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The NVIDIA GeForce 7900 Series 217

An anonymous reader writes "HardOCP has posted their evaluation of the new GeForce 7900 technology. They fully cover widescreen gaming this time around too. 'NVIDIA has worked hard to try and produce a more powerful, albeit power-efficient GPU in the 7900 GTX and GT, and they've succeeded. They run cooler; are smaller, have less transistors, and they don't make you stuff cotton in your ears. The 7900 GTX and GT are just more efficient while being lightning fast.'"
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The NVIDIA GeForce 7900 Series

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  • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:12PM (#14883182)
    i bet with the SLI i can still cook two eggs at once. :)
    • Re:and the heat (Score:5, Informative)

      by Knight Thrasher ( 766792 ) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:17PM (#14883235) Journal
      If you read the article, you might've caught that these cards run cooler, thanks to 90nm.

      Please read the article. The 7900 is an actual step forwards from the 7800. In this article, Nvidia delivers.

      I'm interested to see what ATI is going to do. I'm not a fanboy of either manufacturer, but the 7800GT/GTX and the GS series have been laying into ATI hard, and they still havn't released a card that matches the 7800 series yet. I'd like to see something comparable, just so the prices are driven down a little on these higher-end cards.

      • What do you mean they haven't produced a card that competes with the 7800 yet?, the X1900 series competes with the 7900!
      • ehhh... just to remove the "alternate reality" glasses for a second.

        The X1800 series competes with the 7800 series, with really only the 7800GTX 512 just about coming out tops.

        The X1900 series came out before the 7900 (and made the 7800 series look quite silly, as some high end 7800GTX were similar price to it) and competes with it admirably - the 7900GTX should have left the X1900XTX to eat dust - but it looks like it hasn't.

        Hopefully the 7900GTX prices are competitive, as I'd like to stick with Nvidia.
    • Actually... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      NVIDIA is now offering a quad-SLI solution which can bake 2 biscuits to accompany those eggs.

      • by Woy ( 606550 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:31PM (#14883364)
        And the Laptop based solutions can roast a sausage to accompany those eggs ands biscuits.

        • And the Laptop based solutions can roast a sausage to accompany those eggs ands biscuits
          But only for guys that keep it on their lap.
        • Yaay! Breakfast computers. I want one with an edible keyboard, too. If you replaced the CD tray with a small alloy skillet (you could probably augment this if your psu has a spare lead) you could read weight loss pages online while you cook your bacon and eggs. Advise keeping a small bowl under the tray as a grease trap. Remember Video Toaster? No doubt we could wire that in somewhere. I want my computer experience to be physically as well as intellectually nourishing.

          And somewhere in all of that is a

  • So GPU's are also now on the Performance/Watt bandwagon.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:18PM (#14883244) Journal
    And yet another graphics card is released. Is it worth my money to upgrade my dual 6800 XTs? Let's find out by reading the review.

    Unfortunately, I can't. I'm better off going to NVidia and trusting their product sheets. Why? Because I'm not looking to play Need for Speed Most Wanted or Quake Four or Half Life Two, I'm looking to do some actual graphics processing with an SLI setup. Yes, brace yourselves, I don't actually use these beasts for gaming.

    If you read the reviews, it may look like these cards have no purpose other than to play the higher end games.

    It is my responsibility to make a kind of "Google Earth on Steroids" for my employer. And this requires that five (yes, five) terabytes of mapping data be available for a multi-monitor (and by "multi" I mean many) display. What's my current choke point? Simply data bandwidth into the card.

    Where does this review leave me? I now know intimately how high I can get my frame rate up in a first person shooter. Huzzah!

    I know there are product sheets that tell me what kind of bandwidth I have but I'm more interested in what a non-interested third party has to say about it. Where are the real benchmarking tests? What about a simple program that loads up the card with as much data as possible as quickly as possible? I'm not even sure if the choking point is on the card or at the interface level with the motherboard (PCIe 16x).

    Why can I not find objective reviews that aim to look at cold hard numbers?
    • If I'm not mistaking, I think that many gamer benchmark programs can also test the bandwidth. Most of these benchmarking tools will do many tests and then give the user a total score.

