Introduction

Last week saw NVIDIA's introduction of the 7900 GS and the announcement of the 7950 GT. Availability of the 7900 GS has been good since launch, and quite a few manufacturers have released cards above stock clock speeds. We've been able to get ahold of a few of these cards, so we will be able to explore 7900 GS SLI performance. We will also be publishing a 7900 GS mini roundup up in the very near future. For now, here's a list of the cards we have and are currently testing, along with their core/memory clock speeds (though there are more out there).

Albatron GeForce 7900 GS 450/660
EVGA e-GeForce 7900 GS KO 500/690
Leadtek WinFast PX7900GS TDH Extreme 520/700
XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480/700
BFG GeForce 7900 GS OC 540/660

Today also marks the day that ATI slated for the availability of their X1300 XT, X1650 Pro, X1900 XT 256MB, and X1950 series. We currently see very limited availability of the X1950 XTX, X1900 XT 256MB and X1300 XT cards, but the X1950 CrossFire and X1650 Pro are still not to be found. This is certainly one of the major downsides of a paper launch: we don't know when we will see product available. Right now, the products ATI has announced appear very competitive. Their performance looks good, and the ATI stated MSRP is right on target. Unfortunately, both of these aspects could change between now and when we actually see high availability of product on the shelves. Currently, X1950 XTX cards are about $50-$100 higher than expected, as well as being mostly on back order. Some of the X1300 XT cards we've seen are hitting over $100: a price point not even the X1650 Pro is supposed to break. All of this will absolutely factor into our recommendations today.

Aside from all of this, our focus with this second and final part of our NVIDIA GPU refresh series is on the GeForce 7950 GT. We covered the specifications in our previous article, but for a quick and dirty recap, the 7950 GT is essentially an overclocked 7900 GT with 512MB of RAM as opposed to 256MB. The 7950 GT could also be viewed as an underclocked 7900 GTX. All of these cards have the same number of vertex, pixel, and raster pipes, and some 7900 GT cards can even overclock higher than stock 7950 GT speeds. At this level of performance, NVIDIA is targeting a $300 to $350 USD price range. This puts it in competition with the higher priced overclocked 7900 GT cards, as well as the X1900 XT from ATI. To bring it all home, here are our tables of GPU specifications and prices.

NVIDIA Graphics Card Specifications
Vert Pipes
Pixel Pipes
Raster Pipes
Core Clock
Mem Clock
Mem Size (MB)
Mem Bus (bits)
Price
GeForce 7950 GX2
8x2
24x2
16x2
500x2
600x2
512x2
256x2
$600
GeForce 7900 GTX
8
24
16
650
800
512
256
$450
GeForce 7950 GT
8
24
16
550
700
512
256
$300-$350
GeForce 7900 GT
8
24
16
450
660
256
256
$280
GeForce 7900 GS
7
20
16
450
660
256
256
$200-$250
GeForce 7600 GT
5
12
8
560
700
256
128
$160
GeForce 7600 GS
5
12
8
400
400
256
128
$120
GeForce 7300 GT
4
8
2
350
667
128
128
$100
GeForce 7300 GS
3
4
2
550
400
128
64
$65


ATI Graphics Card Specifications
Vert Pipes
Pixel Pipes
Raster Pipes
Core Clock
Mem Clock
Mem Size (MB)
Mem Bus (bits)
Price
Radeon X1950 XTX
8
48
16
650
1000
512
256
$450
Radeon X1900 XTX
8
48
16
650
775
512
256
$375
Radeon X1900 XT
8
48
16
625
725
256/512
256
$280/$350
Radeon X1900 GT
8
36
12
525
600
256
256
$230
Radeon X1650 Pro
5
12
4
600
700
256
128
$99
Radeon X1600 XT
5
12
4
590
690
256
128
$150
Radeon X1600 Pro
5
12
4
500
400
256
128
$100
Radeon X1300 XT
5
12
4
500
400
256
128
$89
Radeon X1300 Pro
2
4
4
450
250
256
128
$79


Before we take a look at performance numbers, we've got a couple retail versions of the 7950 GT in house already. Both EVGA and XFX have sent us cards, and we were quite happy to learn that the XFX card is passively cooled. Up first is a brief look at what we can expect to see from manufacturers on the 7950 GT front.

Retail 7950 GT Cards: EVGA and XFX
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  • Calin - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    Maybe they just ignore some visual artifacts if the playing experience is good. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    winners don't use drugs :-P

    also, I'm not trying to imply that we would like more fps for free -- just that (with oblivion) turning up the settings offers better playability (things don't pop out of no where right next to you) and a better visual experience than a higher framerate with less eye candy.

    plus, my wife hates jaggies. jaggies and bad anisotropic filtering. I've not seen her react to lag, as she doesn't usually play games where lag is a factor. but she definitely hates waiting for anything, so I'd guess she'd hate lag too.
    Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    Personally, I hope the Frag Dolls kick your butt for that remark. I'd pay money to see it. Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    PASSIVELY-COOLED top-tier GPU?! SWEET. Finally. :) Reply
  • goatfajitas - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    I would really like to see the 256mb version of 7950GT tested against the 512mb version (biostar makes both, but clocks are easy enough to adjust on any card) at various resolutions with and without 4xAA to see when/if the 512 megs helps speed things up. Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    7950GT availability is terrible.. its looks like a 7800GTX 512MB launch.. few card released on day and none to seen for weeks ?

    Surprising I see ATI not having a paper launch with the X1950XTX which is amazing if you see ATI track record with delays after delays

    At the moment i don't think its wise to buy them , as i hear G80 product start next month and early November launch.

    I also hear that R600 has run in some trouble and i don't think they will be out this year and will lag 3months behind G80 launch. I would say Mid Jan if they fix what ever problem the engineers are having at ATI.
    Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    a 256mb version should really be branded as an overclocked 7900 GT, but I won't argue that too much :-)

    we are planning on doing a roundup of 7950 Gt cards, and we will address this issue at that time.

    thanks,
    Derek Wilson
    Reply
  • goatfajitas - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    Thanks. I should have guessed something like that would be coming from AT. Reply
  • retrospooty - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    cool. thanks. Reply
  • R3MF - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    i wonder if its possible?

    that with a Core 2 Duo 6600 would be a hell of a SFF combination!
    Reply

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