The Clash of the Titans - AMD's R600 preview
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Author: Vedran Dakic
Date: 22 Apr 2007
7900GTX did a very god job for NVIDIA - and we gotta say, we're still proudly using three of them in our testbeds. But initially, we were very surprised with the "weight loss" that happened between 7800GTX 512MB and 7900GTX - rougly around 24 million transistors were just "gone". MIA (Missing In Action) style. We heard a lot of rumours about NVIDIA doing a nice design optimising job. Also, we were very, very surprised with the cooler design applied to 7800GTX 512 and 7900GTX, that was taken from the NVIDIA Quadro series. We remember the first impression we got - this was a big "WoW" thing just by looking at design, although we were pretty sure that it will do a great job. Our assumptions were right - these coolers were probably the first coolers on high-end cards in years that didn't make you wanna scream and run for some silence. 7900GTX and GT were launched at last year's CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, and we were actually among the first ones to review them in both single and SLI mode. You can check out those "obsolete" articles
Back then, ATi was stuck with the 1800/1900 seres cards. "Stuck" being the key word describing the horror of 1800/1900 coolers. You can go back and check our "second round of obsolete articles" here,
here for the Master-less Crossfire etc. Technology-wise, these cards were really good products, always at least a little bit late to the market, but either "on par" or a bit ahead when clashed with a similar SLI configuration. And pretty hungry for power and more power...
The second horror in ATi's view of high-end market was called "master card". This was a pretty unavailable and a bit more expensive, yet "cut-down" in frequency and speed card that made quite a mess of the whole technology perspective. SLI just made quite a lot more sense, it was much simpler with the SLI bridge and being "usable" with all of the cards without any special cards involved. This "external" solution for connecting two cards is a long-gone thing in NVIDIA world, back at the 3dfx days. Of course, there was this thing called motherboard-compatibility, where NVIDIA also had a huge advantage. NFORCE chipsets were very popular among enthusiasts and widely appericiated as the high-end solution for gamers. Later on, 975 chipset came "on board", while RD580 and RD600 chipsets (check out reviews here,
here) came a bit later. BTW, you don't want to hear what we went through to get drivers for some of these reviews. Ah well, bygones...