NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS (NV/XFX/Sparkle) -
GeForce 7900 GS Micro architecture
Gosh that topic sounds so sexy ..
Now I already made a small parallel towards the GeForce 7800 GT, don't think that NVIDIA is re-using that chip though. The GeForce 7800 GT graphics core was manufacturered at 0.11 micron and it's core clock was 400MHz with a memory clock of 500MHz (x2).
What's different about the GeForce 7900 GS then ? Well, this graphics core is based on the 90nm fabrication process, runs with a core frequency of 450 MHz (50 MHz faster) and has a default memory frequency of 660 (1320) MHz which is 320MHz faster. Now here's a clue .. these are the same clocks as the GeForce 7900 GT has. So this is a GeForce 7900 GT with 4 less pixel processors and one vertex processors disabled, and yes .. the silicon codename is G71.
Can you imagine that this little creature will punk out the GeForce 6800 Ultra which was the most extreme high-end card a year and a half ago ?
Okay, some other specifications.
- 7 Vertex Shading Units
- 20 Pixel pipelines
- 256MB 256-bit 2ns (8x32) GDDR3 Memory
- PCI Express x16 Compatibility (PCI Express Compliant)
- Integrated NVIDIA TV Encoder (HDTV, S-Video, Composite,)
- Integrated NVIDIA VIVO (S-Video, Composite,)
- Dual DVI-I Connectors
- NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
- DVD + HDTV Decode assist up to 1920x1080p resolution
- Integrated Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
- Two Dual Link TMDS DVI Connector
- NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
- Support for Microsoft Video Mixer Renderer (VMR)
- Advanced adaptive de-interlacing
And for the freaks .. 278 Million transistors, 7 Vertex Shader processors, 20 Pixel Shader processors which all bind at 16 ROPs. So that's a lot of punch for roughly 200-219 USD folks.
The cards as tested today.
Dude .. what's the card ?
So as explained we'll be reviewing a couple of 7900 GS cards today. The reference card we'll show in the photo shoot and obviously the benchmarks, but first let's have a look at the two retail products we'll test today.
XFX GeForce 7900 GS 256MB Extreme
XFX send out the Extreme version of the 7900 GS which I have to admit is pretty darn impressive to look at, and I do mean that physically. This is probably one of the coolest looking graphics cards I have seen in a while. UV reactive DVI connectors (which I don't get if you connect a cable to it), completely stealthy black PCB design (reference based), interesting cooler shim. It simply is one dangerously cool dude to look at.
Since this is an extreme edition obviously you'll receive higher clocks straight out of the box. Where NVIDIA's reference model is clocked at 450 on the core and 1320 on the memory XFX will deliver this card to you at 480 MHz on the core and a feasible 1400 MHz on the memory.
So on default you'll get a little more performance straight out of the box. The price tag will be slightly higher though, yet not much as XFX did save money on the software bundle ... basically you'll receive drivers and basic necessities. And you know what, there's nothing wrong with that.
- Driver CD with a set of tools
- S-Video Cable
- DVI to VGA Adaptor
- 6-pin PSU power connector
There's nothing much to be said here other then you'll receive the basics to get started. Okay .. I really do find that videocard design sexy ... in a couple of pages the in-depth photoshoot will follow. But look at that.
Sparkle GeForce 7900 GS 256MB (SPPX79SDH256)
At Sparkle's side we tested two GeForce 7900 GS cards which both do not seem to follow the reference design from NVIDIA. Sparkle has a more conservative approach yet it remains an impressive package. This GeForce 7900 GS has a nice blue PCB, standard clocks and the standard reference cooler yet with a Sparkle shim on it. The big difference with the XFX package is that you'll receive more in this bundle. Included for example is a three-way RCA component output cable for HDTV and actually a full game, Painkiller, which is a pretty nice title.
- Quick install guide
- DVI-I to VGA dongle
- HDTV cable
- 6-pin power cable
- Driver CD, which includes NVIDIA® ForceWare unified graphics drivers, Full installation manual .pdf
- Painkiller: Full version
So since they are following reference design, the 3D clock speeds are 450 MHz on the core and 1320 MHz for it's 256-bit memory. So this is quite a nice package at roughly 199 USD/EUR.
The Sparkle GeForce 7900 GS - two of them as we'll test them in SLI mode.
When we look at both retail cards more closely then we can see that XFX is following NVIDIA reference design, and Sparkle is clearly using another PCB design.
The black card the XFX, the blue the Sparkle 7900 GS. Again look closely at the component layout. Our overclocking results will show that the XFX card can go way higher in it's clocks.
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