XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M Extreme And 7950 GT

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

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*

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

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

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