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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The War Of Video Cards

geforce 7900GSI got a new video card two weeks ago! Not because I wanted one, but because I needed it!

Introducing the GeForce 7900GS!

Here is the story behind this acquisition. If you check out my
Introductory Post, you will see a pic of my "SUPERNOVA" custom machine. It's loaded to the hilt, right down to the custom Fiery Orange paint job, open-style case and PCI-E video cards. (AMD 3700+, 1 gig of OCZ RAM, MSI Board w/ PCI-e support) - you get the idea. This bad-boy was built for games like Oblivion!

The original issue was that the machine came with 2 GeForce 6800 GS PCI-E video cards, bridged. So between the two of them, I was working with 1 gig of VRAM. What I didn't realize was that there was a serious defect with the 6800GS - so if you are a reader with one of these (or two of these) cards in your machine, be warned, there are flaws.

For whatever reason, once I bridged the 6800GS's together and did standard things, like - read email, or create Word documents, my CPU usage would eventually climb up to 100%. Apparently, the drivers for the 6800GS were really poorly written, and when sitting idle for a while, the cards would starting racking up Deferred Procedure Calls to the CPU and would not release those resources. I don't pretend to understand why, so I surfed around the Net for others that had my issues, and there were many. In the end, most of them simply replaced their card, and seeing no other alternative, that is exactly what I did.

That is where the GeForce 7900GS came in. This ONE card does the work of both 6800GS's together.

Specs are as follows (for those of you that like that):

  • 7900GS
  • Process Technology: 90nm
  • Processor Core: G71
  • Number of Processors: 1
  • Number of Transistors per Processor: 278M
  • Vertex Frequency (MHz): 470
  • Core Frequency (MHz): 450
  • Memory Clock (MHz): 660
  • DDR Rate (MHz): 1320
  • Vertex Shaders (#): 7
  • Pixel Shaders (#): 20
  • ROPs (#): 16
  • Memory Interface (bit): 256
  • Frame Buffer Size per Processor (MB): 256
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) per processor: 42.24
  • Vertices/Second (Millions): 822.5
  • Pixel Fill Rate (# ROPs x clk) in Billions/sec: 7.2
  • Texture Fill Rate (# pixel pipes x clk) in Billions/sec: 9
  • RAMDACs (MHz): 400
  • Bus Technology: PCI Express

This thing hardly blinks when I'm playing Elder's Scroll: Oblivion. It can handles the intense graphics at a resolution of 1600x1200 with no problems at all. I have full texturing on and anti-aliasing on as well. This baby is a performer; there's no doubt about it. And at a $250ish CAN price-tag, it's a steal!

Tom's Hardware did a review of the card.

We use Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as our ultimate torture test; the only settings we don't maximize are HDR and soft shadows. We disable HDR due to the fact that Nvidia cannot render HDR with antialiasing - neither can ATI without the "Chuck patch" - and we disable soft shadows because they don't appear correctly as shadows from the back of a character's head (this can cause shadows that can be seen on the face, making women appear to have beards!)

In our outdoor scene there are long lines of sight, day is changing into night, and there is foliage swaying in the breeze. All of this realism has a severe impact on performance. Fortunately, this is where raw horsepower can muscle its way through this test - exactly what the GeForce 7950GX2 can do. While none of the cards are "playable" at anything higher that 1024x768 (meaning that they average 30 frames per second or more), this demonstrates the future potential of games with many moving objects and features.

In a really intensive game like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, with the settings cranked up, the power of the new core shows that it can even beat a stock GeForce 7800GTX. While it would be necessary to turn down the settings to play, the pure rendering power is unveiled at the higher image quality settings.

Read all about it

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