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MSI NX7950GX2 Review - Page 1 of 5

INTRODUCTION

From product reviews to hands-on experience, NVIDIA's GeForce 7950 GX2 has been receiving high acclaim from the hardware community. With all of the favorable reports, I was left wondering how much better a GeForce 7950 GX2 could improve my gaming experience over my currently installed GeForce 7900 GT. As of today I no longer need to wonder as MSI has provided their NX7950GX2-T2D1GE for review.

This review will be slanted toward the gamer in revealing the performance capabilities of the NX7950GX2. Armed with a middle-of-the-road gaming system, I plan to provide you with relevant information and performance results from several gaming benchmarks and my impressions of actual gameplay.

MSI NX7950GX2-T2D1GE

My primary gaming system includes a factory overclocked GeForce 7900 GT. Performance and stability have been exceptional in the latest games and reviewing the NX7950GX2 should reveal if there are benefits from an upgrade. When I began working on this review, the price of the GeForce 7950 GX2 was almost twice as much as the GeForce 7900 GT, although more recently, prices are beginning to approach the $500 mark. Nevertheless, it will take a considerable amount of impressing for me to recommend an upgrade.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The NX7950GX2 is a single graphics card solution that features 48 pixel pipes, 16 vertex shaders, and memory bandwidth in excess of 76GB per second! Product packaging is first-rate as the graphics card and accessories are enclosed in a plastic blister pack. The accessories are neatly tucked away in a heavy-duty cardboard tray and the graphics card is surrounded by high-density foam. A shipping carton provides an extra layer of protection.

Packaging

The following accessories were included: (2) DVI to VGA adaptors, S-Video extension cable, 9-pin mini-DIN to Component/S-Video dongle, 6-pin PCI Express to 4-pin Molex power plug converter, Quick Installation Guide, Quick User's Guide, MSI Multimedia Driver & Utility CD, Peter Jackson's King Kong (full game), and MSI logo case sticker.

Accessories

The two G71 GPUs on the NX7950GX2 are essentially the same GPUs that are used on the GeForce 7900 GT and GeForce 7900 GTX, except for being lower clocked at 500MHz. In most cases, the GeForce 7900 GT overclocks beyond the 550MHz mark and the unit I have reaches 585MHz. The question is will the GPUs on the NX7950GX2 exceed the 550MHz clock as well?

GeForce 7950 GX2 GPU

How about the Samsung 1.4ns GDDR3 SDRAM, with a default clock speed of 600MHz? Will this memory, which has a history of clocking much higher, do so as well? Some questions to be answered a little later.

Samsung GDDR3 Memory

Another compelling feature is the ability to add a second GeForce 7950 GX2 to form an SLI configuration. Referred to as Quad NVIDIA SLI, you can really talk up the numbers, although you may argue about the way they are presented. Still, it's an impressive amount.

How about 8 banks of memory or 24 1.4ns GDDR3 memory chips totaling 2GB, 4 G71 GPUs providing a total of 96 pixel pipelines, 32 vertex shaders, and memory bandwidth in excess of 154GB/sec. Impressive? Yes, I think so. Needed? Well, everyone has an opinion, but I'll reserve mine for now, or at least until I can spend some quality time with a Quad SLI configuration.

Next Page: Layout and Features

Last Updated on August 31, 2006


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