Final Thoughts: Best buy?
Currently there are very few exciting GeForce 7950GT graphics cards on offer, which is very disappointing. The only decent example I could find of some customization done to a product came from XFX. There are few products that feature anything other than the bland green PCB, and the basic Nvidia reference cooling design. Yes, the majority of 7950GT graphics cards are very well priced, but that is hardly the point. If I was to spend $300 on a graphics card, at the very least I would expect to get some kind of creative PCB color for my money.
With that picture in mind, something like the Inno3D GeForce 7950GT is about as good as it gets, and with the kind of performance output we saw before maybe we won't complain. The lack of cooling for the memory chips was a little disappointing and would have really helped give this Inno3D graphics card that much needed spark, luckily the Zalman ZF700 sucked us back in.
The GeForce 7950GT is in some ways a bit of a disappointment. As mentioned before the 7950GT is nothing more than a spruced up 7900GT and Nvidia has done this to help along sales of the 7900 series for the next few months. The additional 256MB of onboard memory along with the increased core and memory clock speeds are going to come in handy when playing the latest and greatest games. Currently the new 7950GT costs on average $30 more than the 7900GT equivalent, which is small bucks given the boost you get. If it wasn't for the fact that the Radeon X1900 XT does exist, I would say the 7950GT is money well spent.
Although it's slightly more expensive ($20-40), the Radeon X1900XT is definitely a better performer. There is a thing or two you will need to sacrifice if you go with the red team however. For example, a dual-slot cooler is a given with the X1900XT which might bother some. This is nuisance considering X1900XT cards have been available for months now, yet no manufacturer has refined this aspect of the card. This gives the GeForce a certain edge, not only in size but the ATI cooler while usually quiet, can get a bit loud under stressing conditions.
The second thing to consider is SLI vs. Crossfire. Although many of you won't be planning to upgrade to a second card immediately, at this time SLI keeps the crown as the best implemented, and most widely supported dual graphics card technology.
Finally, although we did not post any actual scores on this article, from our past experience the X1900XT offers a moderate to generous overclocking headroom. The GeForce 7950GT pales in comparison as it's essentially a maxed out 7900GT. So with all facts in hand, the decision is ultimately yours to make depending also on what you believe is most important. Whether you prefer the more compact and convenient GeForce with SLI support, or the ATI Radeon sporting slightly more raw power and Crossfire capability.