      I'm pretty sure that 3D Mark from Futuremark has an option to just perform bandwidth and filling tests and then report back on how it went. Heck, FutureMark even has a database where thoudsands of gamers posted their scores along with their computer specifications, it could be an information goldmine to you.

      But never the less,
      • Note he said "make a kind of "Google Earth on Steroids" for my employer." This in no way indicates that they are working with Google Earth. If anything, it sounds like they are competing.
    • by shaka999 ( 335100 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:28PM (#14883340)
      Maybe you should try some decaf or something. So your using a product outside its target market and now your whining because your not getting the info you need. Face it 99.5% (prove me wrong :) ) of people who buy these use them for games. Get over it.
      • With some of the older cards, you used to be able to flash them with the BIOS off the prosumer cards.

        You got a respectable performance boost for graphics design compared to the regular BIOS.

        I dunno if the newest generation of cards will still let you do that.
    • "What about a simple program that loads up the card with as much data as possible as quickly as possible?"
      And let's say such a review exists and was posted as an article to Slashdot. Then someone who is looking at the card for gaming purposes would post a similarly tired comment as yours and say, "Yes but what kind of frame rate can I get in Quake IV?"

      Face it: you're in a minority. Stop crying about it.

    • And it seems 2d performance is mostly ignored these days in reviews. I'd like to find a DVI card that is sharp at 1620x1050, the resolution of my new widescreen LCD. Probably a budget card can do this--but which budget card? I can't meaningfully translate Half-life 2 benchmarks to flicker-free scrolling through large spreadsheet with small point sizes. Are there any good resources for this?
      • The reason there's not any 2D benchmarks is because the cards are all so fast it's effectively no issue. The only consideration for 2D anymore would be image quality on an analogue signal. Well, being that you aren't doing that, there's no issue there. Any reasonably new nVidia or ATi card with a DVI output should do what you want. Personally, I'd recommend getting a DriectX 9 capable one so that you can run the hardware rendering and compositing engine in Vista. Maybe something like a Radeon 9200 or a GeFo
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:08PM (#14883690)
      Namely, the Quadro. The GeForce series are their gamer cards. That's their target market, well at least with the higher end ones. Hence, they send them to gamer sites and they get reviewed for gamers. nVidia's professional line of cards are the Quadros. They are the same chips as the GeForces, but use different drivers, certified for pro apps, and have features available not found on consumer cards like HDSDI output.

      Now if you feel like saving money by getting the gamer card instead of the pro one, I don't have a problem with that, however don't get angry that everyone else taks about it and reviews it as though it were a gamer card since, in fact, it is. If you want a card taht's treated like a pro card, look at a Quadro.
      • You used to be able to cheat by flashing the BIOS of the regular cards with the BIOS of the Quadros.

        The bold could have even more fun by soldering/breaking the SMD-resistors on the PCB. Ditto for ATI cards.

        I don't know if this applies to the lastest gen of graphics card, but it is/was a cheap and easy way to get the pro driver/bios optimizations without the extra on-card features.
        • That's true, but my limited experince of the Quadro cards (I have one in my work PC) is that they suck for gaming. It's just not what they're made for.

          So, it seems to me that flashing the BIOS of a GeForce with that from a Quadro would just give you the worst of both worlds - a card with the pro features of a gaming card, but the gaming power of a pro card...
      • Wait wait, I know where he's coming from. I'm in the market for a beat up sedan to grow pot in but none of the review sites show what frequencies the roof lights put out.

        Lousy auto industry.
    • Using fanboy review sites to help you do your job is ill advised.
    • Yes, most reviews don't typically test maximum transfer speed on CONSUMER cards because it's not that important for CONSUMERs.

      You are a professional. You are feeding your card texture and vertex data via a high-bandwidth storage system. Most consumers, on the other hand, are waiting on their 50MB/s hard disks as the choke point.

      I have read one or two reviews that have tested the raw transfer rates of these PCIe 16x video cards, and most of them have topped out at the 900-1000 MB/s range (load). In other
    • to paraphrase: "I have a weird corner case need. This review sucks because it doesn't address my weird corner case need, and instead addresses the needs of 99% of the people who are going to be reading it."

      In the future when this basic train of thought is running around in your head, save us all some time and keep it there.
  • Price point (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yum ( 24177 )
    The biggest news (for me at least) is that the MSRP of the 7900GT is $299. Considering the 7900GT performs on par with the 7800GTX, which is about $100 more, the 7900GT is starting to look like a bargain.

