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  NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT: Value-conscious gamers best bet?

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The GeForce 7900 GT is one of NVIDIA’s latest entries in the high-end gaming market. Utilizing the revamped G71 architecture, this chip shares similar specifications to the almighty GeForce 7800 GTX, while being manufactured in a smaller micron process which translates in lower manufacturing costs, less heat produces and potential for higher clock frequencies.

At the time of its release the now older 7800 GTX quickly became the single most powerful graphics card available. Speed was certainly not an issue for this product, though the recommended retail price of $500 did make this an option most of us could simply not afford. There was also a slightly slower and cheaper version of the 7800 GTX, known simply as the GeForce 7800 GT. This card although a bit cheaper at $400 it was easier to swallow but still far from affordable to anyone.

Fast forward until today, a new GeForce series is born, and while the new flagship GeForce 7900 GTX still costs an insane $450+, the GT version has been released at a more reasonable and affordable $300 range. At this price point the 7900 GT will quickly erase the 7800 GT from our memories as it offers performance similar to that of the faster 7800 GTX. In fact, specification-wise the 7900 GT and 7800 GTX (256MB) are almost identical with the exception of the core and memory frequencies which are actually higher on the 7900 GT.

  

Just like the much more expensive 7900 GTX version, the 7900 GT features 24 pixel shaders, 8 vertex shaders, and 16 ROPs using the same 256-bit memory interface. The memory bandwidth has been reduced from 51.2GB/s to 42.2GB/s, as the 7900 GTX sports a higher core and memory clock but this was to be expected.

The 7900 GT features a core clock of 450MHz and a memory clock of 1.32GHz, versus the GTX’s 650MHz and 1.6GHz respectively. The total amount of memory on board also changes from 256MB to 512MB GDDR3 in favor of the more expensive GTX. Normally I would refer to products such as the 7900 GT as cut down versions, though this time round that’s not really the case.

With all the pixel shaders, vertex shaders and ROPs intact the 7900 GT is in essence a GTX if you were able to overclock it far enough. The GeForce 7900 GT is slightly faster than the 256MB 7800 GTX and in many cases as fast as the Radeon X1800XT. But those are all previous generation products so we are also throwing a last generation Radeon X1900GT card to see how that goes considering those two competing chips are evenly priced on the market now.

Finally a last-generation 7600GT card is also included in our performance comparisons so you can decide whether spending less at the cost of performance is worth your while. Read on for more details on how these graphics chips stand up.



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