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XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme And 7950 GT
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Date: Sep 06, 2006
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Sean Pelletier
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Introduction, Specifications and Bundle

Over the course of the last few months, the vast majority of news coming through the doors of NVIDIA has been in regards to enthusiast-class products such as the GeForce 7950 GX2 GPU and nForce 570 chipset. However, today the company is launching two new GPUs aimed squarely at the more mainstream price segments of the gaming community. Here, we find the GeForce 7900 GS coming to market with an MSRP of $199 and the GeForce 7950 GT which carries an MSRP of $299. With these two GPUs, NVIDIA is providing the market with a direct response to ATI's recently announced and yet currently unavailable Radeon X1900 XT 256MB as well as the currently available Radeon X1800 GTO. In order to see which vendor's solution is preferable at the lower price point, we'll examine the features of the new GeForce 7900 GS in detail and we'll follow up with more information on the GeForce 7950 GT next week.

Based around a surprisingly small 196mm2 core manufactured on a 90u process, the GeForce 7900 GS operates with reference clock speeds of 450MHz/1.32GHz and is armed with an impressive list of features. The 7900 GS has 7 Vertex Shaders, 20 Pixel Pipelines, and 16 ROPs. Rounding out the specifications we also have a 256MB frame buffer that utilizes a 256-bit memory interface, full DX9 support including Shader Model 3.0, as well as NVIDIA's own PureVideo technology allowing for hardware-based video decode acceleration. Perhaps most importantly however, is the fact that the GeForce 7900 GS will be available today in volume at most major online and brick and mortar retailers. To that end, we will be examining a retail-ready XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme (PVT71PUDE3) which comes out of the box overclocked to a healthy 480MHz/1.4GHz.

XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme
Features and Specifications
GPU Clock: 480MHz
Memory Clock: 1.4GHz (effective)
Memory: 256 MB GDDR3


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

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


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


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


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


XFX Unique Features
._Double Lifetime Warranty

Software/Game Bundle
._Driver CD

Accessories Bundle
._User Manual
._1 x S-video cable
._1 x DVI-to-VGA adapter
._PCI Express power cable

 

 




   

The XFX GeForce 7900 GS comes packaged in a vibrant retail box which has the card clearly exposed on the back panel. Here, we can clearly see that XFX has chosen to retain the reference heatsink assembly though there is still enough "eye candy" thanks to the card's colored PCB and custom graphic on the heatsink assembly.

   

The bundle for the XFX GeForce 7900 GS is rather minimalist, though this is hardly surprising considering the $199-$219 price point the GeForce 7900 GS is directed at. Regardless, we still find the bare essentials including a DVI to VGA adaptor, an S-Video cable, a PCI-Express power adaptor, as well as a driver CD and User's Manual.

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The XFX GeForce 7900 GS

     

Upon initial inspection of the XFX GeForce 7900 GS, the first thing one notices is the presence of a single-slot heatsink assembly. SFF users and HTPC builders can rejoice as they have an exceptional option for a cool-running GPU which can offer excellent gaming performance while still being able to fit into a tight application. The card itself is surprisingly short and compact and features a black PCB to compliment the black heatsink assembly. As we can see in the subsequent image, a neon green theme accompanies the black coloring throughout the card and is found on the DVI connectors as well as through accents on the heatsink assembly. The back of the card is doesn't reveal anything out of the ordinary, though we can see there are provisions for mounting a more robust heatsink assembly which would cover the otherwise exposed memory modules. 

      

As previously noted, a key feature of the XFX GeForce 7900 GS is the presence of a single-slot heatsink assembly. It should be noted here that NVIDIA and XFX have made great efforts to utilize a heatsink assembly which would not only meet size and thermal requirements, but would also meet certain acoustic criteria as well. Here, the active copper heatsink assembly is accompanied by a variable fan control which will limit the audible noise from the card while maintaining necessary temperatures.

