GeForce 7 Series Round-up with Asus & MSI

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  The recent release of the GeForce 8800 series means two good things for those in NVIDIA's camp: for benchmark junkies there's a new set of cards to put through their paces. And for those with less lofty goals, it means that that the prices for the existing crop of card should soon start dropping.  Thus, it's a win-win situation for everyone involved - the buyers, the shops, and, of course, NVIDIA itself.

Shopping for a GeForce 7 card is akin to stopping at Baskin Robbins these days, with so many flavors to choose from.  We decided to grab one of those little plastic spoons and do a little of the sampling for you.  Up for today's taste test are MSI's NX7900GT-VT2D256E-HD, a pre-overclocked 7900 GT also featuring HDCP support, and two cards from Asus: the EN7900GS TOP/2DHT/256M/A and the EN7950GT/HTDP/512M/A.  The former card also comes overclocked by default, and by a large margin, while the latter card sports 512MB of RAM as well as HDCP support (all 7950 GTs come with this as a standard).  

      

      

NVIDIA's GeForce 7 Series: Features & Specs
A flavor for every taste
NVIDIA CineFX 4.0 Shading Architecture

Vertex Shaders
Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
Displacement mapping
Geometry instancing
Infinite length vertex programs


Pixel Shaders
Support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
Full pixel branching support
Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
Infinite length pixel programs

Next-Generation Texture Engine
Accelerated texture access
Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
Support for 16-bit floating point format and 32-bit floating point format
Support for non-power of two textures
Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
DirectX and S3TC texture compression


._Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline with native hardware support for 32bpp, 64bpp, and 128bpp rendering modes


NVIDIA Intellisample 4.0 Technology

._Advanced 16x anisotropic filtering (with up to 128 Taps)
._Blistering- fast antialiasing and compression performance
._Gamma-adjusted rotated-grid antialiasing removes jagged edges for incredible image quality
._Transparent multisampling and transparent supersampling modes boost antialiasing quality to new levels
._Support for normal map compression
._Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data at even higher resolutions and frame rates
._Fast z-clear

NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology
._Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games

64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending

._Delivers true high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting support
._Full floating point support throughout entire pipeline
._Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
._Floating point texturing drives new levels of clarity and image detail
._Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions

API Support
. Complete DirectX support, including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0
._Full OpenGL support, including OpenGL 2.0


NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0 Technology
._DVC color controls
._DVC image sharpening controls

NVIDIA SLI Technology
._Patented hardware and software technology allows two GPUs to run in parallel to scale performance
._Scales performance on over 60 top PC games and applications


NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
._Dedicated on-chip video processor
._High-definition H.264, MPEG2 and WMV9 decode acceleration
._Advanced spatial-temporal de-interlacing
._Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
._High-quality video scaling
._Video color correction
._Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) supports multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window

Composited Desktop Hardware Engine
._Video post-processing
._Real-time desktop compositing
._Accelerated antialiased text rendering
._Pixel shader-driven special effects and animation

Advanced Display Functionality
._Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85Hz
._Dual-link DVI capability to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution digital flat panel displays up to 2560x1600
._Integrated HDTV encoder provides analog TV-output (Component/Composite/S-Video) up to 1080i resolution
._Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability

Advanced Engineering
._Designed for PCI Express x16
._Designed for high-speed GDDR3 memory

Operating Systems
._Windows XP/XP 64/ME/2000
._Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
._Linux
._Macintosh OS X


 


Let's stop here for a quick reminder of what GeForce 7 Series is and isn't.  In the table below we've included the default options for the 7900 GS and 7900 GT, and then the updated specs of all three of the cards in today's round-up:

 

First off, we'll make the point that the EN7950GT does not have a comparison column.  There is no difference in core or memory speeds between Asus' model and a stock card from any other manufacturer.  That being said, the amount of memory is double and the speeds are typically faster than 7900 GT cards.  The NX7900GT and EN7900GS TOP both come overclocked from the manufacturer, with both the core and memory speeds tweaked up a notch.  MSI's card is clocked 50MHz higher on the core and 40MHz on the memory, while Asus really pushes the envelope, going 140MHz over the default speed of the 7900 GS, with an additional 60MHz on the GDDR3 RAM.  These extra speeds will provide some brute force for the EN7900GS TOP, as the GS model enters the battle with a bit of a handicap, having 4 fewer pixel shaders and 1 less vertex shader than the 7900 GT and 7950 GT models. 

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