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    Albatron GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB Review
    By Vince Freeman :  December 8, 2006

    Introduction

    The video card market is a very competitive one, especially at the high-end, where a combination of new hotrod arrivals and top-end existing cards make for a very crowded environment. The meeting of the NVIDIA GeForce 7 and 8 Series, and how these relate to the ATI Radeon X1950/X1900 lines makes for a very difficult buying decision for high-end gaming systems, and there is almost too much choice. One of the options is the venerable GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB, and while NVIDIA has brought the GeForce 7950 GT 512MB in below, and introduced the GeForce 8800 cards above, it remains a very powerful gaming card.

    The GeForce 7900 GTX

    The GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB card features the same 90nm G71 GPU architecture that is also found on the GeForce 7900 GT and 7950 GT cards. This GPU includes a full complement of 24 pixel pipes, 24 texture units, 24 pixel shaders, and 8 vertex pipelines. Where these three cards differ is in terms of clock speed, with the GeForce 7900 GTX being the highest clocked at 650 MHz core and 1.6 GHz memory speeds by default. The GeForce 7950 GT is clocked at 550 MHz core and 1.4 GHz memory, while the GeForce 7900 GT is set a bit lower at 450 MHz core and 1.32 GHz memory. The GeForce 7900 GTX also supports features such as CineFX 4.0, Intellisample 4.0, UltraShadow II, NVIDIA SLI, and PureVideo.

    These high clock speeds of the GeForce 7900 GTX translate into some equally high-end fillrate and memory bandwidth specifications. The card sports fill rates of 15.6 GTexel/s and 15.6 GPixels/s, and a memory bandwidth of 51.2 GB/s. These specifications compare to the GeForce 7950 GT (13.2 GPixels/s and 44.8 GB/s of memory bandwidth) and the GeForce 7900 GT (10.8 GPixels/s and 42.2 GB/s of memory bandwidth) cards. The 512MB of GDDR3 memory utilizes the same 256-bit memory interface and architecture, and offers excellent bandwidth and performance

    The Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 Card

    The design of the Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 card is similar to a reference GeForce 7900 GTX, with the basic card format and heatsink-fan architecture remaining consistent. The heatsink-fan is a full-size design, and significantly larger than those found on GeForce 7900 and 7950 GT cards. This also means the card takes up two slots on conventional motherboards, although the larger fan and heatsink translate into a lower-noise card than we were expecting. The Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 is also about a half-inch longer than a standard GeForce 7900 GT or 7950 GT card.

    The card's physical design is standard, and other than the Albatron-branded heatsink-fan, you can definitely tell you're holding a GeForce 7900 GTX. The backplate of the Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 includes dual dual-link DVI ports, an S-Video-out port, and offers resolutions up to 2560x1600, but there are no video-in options. Like any other GeForce 7 Series card, the Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 requires external power, and features a standard 6-pin PCI Express connector on its outside edge. There are no surprises on the clock speed front, and Albatron has set their card at the default 650 MHz core and 1.6 GHz memory speeds.

    To give a better idea of the architecture of the various mainstream and high-end cards we see competing directly against the Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512, here is a small chart outlining the key architectural features of each GPU:

    Graphics Processor Pixel Pipes Pixel Shaders Texture Units Vertex Pipes ROPs
    Radeon X1600 XT 4 12 4 5 4
    GeForce 7600 GT 12 12 12 5 8
    Radeon X1800 XL 16 16 16 8 16
    Radeon X1900 GT 12 36 12 8 12
    Radeon X1950 Pro 12 36 12 8 12
    Radeon X1900 XT/XTX 16 48 16 8 16
    GeForce 7950 GT 24 24 24 8 16
    Radeon X1950 XT/XTX 16 48 16 8 16
    GeForce 7900 GT/GTX 24 24 24 8 16

    Keep in mind that as many graphics designs have taken a modular view of the architecture, so the entire picture of the GPU needs to be taken into consideration. No more is performance relegated to the number of pixel pipelines or texel processing, but pixel and vertex shaders need to be taken into account, as does the number of ROPs (or Render Output units). Of course, the best performance metric is real-world testing, and to that end, we've assembled a wide range of game benchmarks in the next section.


  • Page 1 The Albatron GeForce 7900GTX-512 Card
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament 2004 Performance
    Page 4 DOOM 3 and Half-Life 2 Performance
    Page 5 FarCry and Quake 4 Performance
    Page 6 Chronicles of Riddick and F.E.A.R. Performance
    Page 7 3DMark06 Advanced Standard & Feature Performance
    Page 8 Overclock Testing and Performance
    Page 9 Benchmark Analysis, Value and Conclusion

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