First we are amazed how fast prices drop. One month ago, when we reviewed XFX model VGAs based on the GeForce 7800 GTX were quoted around USD 600 and right now you can find models from both XFX and MSI around USD 540. Really amazing.
GeForce 7800 GTX is clearly targeted to newer games running at very high screen resolutions and with the maximum possible video quality. If you have a 17” video monitor or higher and run your games at 1280×1024 or above and want to experience your games putting all quality settings on maximum, that’s the video card you are looking for, it’s unbeatable.
If you run older games (i.e., before Doom 3 and Far Cry), don’t like to play with image quality settings and doesn’t go over 1280×1024, this card is not for you – it’s too expensive and it won’t deliver the performance you are looking for. In this case you should go for a card with better cost/benefit ratio. Among the current high-end cards, we’d suggest the GeForce 6800 GT, which is far cheaper than GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 6800 Ultra and offers a terrific performance at resolutions up to 1280×1024 if you don’t max out the image quality settings in very heavy games.
As for the MSI model, its main advantages are the Dynamic Overclock Technology, which allows you to easily overclock your card (but you need to use MSI drivers, which isn’t bad since it has awesome sliders for manual overclocking), and the full version of The Chronicles of Riddick: Butcher’s Bay Developer’s Cut.
The other GeForce 7800 GTX model we tested, from XFX, came already factory-overclocked, which is more targeted to users that want overclocking but don’t want to play around with any configuration at all. Even though with MSI model you can achieve better overclocking results since on MSI driver is really easy and painless to configure overclocking, XFX model comes with a free gamepad – a USD 29.95 value – but comes with no game at all.
So, the final call is yours: a factory-overclocked card with a free gamepad or a card very easy to overclock with just one mouse click with a free full game? You choose.