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GeForce 7950 GT Launches With Passive Cooling 168

An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA's GeForce 7950 GT comes with great performance at an attractive $299/£225 launch price. Incredibly, XFX's pre-overclocked card comes with a passive cooling solution. From the article: 'There is no doubting that NVIDIA's GeForce 7950 GT is faster and cheaper than the GeForce 7900 GT that launched at the same price point earlier in the year. There is a lot to like about the product, and there is even more to like about XFX's implementation. It's generally a match for ATI's Radeon X1900XT 512MB in popular games.'"
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GeForce 7950 GT Launches With Passive Cooling

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  • Oh good! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:49PM (#16110382)

    Now I can fry eggs on the heatsink without the fan splattering yolk everywhere! : )

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BubFranklin ( 978317 )
      hard boiling eggs directly in the shell has been the preffered method in our office.(works on passive and fan cooled cpus) We did the math, and we save about $4.50 a year in power savings over microwaved hardboiled eggs.
    • Re:Oh good! (Score:5, Informative)

      by YA_Python_dev ( 885173 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:05PM (#16110434) Journal

      You got modded funny, but the thing is really hot: without an extra fan in the case, the article mentions "temperatures approaching 110 degrees Celcius (sic)" (for people not familiar with degrees Celsius, 100 degrees is the boiling point of water at normal atmospheric pressure).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gbobeck ( 926553 )
        For those who just want to see a unit conversion, 110 degrees C is roughly equivalent to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Or in more practical (and painful) terms, roughly the same temperature as the coffee spills that burn you in the crotchal area when you hit a bump in the road whilst drinking coffee during your morning commute.
        • by Khyber ( 864651 )
          Umm, I don't think my coffee is at a rolling boil during my commute to work. You must not cook that often.
          • by smash ( 1351 )
            Your coffee is not pure water.

            Impurities (coffee, milk, sugar) raise water's boiling point.

            • by fbjon ( 692006 )
              I see, so coffe should be made by adding impurities (coffee, milk, sugar) to water, then boiling the mix. Sounds tasty!
            • by Khyber ( 864651 )
              Okay, you find me coffee that's still boiling while you're driving down the freeway (hint, you're not going to. McDonald's kept their coffee over 180 degrees. Once you leave the heat source, you're not longer boiling. As I was trying to point out to the parent to my reply. Jeeze, some old people jump on any chance to try to outsmart the younger crowd, nowdays.
      • Re:Oh good! (Score:4, Funny)

        by straponego ( 521991 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:55PM (#16110620)
        for people not familiar with degrees Celsius
        The word you're searching for is "Americans"...
      • I've never been to the US, but are there really still people out there that don't know Celsius?
        • Re:Oh good! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Zach978 ( 98911 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:24PM (#16110703) Homepage
          anyone who passes middle school chemistry knows 100 C = 212 F...even here in the states
          • I live in the US and I didn't know that... or rather, I'd forgotten. Of course, the part I forgot was the Fahrenheit side (stupid not-round numbers)!

          • No. Everyone in the US knew that at some point in the (distant) past. If they kept up their brain at all since then they probably do still know it. I would be shocked to find more than a tiny fraction of a percent on /. didn't have a good feel for 100 degrees celcius, but in the general population.... it would be like knowing 9.8 m/s/s or 2.997E8 m/s, or 3.1415926 or 2.71828 or ... if they aren't used then they are forgotten. I wouldn't like to guess what proportion have forgotten, but it would be a sig
            • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
              Man, you rounded c off wrong: 299 792 458. I also wish that were my SSN as I can remember that, but I can't remember my SSN.
            • by yarbo ( 626329 )
              You rounded pi wrong
              • by Pyrrus ( 97830 )
                As long as we're being pedantic... It is scientific convention to round 4 or less down, 6 or more up, and 5 to the closest even number. Ie, .385 rounds to .38 (so does .375) and .345 rounds to .34 (as does .335).
            • Based on two comments, I rounded both c and pi incorrectly (truncating instead of rounding.)