    If any of you bleeding-edge gamers want to sell off your "old" 7800GTX for $250 or so, drop me a line
  • by saboola ( 655522 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:23PM (#14883298)
    Where as the main character looked like this before (screenshot below):


    Now on this new video card it looks like this:


    best 500 bucks I have ever spent
    • I for some reason never see how comments are moderated since I browse on 0 or 1 threshhold, but that's one of the most insightful posts I've seen on new graphics cards in quite a while :p if your games are already running at over 70fps and a decent resolution then why bother.. I bought a GeForce 6600GT then actually started MUDing, heh.. did buy FarCry to test it out and it worked fine with maxed out settings
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @12:27PM (#14883333)
    To combat the new GeForce 7600 GT and GeForce 7900 GT, ATI just launched the new Radeon X1800 GTO. The only review [] I can find so far is at Hot Hardware.
  • How about linux support for these new features and hardware itself?
  • HDCP? (Score:2, Interesting)

    hmmm I wonder if these cards will be HDCP compatible?
  • 63/64 FPS Max in Q4... Did they even bother to remove the vsync?
  • Who cares, really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:15PM (#14883763)
    I get tired of the constant barrage of newer and faster video cards on a 6 month cycle. Most people can't afford $700 for the latest video card, so its like 12 months before these video cards become feasible for the average user to consider in their new system, and by then a newer faster $700 video card has already come out.

    The problem is, with each generation of video card, full of hype and claims of high performance, wait 6 months and a video game is usually released where it cripples the card. I have an x700 video card and, while not the x800, it was still in a generation of video cards that can play the newest games at the highest resolutions with the best quality settings. Playing F.E.A.R I can barely get 30 fps out of the card with minimum to medium quality settings, that on a video card not more then a year old.

    Video cards are one of those products that are sold for way too much money when it is first released. I mean, nVidia and ATI may think it is necessary to jack up the cost to cover R&D investment, but how much R&D is really going on? With the 7900, nVidia just looked to shrink some of the components and optimize existing architecture, something they have been doing consistently with the Geforce lineup. Are they spending billions in R&D, or just millions? Do they need to sell new cards for $700, or perhaps can we start seeing a price war that will drive down costs of new products to reasonable prices.

    In any case, so what, nVidia has a new lineup of video cards. Add that to the list of literally hundreds of available video cards on the market, with 16 versions of every model and generation by 16 different companies, the video card market has become muddy and overly complicated and I just don't care when something new enters the market now because it won't run the games well that I want to play 6 months from now, and I don't have $700 burning a hole in my pocket every 6 months to buy the next latest and greatest.
    • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @01:40PM (#14883958) Journal
      You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of Capitalism. It is consumers that set the price. NVIDIA just asks, "Who will pay this much for this card?" Once sales drop they drop the price and again ask, "who will now pay this lower price?"

      At some point the Video cards will hit a price point that you find worth your money.
      • Moreover, if a significant amount weren't willing to pay that much, the rate at which new cards are developed would drop. He should be thanking the early adopters for making it worthwhile to continuously improve the technology.
      • At some point the Video cards will hit a price point that you find worth your money.

        ... or are discontinued.
      • You are missing a fundamental part of capitalism yourself. You can either say "Who will pay $1000 for this?" and get 5 people or say "Who will pay $100 for this?" and get 50. His point is that why can't they sell it for less and sell it to more people? It sounds more like they play on the psychology of lack for some reason instead of selling in volume.
        • You may call it psychology of lack, they consider it Market advantage. It is busness plain and simple.
        • The short answer is they could.

