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NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS Preview - Page 1 of 4

INTRODUCTION

NVIDIA is announcing two new Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) based on the GeForce 7900 Series architecture today - the GeForce 7900 GS and GeForce 7950 GT. Graphics cards based on the GeForce 7900 GS will be available immediately at prices ranging from $199 to $249, while GeForce 7950 GT based graphics cards will be available on September 14 and range in price from $299 to $349.

The GeForce 7900 GS is a breakthrough of sorts as it becomes NVIDIA's first mid-range GPU to feature a 256-bit interface to graphics memory. Previous mid-range GPUs have relied on a 128-bit memory interface, which restricts performance in cases when a greater amount of memory bandwidth is needed. Examples of such cases include texture fetches, pixel reads and writes, and buffer transfers, which are prevalent when using antialiasing at high resolutions.

XFX GeForce 7900 GS
Click Image to Enlarge - 895x762

The GeForce 7950 GT on the other hand, will be replacing the GeForce 7900 GT. The GeForce 7950 GT is positioned in the lower high-end spectrum of GPUs and features a single-slot design and 512MB of graphics memory.

Both GPUs support dual-link DVI and HDTV-out, while HDCP support is standard on the GeForce 7950 GT and is an optional feature on the GeForce 7900 GS. The GeForce 7900 GS and GeForce 7950 GT are certainly reaping the benefits from economies of scale in the GeForce 7900 Series product line, which will eventually be succeeded by NVIDIA's next generation G80 GPU.

THE GOODS

XFX and EVGA provided review samples of their GeForce 7900 GS graphics cards in support of today's launch. XFX is offering two models - the PVT71PUDE3 at $219.99 with a $20 mail-in rebate and the PVT71PUDF3 at $199.99 with a $20 mail-in rebate.

XFX GeForce 7900 GS
Click Image to Enlarge - 550x703

EVGA's GeForce 7900 GS KO showed up unexpectedly and we certainly appreciate the review sample. A second GeForce 7900 GS should allow us to combine both graphics cards in forming a mixed-vendor SLI configuration, which was a success in our review of the GeForce 7900 GTX.

EVGA GeForce 7900 GS KO
Click Image to Enlarge - 774x594

ABOUT THIS PREVIEW

In most cases, six days, three of which fell on a holiday weekend, is an adequate amount of time to complete a respectable preview. Previews rarely turn out the way you expect them to and this one was no exception. There were a few bumps along the way, which included a power outage courtesy of Tropical Storm Ernesto, a 6-year old Linksys router that finally bit the dust, a new D-Link router that caused nvtcp.sys to generate a stop error or BSoD, a failed Enermax power supply, discrepancies in texture optimization settings between the new and classic ForceWare driver control panel and the unexpected GeForce 7900 GS from EVGA.

Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
Click Image to Enlarge - 833x720

But there was one accomplishment that made it all worthwhile as a new Intel Core 2 Duo system was inaugurated. The system has performed flawlessly, which is to be expected with a fresh install of the Windows XP operating system.

Next Page: XFX and EVGA Offerings

Last Updated on September 6, 2006


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