              Embarassing as that is, I think it proves my point. I haven't used c in over ten years, and pi in some months. Despite coming from a background of scientific reasoning I am already losing these basic constants! In a few decades, what's the odds that I'll still remember 100 212? 0.8? At 80% would still give millions of people who won't remember. And what about those who were goofing off in science class instea
          • Well, seeing as we never used F in chem (either high school or engineering general chem), I didn't know that. 273.15K, on the hand, is much more familiar.
    • At first I thought the title was "GeForce 7950 GT Launches With MASSIVE Cooling".
  • by Sadko ( 980424 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:49PM (#16110384)
    Cooling can always be made active these days. Just buy something like Zallman Cooler ( 2E16835118117). Installation (which replaces the original cooling) is 10 minutes, and the cards these days are made with standard mounting, and it's usually gets your card down 10-15 degrees. The only drawback is that it makes 1-slot card to be 2-slot wide. Cheers,
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jonnykelly ( 663111 )
      Gee, ya think? But wasn't the point here that this card got these kind of stats WITHOUT active cooling (and thereby not requiring one to give up another slot as your advice puts forth).
      • If you read even a little bit of TFA you'd know that the passive cooler is large enough that the card takes the space of two slots.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Cooling can always be made active these days.

      I'm not entirely sure why you posted that. I think everyone here is aware that you can stick a fan on something to cool it. The point is that most people want passive cooling because it cuts down on the noise.
      • As Sadko posted, the fan mounts are standardized, so it is easy these days to purchase a "one size fits all" fan upgrade.

        Furthermore, by upgrading to a better heatsink with a larger fan, one can run the fan at extremely low RPMs, making it virtually silent.

        For example, I replaced the fan on my 7900 GT (REALLY loud) with a Zalman vf900. The heatpipe design makes this cooler incredibly efficient, and it also comes with a Fanmate to allow you to tune the speed to your tastes. I was able to run my card overcl
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Babbster ( 107076 )
      I'm pretty sure the idea is that passive cooling is preferable to active cooling - less noise, less power consumption and no moving part to fail. It's of particular interest to those running HTPC machines - if their case is cool enough, they can have a "real" video card with which to do some serious gaming.
      • It's of particular interest to those running HTPC machines - if their case is cool enough, they can have a "real" video card with which to do some serious gaming.

        My HTPC is by no means quiet, but my split-unit AC makes more noise by far.

        At any rate, a good surround sound setup > all.
      • by mcrbids ( 148650 )
        I'm pretty sure the idea is that passive cooling is preferable to active cooling - less noise, less power consumption and no moving part to fail.

        And, in my experience, any video card that uses active cooling becomes a "passive cooling" system in a year or two of use, anyway. Fan bearings go bad, the fan quits, and I don't even notice until I'm doing something unrelated. To keep things cooler, I usually remove the fan and use the card with just the heatsink.

        It's happened a number of times over the years, in
        • Just last week, I had my computer suddenly start hard-crashing whenever I'd run a 3-D intensive app (read newer game). I thought I might have a corrupt driver, or perhaps the hardware was failing. After way too much effort to eliminate any possible software problems, I opened the case up to take the card out in preparation for attempted warranty service. The heatsink had just enough dust bunnies on it to block airflow from the HSFan. Everything else in the case was fine (and not even very dusty) but wit
  • Great way to replace an XBox360 or PS3, put a computer with one of these in your living room and use it as a console/htpc type thing. But, does it run linux*? *have good drivers?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jascat ( 602034 )
      But, does it run linux*? *have good drivers? Yes. [] Better than ATI at least. Not open source, but the drivers are good. My 7800GS works great. Q4 runs faster under Linux than under Windows here.
      • hrm, the "GeForce 7950 GX2" is there, but not the "GeForce 7950 GT", which this article is about.(and that list is only for IA32, the IA64 driver hasn't been updated since 2004). However:

        the GeForce 7950 GT is based on a single G71 chip and bears more resemblances with a GeForce 7900-series card than it does with the GeForce 7950 GX2.

        So perhaps it not being on the supported list is an oversight.