          The long answer is that it's not a linear ratio of price to sales, and there are way more factors that go into pricing than you've probably ever thought of. First of all, you want to get the most money for your product, but eveyone has a different idea of what they're willing to pay. Some would pay $1000. Some would pay $500. Some would pay $25. Obviously the best thing would be to just ask them how much they're willing to pay and then charge them that, but in practice it
    • Do they need to sell new cards for $700, or perhaps can we start seeing a price war that will drive down costs of new products to reasonable prices

      I agree with everything you said, but if there's one thing that's almost assured, it's that a price war is going on and the prices are only increasing, not decreasing. The video card market seems to have a nice thing going for manufacturers - the better the card the better it looks so you can impress your friends so all ATI/Nvidia has to do is create a see-sa

    • They price cards at what the market will bear. There are people who will drop $700 on a new graphics card. nVidia prices accordingly. After a while, those prices get into the $100-$150 range. Other people, who are a bit more economical, pick them up at that price. It seems a little silly to complain about a company that is trying to make money. I mean... after all, that is what they should be doing, right?
    • How does this get a +4? This isn't the "news for Luddites, new technology is dumb" website. It is a new card, that has better performance than the old card. It is more expensive, than the old cards (actually some versions are cheaper than the old cards and have better performance). Deal with it. If you don't care, then go read something else. Go buy a console if you can't deal with choice.

  • My HDTV doesn't need a fan. Can I get a Linux PC with HDTV videocard that doesn't need a fan to play widescreen "HDVDs" off my hard drive?
    • Re:Silent Movies (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg ( 618674 )
      If you need a single-slot cooler (i.e. doesn't overlap the adjacent pci slot) then about your only choice with the grunt for HDTV is the nvidia 6600 passive (i.e. fanless); it comes as both AGP and PCI-E versions from club, xfx or gigabyte. With a reasonable specc'd CPU and a scythe ninja cooler, and of course a quiet or passively cooled PSU and a mechanically decoupled hard-drive, you should be able to build a PC that is only cooled by a single low-speed 120mm fan - effectively silent (I can't hear mine fr
  • by Rickler ( 894262 )
    It says the price is $449 for a 7800 GT.. but thats off by some 150 dollars... newegg has these cards priced at $285 to $350!
  • Ok, I've got a Radeon 9800 Pro card that I got with my machine about 4 years ago. The machine itself is a P4 running at or near (perhaps slightly over) 3 GHz with 1 GB of RAM. Warcraft CRAWLS for me. At best, in the overworld, I get 20-30fps. I was looking to spec out a new machine and discovered that what I bought 4 years ago isn't that far behind what you get today in terms of processors and RAM, so I'm wondering if that uber Radeon 9800 Pro card is significantly less haus that what typical 3d gamers
    • Depends whether you want a PCI-Express or AGP card. If you're going AGP, you probably want to check this out [].

  • You can check out the XFX XXX 7900GTX, 7900GT, and 7600GT here. =Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=241&pag e=1 []

    This is the only review of these cards, and they are clocked higher than any others available.
  • I'd love to read some general purpose GPU type benchmarks for these cards. I'm really curious how they perform compared to say the original Nvidia 6800 card. It might be fun to graph the performance and see what the curve looks like compared to CPU performance graphs.
  • ---
    As of Jan 2006 here are your choices:
    card 1 ($45)
    card 2 ($50)
    card 3 ($100)
    card 4
    card 5 ($130)
    crazy gamer:
    card 6 ($450)
    I couldn't find one. The usual review sites have too much info for me to digest (latest GPU specs, how many million polygons ..e
    • You got it.

      As of March 2006 here are your choices (using the newest technology available in each category, and cards are ranged in order of typical performance in their category):

      Budget (ie: you really shouldn't spend this little):

      GeForce 6200 256MB ($49)
      Radeon x300 256MB ($55)

      Upper budget (cards that will actually play new games):

      Radeon x1300 Pro 256MB ($95)
      GeForce 6600 256MB ($85)

      Lower-midrange gamer:

      GeForce 6600 GT 128MB ($120)
      Radeon x1600 Pro 256MB ($125)
  • by AtrN ( 87501 ) * on Thursday March 09, 2006 @04:29PM (#14885305) Homepage
    have less transistors
    Fewer. It's fewer God dammit.

    • 12 items or fewer
    • Fewer chips
    • Fewer features
    • less heat
    • less annoying
    • less of an impact


  • It's amazing that people are so put off by announcements like this. "Oh great, ANOTHER new video card. Whoop-dee-doo!" The graphics industry has apparently been too good to all of you. Imagine if any other industry on the planet moved like the graphics industry... Would you complain if every six months you could buy a car that went twice as fast as your old one and consumed half as much gas? So maybe you don't want to pay top dollar for the latest and greatest video card, but here's the secret: you do

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas