Nvidia 7900 GT and GTX Card Mini Roundup Review

Image Quality and Conclusion

Image Quality

For any current generation graphics card the issue HAS to be image quality. There is no doubt that all of the cards I have benchmarked in this review are fast, but how do they make the games look?

Nvidia and shimmering textures. Nvidia have had an issue for quite some time now with shimmering textures in games. This is due to poor implementation of anistropic filtering by nvidia. I have not talked too much about the "High Quality" driver settings in this review, as I did not feel that the 7900GT cards were quite fast enough to run this higher quality filtering well. But the GTX chip CAN run this level of driver setting. This does increase the quality of the scene overall, but the shimmering is still (barely) visible. I would not say that the shimmering issue would effect most people but it can become an issue if you are a bit of a quality nut. Here ATI excels and the High Quality AF and Adaptive AA are great features to have. Nvidia's Transparency AA is also an excellent feature, but again I feel the the GTX chip is the best chip to run the features on.

Having said that if you are running a CRT/TFT that is 1280 x 1024 then you will definately have the option of running these excellent features without slowing the performance down too much.

Conclusion

I have to say that the nvidia high-end card product lineup is very fast and performs very well in games. I am a fan of nvidia's drivers over the rather bloated .NET ATI drivers: but that's a great shame as the ATI cards are incredibly fast cards in the hardware as well.

The 7900GT lineup is a great lineup from both nvidia and its partners. Nvidia really stepped up its high-mid range performance with this card.

I was looking at the slightly pricier section of the 7900GT lineup and they did not fail to impress. XFX's card is a very fast card at stock and performs very well in all of the benchmarks. I was most impressed with the card but the cooling solution let it down a little. The Gainward card was a mixed bag. It performed well, but got beaten out by the XFX in most games. I feel that Gainward should perhaps think of upping the memory speed on the card to match the competition and then the card would be awesome. The cooling on the Gainward card is superior to the XFX card as far as sound is concerned and to many people this is a definite issue.

The Club3d 7900GTX is a very nice card. The reference cooling on the card is quiet and provides enough contact/airflow for a good overclock. While this card is a little more expensive than the XFX and the Gainward (around £25-40), perhaps it is worth the stretch. Would it be worth stretching even further to buy an X1900 series card? I'm not altogether convinced it would be.

Club3d 7900GTX 512mb

For Value for money the Club3d has it out of the three cards. At £299 from Ebuyer, this card is awesome value. Our value award goes to the Club3d.

Pro's

Cheap for a top-line card
Very fast
Very quiet
Looks great

Con's

Gets outperformed by the X1900XTX in some games/benchmarks
Still expensive at £300




XFX 7900GT 256 "XXX" Edition

If you are looking for an Sli setup then I would definately reccomend the XFX card. The cooler is slightly noisy, but it is single slot and as such does not take up that valuable additional PCI slot. At £269 from SCAN and an even better £258 at Overclockers UK it is a little on the pricey side but a great investment. The XFX gets the recommended award.

Pro's

Very fast 7900GT
Nice overclock at stock
Great performance
Nice looking cooler

Con's

Loud whiney cooler
Quite expensive

gamers choice

gamers choice


Gainward

The Gainward card has better cooling than the XFX card, but if you are looking for silence you will want to go for a little extra and get the Club3d. I am hesitant to give this card a reward due to the problems I had overclocking it. The cooler is nice and the card looks great though: a definate plus for a windowed system. At £271 at SCAN and £270 at Overclockers UK, the card is a little on the pricey side.

Pro's

Nice cooler
Great looking card
512mb memory may be needed in future

Con's

**Slow memory** Please see note below
Gets outperformed by similarly priced XFX card

Reply From Gainward

We always ask the manufacturers to give us feedback. Gainward have been kind enough to get back to us on this card.

I have spoken to a technician at Gainward who was very suprised that I would not overclock the Bliss card past 1500Mhz on the memory. He said that whilst this is a Golden Sample Card and only guaranteed at the Golden Sample Pre-overclocked clocks: it SHOULD have overclocked much further. Gainward did offer to send a new retail card to prove that this was a one-off but we feel that this was correct. I am therefore asking the reader to temper the overclocking results with this in mind.

We now feel that the Gainward can be "recommended" and have a score of 8.

Our thanks to Gainward for the Feedback.

reviewed


Editors Choice

The most prestigeous of our awards: the Editors Choice Award goes to...

