NVIDIA's GeForce 7 Update: Introducing the 7900 GTX, 7900 GT & 7600 GT

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Test Systems & 7600 GT w/ 3DMark06

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: We tested our NVIDIA cards on an Asus A8N32-SLI nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard. However, the ATI cards were tested on an A8R32-MVP motherboard based on the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset. Both systems used the same AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM, though. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drive was 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 necessary drivers 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 768MB 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-55 (2.6GHz)

Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

Asus A8R32-MVP
ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200

GeForce 7900 GTX (x2)

GeForce 7900 GT (x2)
GeForce 7600 GT (x2)
512MB GeForce 7800 GTX (x2)
256MB GeForce 7800 GTX (x2)
GeForce 7800 GT
Radeon X1900 XTX (x2)
Radeon X1600 Pro (x2)
Radeon X1600 XT


1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
CAS 2

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-




Synthetic (DX) -
Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -

DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.85
DirectX 9.0c (March Redist)

NVIDIA Forceware v84.17

ATI Catalyst v6.2


Benchmarks Used:
3DMark06 v1.0.2
Shadermark v2.1 (b130a)
X3 Reunion
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
FarCry v1.33*
F.E.A.R.
Half Life 2*
Quake 4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

GeForce 7600 GT 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.

We broke up the testing in this article into two sections. On the next few pages we'll report on the performance of the new GeForce 7600 GT as it compares to a couple of other cards in roughly the same price range. Later on, we'll focus on the performance of the new GeForce 7900s relative to competing cards from ATI and the GeForce 7800 series. We apologize for not having Radeon X1600 XT CrossFire scores here, but we were unable to secure a second card in time for this article.

As you can see, whether running in a single-card or SLI configuration, the GeForce 7600 GT significantly outpaced either of the X1600s we tested. 7600 GT SLI versus X1600 Pro CrossFire yielded an almost 2000 point advantage for NVIDIA, and in the single card tests the GeForce 7600 GT finished with scores approximately 700 to 1200 points higher than the X1600s.


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