        I was coincidentally researching prices/performance last week to upgrade my aging ti4200 and had decided on the

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by psymastr ( 684406 )
        /. is full of misinformation about 3D performance under linux. Yes, I have an nvidia card, yes, I have the latest drivers and no, id games are not faster under linux. I tried it because I'd read a million times in /. how 3D is better in linux because of better memory/disk management and all that bullshit.

        This is certainly not the case. 3D performance is not better in linux than in Windows. It's actually quite a bit worse. Granted, it's probably not because of the OS itself but because nvidia spends more res
        • by jascat ( 602034 )
          I have a typical (default) setup in Windows with as many services disabled as I can get by with and prior to gaming, I turn off the antivirus. In Linux, I run Quake 4 directly from GDM. Some how, I end up with better frame rates in Linux. It isn't much, but it's usually about 10 FPS more under Linux.
  • :( E16814150189 []

    I'll definately be putting this in my next computer I'm building. The AGP card I have now has a tiny fan that's noisier than anything even with it on the desktop. When are the 65nm based cards coming out?
    • If you actually look at the link, you'll notice that the model there has a reference fan and heatsink. Both the listed specs and the picture mention this.

      The passive model you are looking for is not sold on fact, I can't find it for sale anywhere. Tiger Direct no longer carries the item, and it's out-of-stock at Mwave. At $330, it has a sizeable price premium over other 7950 GTs.

      See, that's the problem when buying from XFX - they have TOO MANY models, so you can easily get confused and buy th
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:58PM (#16110413)
    With the advent of video cards that are Turing complete in recent years and sites such as this [], how feasible is it to run an actual operating system on the video card itself? It seems like it would be possible to write a kernel as a shader program, upload it, and just have it run.
    • Turing complete doesn't mean you can realistically run an operating system on it. Brainfuck (>>[>++>-[]) is turing complete, Conway's game of life is turing complete, try coding Linux in either of them.
      • Ideally you'd write the program in C, then the compiler compiles to a shader program and you upload and run it. Now implementing Linux in Brainfuck could be deon similarly by writing a program that converts the Linux source code to Brainfuck source code.
        • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
          Doesn't assembly have far too many non-Turing instructions to be converted to Brainfuck? Either that, or it has overly complex functions that can't be implemented with simple memory modification (unless you execute said modified memory, but that doesn't seem Turing complete to me).
          • THe point of turing-completeness is that all languages which are, it, are interchangeable. That doesn't mean you wouldn't see an appalling loss of simplicity and increase in memory consumption.

            Worst case scenario: a brainfuck VHDL/verilog/whatever interpreter that simulates an entire modern CPU + memory.
    • by Hast ( 24833 )
      Even latest shaders don't have proper ways of doing tests in the code. You can probably get around that somewhat but it won't be very useful.

      Basically shaders are not able to do procedural stuff like:

      if (A)
        then X
        then Y

      You can get around it somewhat with texture lookups (instead of doing compares) but the branching part isn't really there.
  • That pre-overclocked card will go great with my pre-opened mayonnaise and acid washed jeans! and my OOPS! ALL BERRIES! Cap'n Crunch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:00PM (#16110416)
    There is no doubting that NVIDIA's GeForce 7950 GT is faster and cheaper than the GeForce 7900 GT that launched at the same price point earlier in the year.

    say what now?
  • Sounds good to me... I'm pretty impressed by its performance and features overall.

    It has a heck of a heat sink on it, and no whirring fans to add to the rest of the noise from your case. Which is just fine by me.

    _________ []
  • Gl & HF (Score:2, Informative)

    by tirefire ( 724526 )
    From TFA: "While we're on the subject of the card being fanless, you're going to need to have good airflow inside your system to keep this card adequately cool."

    I've used a few passive cards before, and they've all crashed my games when they haven't had airflow over them. I thought elimination of airflow (i.e. noise) was the purpose of passive coolers?

