Gainward's 7900GTX/7900GTX SLI review
Author: Luka Rakamaric
Date: 16 Mar 2006
A couple of days ago NVIDIA launched its new flagship GPU, the G71. Available in the models 7900GTX and 7900GT, it's the response to ATI's X1900 series that was introduced a month ago. The main new
characteristic of the chip is its shrinked production process, which is now 90 nm, instead of the previous 110 nm. We had a privilege to be among the first ones in the world who tested this excellent product at CeBIT, Hannover, thanks to our good friends at Gainward. We even managed to run them in SLI configuration with no problems whatsoever (after the BIOS upgrade). Make sure to read the review!
The main benefit of the decrease are lowered costs of production and lowered heat dissipation. A closer look at the specifications of the chip reveals that a little more is going on than just a die shrink. NVIDIA managed to decrease the number of transistors, which is not something you usually see in next generation of products. However, they managed to decrease the number of transistors from 304
million to 278 million. That, combined with a shrinked process, resulted in a die surface of only 196 mm2. ATI?s flagship has 353 mm2, which is responsible for a large portion of ATI?s power consumption and heat dissipation. Around 80% larger die also brings less quantity per wafer, so the production is more expensive, because wafers cost roughly the same. These are the areas where NVIDIA should, with the new chip, stand much better than ATI.
The card itself is almost indistinguishable from the older 7800GTX 512. The cooling solution is by far
the most effective on the market today, and easily handles the 650MHz chip. NVIDIA?s new philosophy is called XHD Gaming, which stands for Extreme High Definition, and which promotes their products as ideal for use with high resolutions. The maximum supported resolution is 2560x1600, where the advantages of the card are clearly visible. We did our tests at the today?s most popular resolution for LCD monitors, 1280x1024.
Our test system was the usual:
Athlon 64 X2 4400+
DFI LanParty SLI-DR
OCZ PC-3200, Platinum Revision 2, 2x512 MB
Western Digital Raptor 36 GB
OCZ PowerStream 520W (we'll say something about this later).