AA set to 4x in the game.

Benchmark Results – Far Cry


Far Cry, which is included with the XFX 7800 GTX 512 XXX, can be a very punishing game to even the top machines. I used a benchmarking utility from HardwareOC to benchmark this game. I used the HOC volcano and river demos for testing. In the NoAA / 1xAF tests, my system is definitely CPU limited.

Take a look at the Far Cry performance on another map.

Benchmark Results – F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R. is a game known for nice graphics, and it happens to be a good test of a powerful machine if you turn up all the eye candy. When running the performance test, I set all settings in the game to maximum, but I left soft shadows disabled. This test was only done on the Leadtek GTX Extreme, the XFX GTs in SLI and the XFX GTX 512 XXX.

Overclocking


Using the simple Coolbits registry hack, I was able to overclock the WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO Extreme to 515MHz core and 1.3GHz memory, which is nice little overclock over the factory overclock of 490MHz and 1.25GHz. This overclock resulted in a performance gain of around 3-5% in games depending on resolution and AA/AF settings.

Conclusion


If you don’t mind the large cooler, then Leadtek’s WinFast PX7800 GTX TDH MyVIVO Extreme is a very nice card. I think Leadtek could have been more creative and come up with a single-slot “extreme” cooler, but the included one does a very fine job, keeping the GPU at about 35°C when idle. Although already overclocked quite generously, the cooler should help you get a little more speed out of this card.

I am a fan of factory overclocks and really appreciate Leadtek’s generous core overclock of 490MHz. Memory running at 1.25GHz is also pretty nice. In addition to the factory overclock, Leadtek includes a nice bundle that boasts two full (and good) games. I’m looking forward to playing them with this card.

Like all other high-end cards, the biggest drawback of the Leadtek 7800 GTX Extreme is its price. At the time of writing, it could be found for around $500. So, to run SLI with this beast, you’d have to drop a cool grand. Some people can do that; most of us can’t. Still, it’s a good card to consider if you want to start with one GTX now and plan to get a second one later.

Pros:

+ One of the highest factory overclocks available
+ Nice bundle – 2 full games!
+ Great performance
+ Good cooling
+ SLI ready!
+ VIVO capabilities

Cons:

- Two-slot cooler
- Pricey
- Not a lifetime warranty

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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