Gainward Bliss 7900 GTX SLI
Published: 1st July 2006 | Source: Gainward | Price: |How we tested
With the pure speed of cards out on the market at the moment I tend to focus on gameplay in my reviews. I will play each of the test suite games on as high settings as I could possibly play them at while maintaining a frame rate that is enjoyable to play at. If the quality of the gaming looks the same at different settings then I will choose the setting with the best FPS. This differs from game to game and person to person but I play a lot of games and have played with a lot of graphics cards so I hope that I can impart a decent opinion.
To offset this angle I also run a test suite of 3dMark03, 05 and 06. These will give you some numbers on what the cards perform like at stock speeds, for comparison. I also ran 3dMark06 after overclocking the cards - to see how much of an effect the overclocking will make. Overclocking was performed using the coolbits registry hack and done as in This Thread from the OC3D forums as well as using the "Overdrive" facility in ATI's drivers.
For these high-end cards I am using an overclocked Dual Core Opteron 175. Running at speeds exceeding an FX-60 at 2.8GHz, this will hopefully allow the cards to perform up to their fastest.
AMD Opteron 175 @ 2.8GHz (watercooled)
DFI LANPARTY UT Sli-D motherboard
Mushkin Redline PC4000 running at 255 x 11 1:1 3-3-2-5
HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
HDD: Gaming - 2 x 40gb Hitachi Deskstars in RAID 0
Sound: SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS
Power: PCP&C 510 SLi
Case: Coolermaster stacker with a lot of additional cooling
For installation I have installed the card as usual with the normal PCI-E power dongle. I have enabled SLI on the motherboard and am using the DFI SLI dongle. Checked that the card is seated correctly and powered on. I am using a clean install of Windows XP Professional SP2 with all the latest patches.
I am using nvidia's latest official forceware drivers - 91.31.
The Sapphire card was tested using the Catalyst Drivers 6.3's
The Powercolor card was tested using the Catalyst Drivers 6.5's
Club3d 7900GTX 512mb. Clock Speed: 650. Memory Speed: 1600 (800)
Sapphire X1900XTX 512mb. Clock Speed: 650. Memory Speed: 1550 (775).
Powercolor X1900XT 512mb. Clock Speed: 621. Memory Speed: 1550 (720).
Gainward 7900GTX 512mb. Clock Speed: 650. Memory Speed: 1600 (800)