      

The XFX GeForce 7900 GS is equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 memory. The specific modules used on this model are Hynix HY5RS573225A modules and do not feature any active or passive cooling. Moving our attention to the far end of the board we find the card uses the standard PCI-Express power connector. At the opposite end, we find the backplate is populated with two Dual-Link DVI ports as well as an S-Video/HD Video out port. Directing our eyes to the top end of the card, we find a black aluminum cover shielding the standard SLI connector which will allow users to run two cards for higher overall performance.

After removing the heatsink assembly, we confirm that the GeForce 7900 GS is using the same 90u G71 die found on NVIDIA's higher end GeForce 7 GPU's. With the new GeForce 7900 GS essentially being identical to the GeForce 7900 GT minus 4 pixel shaders and 1 vertex shader, it seems logical to assume that NVIDIA's new budget weapon is an efficient use of GPU's which did not yield as well at the fab to be classified as a flagship GPU. Further details of this core as well as NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 7950 GT GPU are illustrated below.

  GeForce 7900 GTX GeForce 7950 GT GeForce 7900 GT GeForce 7900 GS
Core Frequency 650MHz 550MHz 450MHz 450MHz
Memory Frequency 800MHz 700MHz 660MHz 660MHz
Vertex Shaders 8 8 8 7
Pixel Shaders 24 24 24 20
Pixel Fill Rate 10.4 Billions/s 8.8 Billions/s 7.2 Billions/s 7.2 Billions/s
Texture Fill Rate 15.6 Billions/s 13.2 Billions/s 10.8 Billions/s 9 Billions/s
MSRP ~$449 ~$299-$349 ~$299 ~$199

Unfortunately, we are bound by an NDA from sharing any benchmark results for NVIDIA's new GeForce 7950 GT at this time. However, what we can tell you is that the card will be a single-slot solution which will feature a 512MB frame buffer and retail from anywhere between $299 and $349. Taking a look at the specifications above, this card will surely offer some impressive performance. Rest assured, we will have the complete performance breakdown of this card for you as soon as we are permitted.

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Our Test System and 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested the NVIDIA based cards used in this article on an Asus A8N32-SLI nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard. The ATI powered cards, however, were tested on an A8R32-MVP motherboard based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. Both systems used the same AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 dual-core processor and 2GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and loaded their "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the latest chipset drivers available, installed all of the other drivers necessary for the rest of our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, the hard drive was defragmented, and a 1024MB permanent page file was created on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of the benchmarking software, and ran the tests.

The HotHardware Test Systems
AMD Athlon 64 FX Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -





Video Cards -






Memory -


Audio -

Hard Driv
e -

 

Hardware Used:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-60 (2.6GHzx2)

Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

Asus A8R32-MVP
ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200

XFX GeForce 7900 GS
GeForce 7900 GS

GeForce 7900 GT
GeForce 7600 GT
Radeon X1900 XT 256MB
Radeon X1800 GTO

2048MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
CAS 2

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

74GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-




Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.86
DirectX 9.0c (August Redist.)

NVIDIA Forceware v91.45

ATI Catalyst v6.8


Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
FarCry v1.33*
F.E.A.R. v1.07
Half Life 2: Episode 1*
Prey*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)
Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/

3DMark06
Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

Looking at the results for the GeForce 7900 GS cards, it is hard to not be impressed. Here, we have a $199 card giving the pricier GeForce 7900 GT a serious run for its money. In fact, the factory overclocked XFX GeForce 7900 GS is within a meager 52 points of its costlier brethren despite being much more affordable. ATI's Radeon X1800 GTO is certainly starting to show its age as it is clearly outpaced by NVIDIA's new budget weapon. However, the company's new Radeon X1900 XT (256MB) is showing performance which one would expect from a card that will cost upwards of $75 more.

As was the case in the standard 3DMark06 benchmark run, we find the new GeForce 7900 GS offering exceptional performance in the SM 2.0 test. Here, we have an identical situation as before with the one exception being a much smaller performance differential between the higher-end NVIDIA GPU's and ATI's new Radeon X1900 XT(256MB).

