XFX GeForce 7900 GT 550M Xtreme VIVO
Closer Look at the Card
XFX probably offers the widest variety of 7900 GTs on the market. The company's web site lists nine different 7900 GT models. As you probably already know, XFX likes to overclock its cards. Instead of offering just one set of clock speeds, though, XFX offers several. This is just one way that it differentiates between its 7900 GT models. The other way is the presence or absence of VIVO capability. Our test cards happen to be model PV-T71G-UCP7, which is a VIVO card overclocked to 550MHz for the core (450MHz is the NVIDIA reference speed) and 1.63GHz for the memory (1.32GHz is the reference). These Xtreme Edition clock speeds are not far behind XFX's top-of-the-line 7900 GT XXX Edition model.
When XFX first released its 7900 GTs, the company didn't make any significant changes to the cards other than clock speed bumps. The initial goal was to just get cards on the shelves as quickly as possible on launch day. A little while later, XFX finally released a newer spiced up design that features an all-black styling with neon yellow/green highlights as you can see in the two pictures above. We are quite fond of the cosmetic changes. The cards look much cooler and meaner than their green-PCB counterparts.
Even the PCI slot bracket is black, and so is the metal brace that sits on top of the card. For cooling, XFX stuck with the stock NVIDIA heatsink, which is unfortunate because it is rather loud. The noise these cards produce is easily their biggest downside. We were surprised by how much we could hear them over the rest of our system, which is probably average in terms of noise level.
As with all current cards at this performance level, the XFX 7900 GT Xtreme features dual DVI outputs. Additionally, the model we received supports VIVO functionality, which not only allows you to output the signal to a TV but also to input and capture an external source, like a VCR or video camera for example. We like that XFX continued the cool color scheme even for the DVI connections. On the flip side, you can find the typical 6-pin PCI Express power connector.