What could be better than running two GeForce 7800 GT cards in SLI? How about two GeForce 7800 GTs and 512MB of memory in a single card? Asus has built just such a beast, albeit in very limited supply, with a couple restrictions, and at a relatively high price.
Gigabyte went down this road last year, with the GV-3D1-68GT (featuring dual 6800 GTs). Asus takes the concept a couple steps further: Not only does the N7800GT Dual feature a faster GPU, but Asus tells us its working on a new motherboard design that will enable you to run two of these cards in SLI to create a quad-GPU system.
Asus recommends running the card with only Asus’ own driver, which is based on nVidia’s ForceWare version 77.77. But we also tested the card with nVidia’s ForceWare 81.95, and the card obediently delivered slightly better benchmark numbers (leaving us to wonder why Asus made such a recommendation in the first place. For the record, the benchmarks published here are based on Asus’ drivers.)
The N7800GT Dual has other limitations, too: It’s compatible with only certain nForce4 motherboards, including Asus’ own P5ND2-SLI and A8N-SLI series, and Gigabyte’s K8NXP-SLI. The card ran fine in our A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard with PC Power and Cooling’s Turbo-Cool 510 SLI power supply, but you also have the option of plugging the card into an external power supply all its own.
In terms of performance, the N7800GT Dual proved to be slightly faster than two conventional 7800 GT cards running in SLI. But this card’s $800 price tag renders it about $100 more expensive than a pair of 7800 GT cards from Asus’ competitors. Buyers should also take the driver restriction into account.