Retail 7950 GT Cards: EVGA and XFX

In a testament to NVIDIA availability, we have retail products from two different vendors today. Aside from giving us the ability to test SLI with the 7950 GT, we can take a look at what we can expect to see from cards that are currently hitting the shelves. From EVGA, the e-GeForce 7950 GT KO offers overclocked core and memory with a fairly conventional HSF (which covers the RAM in addition to the GPU). XFX has made a very bold move with their 7950 GT and is offering two different silent models: the one we have features an overclock as well. Let's take a look at the EVGA card first.

This card doesn't look much different than we would expect an EVGA card to look. It's a very straightforward design with a copper HSF covering the RAM and GPU. The XFX design is a little more extreme as we can see here.

While we certainly expect overclocked products from EVGA as we have seen many in the past, XFX offering a passively cooled overclocked 7950 GT is quite a statement: the 7950 GT is a very efficient card. In spite of the fact that the X1950 has done a better job on power, heat and noise than the X1900, ATI just doesn't make a card at the $300 price point that could ever hope to be passively cooled. With the 7950 GT essentially being an underclocked 7900 GTX, we are quite impressed that this GPU doesn't need more powerful cooling.

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  • Genx87 - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    In this price category it is hard to justify Nvidia here. Nvidia's pressure from the top with the GX2 has pushed ATI's 2nd best card into this price range. The X1900XT is faster and better compared to this card IMO. It needs to be dropped to the 280-300 range and let it settle in around the 250 if it wants to compete with the X1900XT.

  • ieskorp - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    What is the added value of a review/test when you are comparing Nvidia SLI configurations with single ATI 19k cards????
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    We've looked at the CF performance in the recent past, and nothing has changed. You'll notice in the conclusion that we really don't recommend getting two new current gen GPUs regardless of manufacturer. If you look at the X1950 XTX article, you can see where CrossFire sits in the performance ladder. Basically, it's competitive with SLI, though most will agree the SLI bridge is far more elegant than the CF dongle. Basically, the graphs were already crowded, and adding more cards/configurations just gets really messy. We included SLI numbers for the new cards mostly to show where they fall, i.e. 7900 GS SLI about equals 7900 GTX, while 7950 GT SLI is slightly faster than 7950 GX2.

    Quick summary of CF vs. SLI:
    ATI "owns" Quake 4 now, along with Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. NVIDIA still clearly leads in Black and White 2. Performance in most of our other tested titles is very close. Price performance is more difficult to call, as X1950 are in very limited availability with no CF cards currently showing up, and prices are thus quite inflated. You can get Quad SLI for the cost of X1950 CrossFire... and neither one support the DirectX 10 feature set.
  • yacoub - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    Would really appreciate temperature testing of the XFX card idel and under full 3D load. Passively-cooled cards notoriously run hot so it would be nice to know ahead of time just how well it's cooled. Additional overclocking potential would also be nice to know.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    we are working on a 7950 gt roundup that will address this and other issues
  • yacoub - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    Great thanks.

    Looks like the traditional 10-15 degrees Celcius for passive cooling holds true by Guru3D's review:

    Card Temperature in idle (Celsius) Temperature at 100% load in (Celsius)
    GeForce 7950 GT 45 64
    XFX 7950 GT Extreme 64 81

    I can't fathom allowing a GPU to run at over 60-65C. That's REALLY hot. 81C is downright dangerous and life-sapping for sure.
  • SniperWulf - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    It's pretty gratifying to see that the card I bought at the beginning of the year is still holding its own pretty good (X1900XT)
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    X1900 XT has been a good performer. It's also be a much better value than the X1900 XTX for its entire lifetime. Definitely a good purchasing decision.
  • Tilmitt - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    You'd have to be stoned off your head to find 20FPS "a good experience" in any game. Unless you're a girl...they can't see lag or jaggies.
  • VooDooAddict - Thursday, September 14, 2006 - link

    I greatly disagree. Most casual girl gamers that I've had sit down and play a PC game are MORE distracted by and less tolerable of lag and low framerates then guys who game frequently. Those of us who play often know it's a fact of life and can tolerate it. New PC gamers (male and female) who may be more used to console systems are frustrated easily by the little things we putup with in the PC gaming world.

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