NVIDIA's honeymoon in the high-end graphics market came to a rather belated end late last year when ATI finally mustered its Radeon X1000 series to challenge NVIDIA's hegemony. Although ATI's best effort, the Radeon X1800 XT 512MB did enough in benchmarks to be considered an alternative to the GeForce 7800 GTX - previously in a class of its own - the Radeon X1800 XT cards were not exactly plentiful. Throw in the thorny issue of the rarely seen but highly publicized CrossFire and ATI certainly has some problems meeting expectations. This was in stark contrast with the popular GeForce 7800 GTX, aided by its steadily falling prices.
The retail marketplace may be in NVIDIA's favor at the moment but the performance leader crown is a trophy desired by both companies, for the prestige and bragging rights if nothing else. Therefore, once the Radeon X1800 XT was introduced, it was only a matter of time before NVIDIA came up with its answer. Compared to the top of the range Radeons, the GeForce 7800 GTX cards are somewhat hampered by its 256MB frame buffer, a situation which NVIDIA has quickly corrected. And if that's not enough, the clock speeds for both the G70 core and the memory have been ramped up, which meant more stringent testing and qualifying the core for the higher frequencies and using faster DDR memory to achieve this. The end result is the very promising GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB SKU with a memory bandwidth and fill rate exceeding the Radeon X1800 XT.