Focusing specifically upon the Shader Model 3.0 test we see that the GeForce 7900 GS cards provide nearly identical performance as witnessed with the Shader Model 2.0 test. Again, the cards come dangerously close to the pricier GeForce 7900 GT, though they are expectedly outpaced by the Radeon X1900 XT (256MB). Once more, the Radeon X1800 GTO is outperformed in the benchmarks with the GeForce 7600 GT even managing to put up better scores here.

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Half Life 2: Episode 1

Performance Comparisons with Half-Life 2: Episode 1
Details: http://www.half-life2.com/

Half Life 2: Episode 1
Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  So, when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion in mid-2003, gamers the world over sat in eager anticipation. Unfortunately, thanks to a compromised internal network, the theft of a portion of the game's source code, and a tumultuous relationship with the game's distributor, Vivendi Universal, we all had to wait quite a while to get our hands on HL2.  Armed with the latest episodic update to HL2, Episode 1, we benchmarked the game with a long, custom-recorded timedemo that takes us through both outdoor and indoor environments. These tests were run at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently, and with color correction and HDR rendering enabled in the game engine as well.

 

When running Episode 1 at 1280x1024 with 4x AA and 16x AF enabled, we find the new GeForce 7900 GS to be a surprisingly competent performer. It is somewhat shocking to see that a $199 card can churn out average framerates above 60FPS despite running with this level of eye candy enabled. The new NVIDIA GPU's closest competitor in terms of price is the Radeon X1800 GTO, though it would be hard to tell given the performance delta between the two. Here, the XFX card enjoys a healthy 18FPS advantage over the ATI card. Keeping the same high quality image settings and raising the resolution to 1600x1200, we begin to see the $199 cards struggle somewhat. However, it should be noted that the GeForce 7900 GS cards are still managing average framerates above 40fps and provide fluid gameplay despite the relatively high settings.

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FarCry v1.33

Performance Comparisons with FarCry v1.33
Details: http://www.farcry.ubi.com/

FarCry
If you've been on top of the gaming scene for some time, you probably know that FarCry was one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC in the last few years.  Courtesy of its proprietary engine, dubbed "CryEngine" by its developers, FarCry's game-play is enhanced by Polybump mapping, advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, dynamic lighting, motion-captured animation, and surround sound. Before titles such as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 hit the scene, FarCry gave us a taste of what was to come in next-generation 3D gaming on the PC. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry using a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint. The tests were run at various resolutions with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.

 

Although we have witnessed this scenario a handful of times already, it is still good to see the $199 XFX GeForce 7900 GS providing average framerates which are within 2FPS of the pricier GeForce 7900 GT. Note, this performance is not when running at some low resolution with no eye candy enabled. Rather, this is running the title at 1280x1024 with 4x AA and 16x AF. Even once we raise the resolution to 1600x1200 with the same settings, the XFX GeForce 7900 GS is able to muster nearly 60FPS which results in perfectly smooth gameplay. Looking at the performance results above, we find that the XFX GeForce 7900 GS scores nearly the same average framerate running at 1600x1200 as the Radeon X1800 GTO scores running at 1280x1024.

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F.E.A.R. v1.07

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R
More Info: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/

F.E.A.R
One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. Taking a look at the game's minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card in the Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-classes or better, to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.07, we put the graphics cards in this article through their paces to see how they fared with a popular title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to their maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (Soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were then completed at resolutions of 1,280x960 and 1,600x1,200, with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.

 

Easily one of the most taxing titles on the market today, it was somewhat suspenseful waiting to see how NVIDIA's new $199 GPU would fare against F.E.A.R. Here, we were impressed to find the XFX GeForce 7900 GS churning out an impressive 49FPSs when running at 1280x960 with 4x AA and 16 AF. As many of you know, this resolution was used as the game does not natively support the more common 1280x1024 we typically test with. Again, we see overall performance falling within 2FPS of the costlier GeForce 7900 GT. Raising the resolution to a more taxing 1600x1200, the XFX GeForce 7900 GS still manages to average 35FPS. Once more, the Radeon X1800 GTO finds itself the low man on the totem pole and can only muster 23FPS at the same settings.

