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BFG GeForce 7800GS OC 256Mb AGP:
Review and Testing

Paul V. Bolotoff
Release date: 1st of December 2006
Last modify date: 18th of May 2007


[a Russian version of this review is available at]


Well, it's quite obvious that the AGP bus is doomed and of no future. No doubt that the PCI Express bus is the way to go any further. However, there are many not so slow AGP-based computers still working worldwide, and their owners may not be really anxious to invest hefty sums of money just to get their workhorses ready for PCI Express video hardware. By the way, the AGP bus itself shouldn't be a bottle-neck to modern high-end video cards. To be absolutely correct, the AGP 8x bus is able to deliver 2.1GB/s of theoretical bandwidth while the PCI Express 16x bus can offer 8GB/s, though not more than 4GB/s in any single direction. Of course, the difference in theoretical bandwidth between both bus architectures is handsome, but in real life it doesn't matter even nearly that much because 3D-related bus traffic is unidirectional mostly, also consider that modern video cards carry enormous amounts of video memory which help to reduce bus utilisation. Behind of that, the AGP bus could evolve aiming more bandwidth. For instance, it was possible either to raise its operating frequency from 66MHz to 133MHz with necessary voltage restrictions applied, thus obtaining a new 16x mode, or to increase the number of data lines from 32 to 64, thus doubling theoretical bandwidth again, or even both at the same time. After all, it shouldn't break compatibility with video cards supporting the AGP 3.0 (AGP 8x) or even 2.0 (AGP 4x) specification. Just a moment, doesn't it remind you something? That's exactly how PCI-X evolved from regular 32-bit 33MHz PCI. It may be interesting to find out that the same company stands behind both AGP and PCI Express standards — Intel. Back in 1997-98 they promoted AGP to the market just like PCI Express in 2005-06. The history repeats itself.
Anyway, this article is about to introduce one of the most powerful AGP-based video cards available on the market — GeForce 7800GS OC 256Mb by BFG Technologies (unit code BFGR78256GSOC). This video card is based upon a NVIDIA G70 graphprocessor, known formerly as NV47, which also serves as a basis for 7800GT and 7800GTX video cards, though these ones are PCI Express only. The point of this review is to get the reader acquainted with the card and to compare it with several other products selected.

The First Impression

So, here is our retail box. It comes painted in grey and green colours, also decorated with the logotypes of BFG and NVIDIA. There aren't so many things to get from inside: the card itself, a DVI to D-Sub (VGA) adaptor, a twin cable for auxiliary power supply and an envelope which contains a driver CD, a quick install guide written in 6 languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian) and yet another guide explaining in the same 6 languages how to set up nView and TV-out. Wait, there are two "Powered by BFG Tech" stickers as well. No free software bundled, even no TV-out cable.
BFG GeForce 7800GS OC 256Mb AGP (retail box)
(click to enlarge, 143Kb)

The video card follows a respective reference design by NVIDIA. The PCB is varnished over in blue colour, which is essential to BFG. The power supply stabiliser is located in the left part of the card at close quarters to D-Sub, DVI and TV-out connectors. There is a cooling system which consists of a large copper radiator with a fan attached — it weighs a lot, so it just cannot be made of aluminium with copper-like anodisation. In fact, it covers most of the card's front area, and that's a good sign. A 4-pin "molex" style connector may be found at the right end of the card as usual.
BFG GeForce 7800GS OC 256Mb AGP (front view)
(click to enlarge, 113Kb)

About one half of the video card's back side is populated with a retention plate of the cooling system. Another half is possessed mostly by those components of the power supply stabiliser which cannot be placed on the front side because of space restrictions. Nothing else to be worth of mentioning there.
BFG GeForce 7800GS OC 256Mb AGP (back view)
(click to enlarge, 109Kb)
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Copyright (c) Paul V. Bolotoff, 2006-07. All rights reserved.
A full or partial reprint without a permission received from the author is prohibited.
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