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    Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB Review
    By Vince Freeman :  December 23, 2006

    Introduction

    Just as there are many high-end video card buyers who make the move to the enthusiast level, so too are entry-level gamers looking to upgrade to mainstream graphics. This transition to a video card with a price of over $100 can also bring with it a significant performance improvement, usually outpacing the higher cost. NVIDIA has been very successful in this range with the popular GeForce 6600 GT, and then later using the more powerful GeForce 7600 GT. The GeForce 7600 GS 256MB bridges the gap between these two cards, utilizing a lower-cost version of the GeForce 7600 GT, while offering a features upgrade to the GeForce 7 level.

    The GeForce 7600 GS

    The GeForce 7600 GS is based on the 90nm G73 core, which in turns also powers the GeForce 7600 GT. This GPU is designed to replace the popular GeForce 6600 GT and bring a value mainstream entry into the GeForce 7 Series of video cards. This GPU features the same basic specs as the GeForce 7600 GT, including 12 pixel pipes, 12 texture units, 12 pixel shaders, and 5 vertex pipelines. Even the memory architecture is the same, with the GeForce 7600 GS including a 128-bit link to 256MB of GDDR2. Other features such as NVIDIA SLI, CineFX 4.0, Intellisample 4.0, UltraShadow II, and PureVideo are all supported by the GeForce 7600 GS.

    Where the GeForce 7600 GS differs is obviously in terms of clock speeds. NVIDIA certainly doesn't want a budget GeForce 7600-based card to be interfering with GeForce 7600 GT sales, so core and memory speeds have both decreased. The default GeForce 7600 GS core speed is 400 MHz and the memory is clocked at 700 MHz, which compares to the GeForce 7600 GT at 560 MHz/1.4 GHz clock speeds. This still translates into the GeForce 7600 GS sporting attractive fillrate (4.8 GTexel/s and 4.8 GPixels/s) and memory bandwidth (11.2 GB/s) specifications for its class, where the card will be looking to go up against the GeForce 6600 GT and Radeon X1600 Pro.

    The Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB Card

    The overall design of the Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB card is similar to a reference GeForce 7600 GS, and the basic format and cooling architecture remains consistent. One of the main benefits to the GeForce 7600 GS is its passive cooling system. The GPU clock speeds are so low that if affords this opportunity, and rather than overclocking the core and adding an active cooling fan, Albatron has gone along with the reference clock speeds of 400 MHz core and 700 MHz memory. The Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB is a single-slot PCI Express card, that is also a bit shorter than a standard GeForce 7600 GT and is seemingly tuned for SFF computers.

    The card's physical design is very minimalist, offering a large passive heatsink that covers the majority of the PCB landscape, although card weight is surprisingly unchanged from a standard GeForce 7600 GT 256MB. The backplate of the Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB includes a dual-link DVI port, a VGA-out port, an S-Video-out port, and the offers resolutions up to 2560x1600 (through DVI). Like other GeForce 7600-based cards, the Albatron GeForce 7600 GS card does not require any type of external power source.

    To give a better idea of the architecture of the various mainstream and high-end cards we see competing directly against the Albatron GeForce 7600 GS 256MB, 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 Pro 4 12 4 5 4
    Radeon X1600 XT 4 12 4 5 4
    GeForce 6600 GT 8 8 8 3 4
    GeForce 6800 GS 12 12 12 5 8
    Radeon X1650 Pro 4 12 4 5 4
    GeForce 7600 GT 12 12 12 5 8
    GeForce 7600 GS 12 12 12 5 8

    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 7600 GS 256MB Card
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 Unreal Tournament 2004 and Half-Life 2 Performance
    Page 4 DOOM 3 and Quake 4 Performance
    Page 5 FarCry and Prey Performance
    Page 6 Chronicles of Riddick and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Performance
    Page 7 F.E.A.R. and Company of Heroes Performance
    Page 8 3DMark06 Advanced Standard & Feature Performance
    Page 9 Overclocking, Benchmark Analysis, Value, and Conclusion


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