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Prey Performance

Performance Comparisons with Prey
Details: http://www.prey.com/

Prey
After many years of development, Take-Two Interactive recently released the highly anticipated game Prey. Prey is based upon an updated and modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Prey is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a plethora of dynamic lighting and shadows.  But unlike Doom3, Prey features a fare share of outdoor environments as well.  We ran these Prey benchmarks using a custom recorded timedemo with the game set to its "High-Quality" graphics mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled simultaneously.

 

With Prey being such a recently released title, it would be fairly easy to cut any budget performance GPU some slack and back off on either resolution or settings. Fortunately for wallets everywhere, such is not the case with the latest GPU from Santa Clara. Here, the XFX GeForce 7900 GS is able to average upwards of 55FPS when running at 1280x1024 with 4x AA and 16x AF. Even raising resolution up to 1600x1200 fails to bring the card to its knees as the GPU still manages over 40FPS with the same settings.

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Overclocking the 7900 GS

For our next set of performance metrics, we spent a little time overclocking the XFX GeForce 7900 GS using the clock frequency slider available within NVIDIA's Forceware Rel. 90 drivers, after enabling the "Coolbits" registry tweak.

Overclocking the XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme
(Fast 3D Video Card) + Overclocking = Even Faster Card

To find the card's peak core and memory frequencies, we slowly raised their respective sliders until we begun to see visual artifacts on-screen while running a game or benchmark, or until our test system was no longer stable.


XFX GeForce 7900 GS  Overclocked Speeds: 528MHz Core / 795MHz (1.59GHz DDR) Memory
XFX GeForce 7900 GS  Stock Speeds: 480MHz Core / 700MHz (1.4GHz DDR) Memory

GeForce 7900 GS Stock Speeds: 450MHz Core / 660MHz (1.32GHz DDR) Memory

As is the case with any piece of hardware, results from overclocking will vary greatly from one person to another. With the industry trend moving towards factory overclocked parts, it is always interesting to see how much additional headroom is left in a product as vendors are all striving to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it. With the XFX GeForce 7900 GS GPU already running a healthy 30MHz over the stock reference speed of 450MHz, we were surprised to see the card able to hit a stable 528MHz. The memory was no slouch in terms of overclocking either as the 40MHz advantage the XFX card's memory has over reference speeds was increased to an impressive 135MHz. In terms of actual performance benefits, these increases netted an additional 3FPS when running at the most taxing settings in F.E.A.R. This might not seem like much, though we must remember the cost for this performance increase was non-existent so it is hard to complain. 


XFX GeForce 7900 GS  Overclocked Speeds: 528MHz Core / 795MHz (1.59GHz DDR) Memory
XFX GeForce 7900 GS  Stock Speeds: 480MHz Core / 700MHz (1.4GHz DDR) Memory

GeForce 7900 GS Stock Speeds: 450MHz Core / 660MHz (1.32GHz DDR) Memory

With somewhat negligible performance gains from overclocking in F.E.A.R, we were pleasantly surprised to see a more appreciable 5FPS gain in average framerate when playing Prey. In addition to providing smoother gameplay, the $199 XFX GeForce 7900 GS is now offering faster performance than a GeForce 7900 GT. The card has even come within 5.6FPS of ATI's brand new Radeon X1900 XT (256MB) which is a $280 card which cannot even be purchased yet. The Radeon X1800 GTO isn't even competitive here, as the overclocked XFX card is now providing double the performance of ATI's comparable $199 GPU.

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Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: After exhaustively testing NVIDIA's latest budget GPU, we can safely say that we are thoroughly impressed with the performance of the new GeForce 7900 GS. Furthermore, we are equally as impressed with XFX's take on this GPU. Out of the box, the factory overclocked XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme is able to offer an appreciable performance advantage over the reference design at stock frequencies. Add to that an exceptional warranty and you have a top-end graphics card for an affordable price.