Club3d 7900GTX 512mb

editorschoice

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Most Recent Comments

20-05-2006, 07:17:01

FarFarAway
We take a look at a couple of nvida's high-end cards

Click Here for the goodness

20-05-2006, 07:27:48

Hyper
Excellent Review Kemp, keep it up

Sam

20-05-2006, 07:42:45

dave87
Yup, nice work

20-05-2006, 07:47:16

MonkeyMeow
Lovely, now i'm dying for my Asus 7900 512MB GTX

20-05-2006, 08:26:24

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='MonkeyMeow'
Lovely, now i'm dying for my Asus 7900 512MB GTX
Yep anyone wanting a new card - those are 300ish if you use the SpecialTech Offer

20-05-2006, 08:41:02

limqareb
the problem of the gainward is the same i have on my 7800 so that happend after i overclocked it and i think i f**ked the ram, btw great review all the text must have taken you ages to write

20-05-2006, 09:33:00

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='limqareb'
the problem of the gainward is the same i have on my 7800 so that happend after i overclocked it and i think i f**ked the ram, btw great review all the text must have taken you ages to write
Yep the review took a while

Thanks guys - glad you like it

20-05-2006, 13:20:27

Eguy
Nice job as always kemp, I just got a XFX 7900GT for a customer, they are very pleased with it

20-05-2006, 19:46:45

PV5150
Awesome review mate

21-05-2006, 10:27:56

twisted5
Nice review Kemp One question...did you notice any kind of high pitch whine coming from any of the cards at any time? There is a thread going over at XS about this and apparently there are some cards that have an IC that gets VERY hot and starts to whine. The thread can be found HERE. Anyone else with a 7900 series card noticed this? It took a little listening to find it on mine since it is already loud in the room that my comp is in but it is there. I ended up just putting a memory heatsink on it and the 120mm fan in the side of my case takes care of the cooling on it.

21-05-2006, 11:44:54

FarFarAway
Hmm I have been noticing a loud pitched whine coming out of this one yes. didn't notice it during the review though

21-05-2006, 15:44:23

Ham
Just me or is there 2 page 6s? :s

And 10 and 11. May be my browzer...

21-05-2006, 16:11:51

Raven
Ham, your not alone

21-05-2006, 16:52:55

JN
Fixed, just Kemp accidentally re-submitting the same pages after checking them due to a PM from a spelling whore no doubt.

21-05-2006, 16:53:52

FarFarAway
We'll get it sorted. This is due to WC making me go through the entire review. If I submit a page without making changes another page

21-05-2006, 17:35:10

jiffz
I don't read loads of reviews on any site tbh, however I do think that is the best review/comparison I have read. I enjoy a good comparison and all cards are well described, analysed, well pictured with easy to follow results. It's all very well laid out and this must have taken a lot of time. Fair doos mate

21-05-2006, 17:42:11

FarFarAway
Thanks mate that's really appreciated. It did take up quite a fair amount of my spare time but hopefully it'll help out a few people who are wanting to make a decision on what to buy.

21-05-2006, 18:02:08

twisted5
Kemp: Could you look and see if you can find where the whining is coming from?

21-05-2006, 18:05:51

FarFarAway
I aint getting any right now plus i have to go to bed but I will do tomorrow mate ok

21-05-2006, 21:21:31

jiffz
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kempez
Thanks mate that's really appreciated. It did take up quite a fair amount of my spare time but hopefully it'll help out a few people who are wanting to make a decision on what to buy.

I'd deffinately have that Club 3D one. Now it's just a case of finding the cash for one of 'em!!!

21-05-2006, 21:56:43

twisted5
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
I aint getting any right now plus i have to go to bed but I will do tomorrow mate ok
I hope I didn't come across as wanting you to do it right then and there, just whenever you get a chance and remember it. I know both of my 7900GTX cards do it when transfering from 2d to 3d things and for awhile after that. It is actually starting to get kind of annoying now that I have noticed it.

22-05-2006, 05:22:22

WC Annihilus
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
We'll get it sorted. This is due to WC making me go through the entire review. If I submit a page without making changes another page
Yes, I do seem to have become the unofficial review checker. And I prolly bug the frick out of those 2 with it.

Anyways, nice review man

22-05-2006, 06:17:32

FragTek
Awesome, awesome review!

Good job Kemp!

14-06-2006, 05:39:03

FarFarAway
Please note that I have amended this review conclusion after discussion with Gainward.

Thanks

14-06-2006, 05:49:18

twisted5
What was changed? I didn't notice anything or did I just miss it?

EDIT: NM I found it...I am just blind

14-06-2006, 09:32:36

jmke
good review; solid testing method, I like it, thumbs up.

would have loved to see 7900GT 256Mb vs 512Mb shoot-out between XFX and Gainward with both memory/GPU speeds the same; interesting to see how they stack up.

guess that I'll have to check myself Sparkle 512Mb vs Club3D 256Mb
Reply
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