    The best compromise between noise and performance is, imo, to buy an active Zalman cooler like the VF700 on my X800. It has a 5V "quiet" setting that keeps
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The thing that I like about passively cooled system components is that cooling duties can be taken care of by larger fans than could ever be put onto a component (in this case, a video card). Those larger fans can move more air per minute at a lower RPM and therefore at a lower noise level. Even when the noise level isn't that much lower, it's also at a lower frequency due to the RPM difference, and those lower frequencies are often more easily ignored.
    • I recently built a silent rig using a Gigabyte 7600GT with passive cooling. The heatsink takes up an extra slot, but it's worth it for the silence.

      You're right about the airflow - you need at least some if a passive solution is going keep your GPU alive - but that's true no matter what your setup. The GPU will keep kicking out the same heat whether actively or passively cooled. If you had a box that had little in/out airflow then the heat build-up in the case would make any cooling solution ineffective, so

  • Those heatsinks can get hot. I recently build two fanless systems using Zalman Reserator 1's. The CPU is really cool because of Zalman's water cooling. But the thermal take fanless power supply and geforce 7600 video card are real hot. They are well within parameters, but you don't want to hold your hand on it. I wish I'd had the water cooler pick up the heat from those too.

    A fanless system will remind you how much noise those hard drive make though.
    • These cards aren't meant to be used in fanless systems. They are supposed to be placed right next to your CPU fan, it gets its airflow from that.

      The point of this passive cooling is to replace two loud fans with one loud fan.
  • by linuxpng ( 314861 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:11PM (#16110461)
    or maybe I don't know what 'passive' means but I see a fan on the card.
    • eh, why put the product you are advertising on the first page.. I see the 2 PCI slot killer on page 2.
    • by cjb110 ( 200521 )
      congratulations, at least you've RTFFP, now go back and read the other pages, before clogging the tubes with more crap.
  • Performance Wise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:13PM (#16110472) Journal
    There used to be the high end the mid range and the low end, (Radeon 9000pro, 9500pro and 9700pro Geforce 4Ti, 4600 and 4200) this was good the next generation of cards would have the performance of the old top card in it's mid level card and mid would be a bit above the new low end.

    Then they moved to 4 levels 6000, 6600GT, 6800GT, 6800 ULTRA (The lineup was more full but these seemed to be the peaks in this particular generation, and the performance of subsequent generations would move one level up 1 became 2 and 2 became 3 etc losing about $50 - 100 a generation.

    This addition provided something between high and middle when consumers really wanted something between mid and low.

    As a result the high end got split while more and more people clung to the middle which was why the 9500 and 6600GT were so hugely popular as mid range cards.

    High end buyers are starting to buy the mid range simply because game designers are realizing that the number of people buying $600 cards is going down and prices are going up as those consumers flee.

    Hopefully they will return to the 3 price point system as that seems to be the best for consumers.

    To card manufacturers, we're sorry about the press leaks but you better match last generations top model with a mid price card or you're going to get destroyed eventually.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by imboboage0 ( 876812 )
      Spot on. I've taken to recommending the mid-range cards over anything. I have had a 6600GT for a little over a year and I couldnt be anything but satisfied. It even OCs well. I wasn't able to drop 500 bucks on a GPU, so I went with the 150 dollar solution: Mid-Range. I think this is where most of the market is (for anything but OEMs anyway) because people don't want to spend an assload on a video card, but they want bang for the buck. It's my belief that the market is concentrated around the mid-range, and
    • There used to be the high end the mid range and the low end

      No, even back in the "goold old days" that you are obviously not remembering correctly, ATI and Nvidia were guilty of confusing tactics and far too many "models". Let's take your two examples:

      The NV25-based GeForce 4 series of cards were most known for the confusing release of the GeForce 4 MX, which was really a GeForce 2 renamed. Without the DirectX 8 features of the true Geforce 4, the GeForce 4 MX had no business carrying that name. The cards
  • Do video cards like this perform any kind of 'gpu throttling' to keep power/heat at a minimum when they're not being taxed? How minimum? What does one look for to investigate this?
    • Video cards have throttled themselves for a long time now. Typically they run at a much slower speed when doing 2D graphics and then ramp it up once a 3d program kicks in.
      • Anyone with a high-end video card can tell you the fan on it goes into vacuum-cleaner mode whhile playing a game.

