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MSI NX7950GX2 Review - Page 2 of 5

LAYOUT AND FEATURES

Looking closer at the NX7950GX2 we see that it consists of two connected circuit boards. One, which is generally referred to as the top-half, contains two DVI ports and a 6-pin power connector. The bottom-half incorporates the golden fingers that connect to a motherboards' x16 PCI Express slot. The unit itself takes up two case slots just like other high-performance graphics cards from NVIDIA and ATI.

Synchronous communication is provided by a modified SLI bridge that connects the two halves together. Its functionality is similar to the bridge that connects two graphics cards together in forming an SLI configuration. The exception being that only one 6-pin power connection is needed from a 12V supply line to power the device.

MSI NX7950GX2 (Top)

The GPUs run hotter than other high-end GPUs from NVIDIA due to the cards being sandwiched together. Both circuit boards have a heatsink/fan combination that blows hot air from the rear of the case. But even with two fans, I was pleased to discover that the noise level would not be an issue.

NVIDIA continues to work with manufacturers to ensure the GeForce 7950 GX2 works in as many PCI Express based motherboards as possible. The GPUs are connected to the x16 PCI Express slot via a switch chip that, in turn, uses 8x PCI Express lanes. Note that the switch chip is 100% compatible with the PCI Express specification and does not require a motherboard with an NVIDIA SLI chipset. For this review, I used MSI's K8N Diamond Plus motherboard with the updated v1.2 system BIOS.

MSI NX7950GX2 (Bottom)

The NX7950GX2 features two integrated dual-Link DVI ports that support Extreme High Definition (XHD) digital displays at a whopping resolution of 2560x1600. High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is supported and when combined with NVIDIA's PureVideo HD technology, HD-DVD and Blu-ray content can be played back at resolutions up to 1080p with low power consumption and CPU utilization.

Dual-Link DVI Ports with HDCP

Should you be interested in driving a couple of monitors in multi-display mode, everything will works fine and dandy. However, only one of the GPUs will be providing output to the two displays just like any other graphics card with dual-display capability. But in order to use both GPUs, a switch to multi-GPU mode is necessary and one of the displays will go blank. No way around it that I can find - that's just the way it is for now with SLI.

Multi-Display or Multi-GPU Modes

Next Page: Test System, Overclocking, and 3DMark05

Last Updated on August 31, 2006


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