XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme And 7950 GT

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
._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.

Tags:  GeForce, XFX, Xtreme, extreme, force, fx, GT, XT, 7950, S 4, eme, and

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