        Unfortunately, thanks to technologies like Aero Glass, Quartz Extreme, and XGL, it looks like graphics cards are going to be stuck in 3D mode from now on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by m0biusAce ( 899230 )
      Most video cards certainly do. I know for a fact nVidia cards so. They have different clock speeds for 2D (using no 3d applications, just your desktop and regular apps), and 3D in which the card clocks to maximium. Mobile versions of these graphic cards are even more power concious, they clock down even further, or employ other methods (such as shutting down parts of the GPU that are not being used completly, and reducing the number of PCI-E lanes used).
  • price (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:23PM (#16110506) Journal
    great performance at an attractive $299/£225 launch price

    Wern't we just complaining about the $250 Wii console this morning. And now applauding a $299 graphic card as affordable.
    • Re:price (Score:5, Funny)

      by Babbster ( 107076 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (bbabnoraa)> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:40PM (#16110563) Homepage
      Don't worry. The next time there's a discussion about "the death of PC gaming" there will be a dozen people telling us all about how you can make a PC gaming rig for less than the cost of a PS3. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ne0n ( 884282 )
      Wern't we just complaining about the $250 Wii console this morning. And now applauding a $299 graphic card as affordable.

      I guess gaming cards are like women: affordable != attractive.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper ( 135110 )
      Wern't we just complaining about the $250 Wii console this morning. And now applauding a $299 graphic card as affordable.

      With a console, you'll actually be paying MSRP for it.

      With computer components, it'll take a few weeks before it's selling for half-price, and less.
    • If I sold you a banana for $250 you'd call it expensive. If I sold you a new car (that worked properly) for $250 you'd call it cheap. It's all a matter of what you are comparing it against.

      Thus if you were expecting a Wii of $200 or less, $250 seem expensive. Also, if the leaked specs that have been floating around are correct, it's not much faster than an original Xbox. Nothing wrong with that, but it does change what people would say it's worth.
      • Still its just a graphics card. Its like calling a $25,000 new low end car expensive (which it is) then calling a $29,000 engine for a high end car cheap.
        • PC gaming is something that costs more money, at least if you want to stay on the cutting edge. Now there are compensations, one being that the computer will be quite powerful and able to be used for other tasks, another being that you get to stay on top of technology (a console is only on top when it comes out, if ever), and still another being the modability.

          I'm just saying you can't compare one market to another. $300 is pretty cheap for a near top of the line graphics card. However $250 for a console wh
  • I still don't care, because they still won't give me the information I need in order to use the card.

  • Editors? We don't need no stinking editors!

    Cheers to you Slashdot, Ed Palma []
  • ...and for water cooled systems do they provide a version with no cooling at all? Still no? []

    Given the size of the water cooling market, there must be a large enough niche here that it can be commercially exploited.

  • $299/£225

    Even allowing for VAT:

    (299/1.8) * 1.175 = £195

    So, once again, we Brits get to pay the random 15% "stiff upper lip" tax.
  • $299 is currently worth only £209, not £225. As usual, the UK is more expensive...

    The UK is a joke for technology. A few months ago we just started to get iMode phones. iMode launch in Japan in January 1999, so we were only seven years behind there.
  • Though 110C temperatures sound high, I have a NVidia 6800GT Massively Overclocked and it used to run about 80C at full load with the stock cooling. On a hot day outside, it got up to 100C quite often. Those temperatures are not horrible for video cards. They are designed to experience that kind of temerature. When I put watercooling on my videocard, the temperatures dropped to a max of 50C at load, no matter what the ambient temperature of my office was. There was no gain in performance and the overclo
  • I have to believe the acquisition of ATI by AMD essentially writes an epitath for nVidia. They have lagged behind ATI for image quality for about 2 years now, and performance for a year.

    I have nothing against them, but they are fighting an uphill battle. I don't think releasing products like this are really going to help them. If nVidia pulls a rabbit out of their hat, maybe it'll make sense on the high-end to buy nVidia again. For now, they are a "me, too" producer.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"