Less than a year ago, no one ever expected a $199 graphics card to offer playable framerates at high resolutions with high-levels of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled. The trend as of late is to benchmark the latest flagship GPU's at obscene resolutions that require users to have $2,000 30" LCD's to fully realize the benefits. The reality here is that the vast majority of gamers are using significantly smaller monitors running at much lower resolutions. Here, the more realistic goal is a 20" LCD which can operate as high as 1600x1200. For this mainstream crowd, the GeForce 7900 is an excellent bargain and fills in at just the right price point. Here, gamers can have fluid gameplay at either 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 in nearly any title, while also running with 4xAA and 16xAF. So long as you have a quality system, the GeForce 7900 GS will provide excellent performance in most every gaming situation. Thanks to the complete support for SLI, gamers can also opt to purchase two GeForce 7900 GS cards and still end up well below the price of a single flagship GPU while enjoying impressive framerates with plenty of eye candy.

Throughout testing, we were pleased with the card's relatively low noise levels. NVIDIA claims the card consumes a maximum of only 82W of power and judging from the lack of that all too familiar turbine whirring sound from its heatsink assembly, we believe them. As a result, we think the single-slot GeForce 7900 GS would be an excellent economical choice for a SFF PC or HTPC in the living room. Beyond the relatively strong gaming horsepower we've witnessed in the previous results and native HDTV-out support, the GeForce 7900 GS also has complete support for NVIDIA's PureVideo technology including hardware acceleration for decoding H.264, VC-1, WMV, and MPEG-2 movies. Furthermore, full support for NVIDIA's advanced PureVideo HD technology will be enabled with an updated ForceWare driver which is due this month. For those looking down the road and wondering about HDCP, the GeForce 7900 GS also supports full HDCP functionality so long as the graphics card vendor equips their product with an appropriate crypto-key for decoding. In terms of feature-set, it is hard to find fault with NVIDIA's latest $199 card.

Looking at the competition for the GeForce 7900 GS, the only immediate answer comes in the form of ATI's Radeon X1800 GTO. As we witnessed throughout each and every benchmark, the GeForce 7900 GS is currently in a class of its own. This is not to say that ATI will not have a more competitive solution to battle NVIDIA's latest GPU. However, we are still waiting for ATI's last crop of new GPU's to show up in retail so NVIDIA will surely have a fair amount of time on their hands to seed the market unchallenged. With GeForce 7900 GS cards available immediately from major retailers at the time this article is posted, the burden is certainly on ATI to provide an answer, whether it be a new product or lower prices on existing product.

NVIDIA has found a way to utilize the lower speed bin yields from their potent G71 enthusiast GPU and have passed the benefits along to the consumer. As we have seen throughout testing, those GPU's which do not qualify to be a flagship $500 GPU can still provide exceptional performance. Given the GeForce 7900 GS's $199 target MSRP and the performance we've seen, we cannot help but be excited gamers on a budget. Gone are the days of running games at 800x600 or 1024x768 with limited eye candy. For less than $200 you can be gaming at 1280x1024 or beyond with appreciable Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering levels. In addition, XFX has taken an already stellar product and enriched it thanks to a healthy factory overclock and an excellent warranty. You can purchase the XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme today for about $219.99 with a $20 Mail-In Rebate ($199.99 total) or opt for the standard XFX GeForce 7900 GS for $199.99 with a $20 Mail-In Rebate ($179.99 total). Based on the robust feature set, phenomenal performance, low price, immediate availability and solid warranty, we are awarding the XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme a 9.5 on the Hot Hardware Heat Meter and giving it an Editor's Choice award.

   

  • Great Performance for a $199 GPU
  • SLI and PureVideo HD Support
  • Single-Slot Heatsink
  • Quiet Operation
  • HDTV-Out and Two Dual-Link DVI Outputs
  • Available today!
  • Solid overclocking headroom
  • Eliminates any excuse for not having a great gaming rig

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