I decided to upgrade my old AGP graphics card to a 7900GT after reading great reviews of it in a PC magazine a while back. I managed to pick up one for just over £200 and immediately noticed a performance increase when playing highly graphics intensive games. The card still stands up to new games today and you can also team two of them up using SLI technology.
The XFX range of this card look great with a decent size heatsinc and fan to disipate the heat well. This also allows you to overclock the card should you wish to get some extra speed out of the card.
The 256MB RAM on board the card really help performance too and i find that once i have loaded a game up, the performance becomes a lot smoother as the memory gets filled up and cached.
Sound wise, the card doesnt fare too badly, and is quiet even when the fan is at full speed.
Installation of this card is simple, its a PCI Express device and just slots neatly into the motherboard. The manual and drivers you get with the product are up to date and clear to follow and install.
I would recommend this graphics card especially when you take into account the price versus the speed of it.
Having decided to finally jump from AGP to PCI-Express I had to shift my old GeForce 6800 GT and I was sad to see it go, as we had been through so much together, so with a heavy heart I let it go and put the funds towards a new card. So with a budget of £220 I set out to pick a new card.
Now having had experience of XFX in the past being great value and having fantastic build quality, I decided on them again as my brand of choice, so all I needed now was a product to buy, so the successor to the 7800 series of cards was the new 7900 series built on a smaller manufacturing process, the new chips pack more punch. So after consulting a few reviews I concluded that the new 7900 GT was faster then the old 7800 GTX (and comes in at a lower price).
Armed with my new information I checked out my usual supplier, www.overclockers.co.uk, to find that they had the 7900 GT and a card id not heard of the 7900 GT Extreme Edition, as the price was only a few pounds more I checked out what was different about the cards and here's the deal.
256MB of GDDR3 using a 256-bit memory interface, now that's fairly rapid :o)
(Stock 7900 GT) - taken from XFXFORCE.com
- GeForce 7900 GT Core running at 450MHz
- 256MB GDDR3 Extreme Memory running at 1320MHz giving up to 41.5GB/second bandwidth
- 24 Pixel Pipelines
(Extreme Edition 7900 GT) - taken from XFXFORCE.com
- GeForce 7900 GT Core running at 520MHz
- 256MB GDDR3 Extreme Memory running at 1500MHz giving up to 48.5GB/second bandwidth
- 24 Pixel Pipelines
As you can see a great over clock has been done, and its supported / warranted by the manufacturer for the lifetime of the card, so long as you don't modify it.
OK all the blurb out the way, onto my experience with the product, so ordered the card from overclockers for £226 and I got it the next day. Unpacking the card I see the familiar X shaped box inside of which you find the card, 2 DVI / VGA converters, and a TV out cable capable of supporting HDTV, instruction manual, driver CD and in my instance a copy of Tomb Raider Legend (the games can differ) and last of all a power cable / adapter which needs to connect to 2 of your 4 pin Molex cables from your power supply.
Installation was easy as pie, open the case, push the card into the PCI-X slot, screw it down and plug in the power cables.
Windows recognised the new card as my old kit was nVidia so the universal drivers worked, however I updated them all the same.
The power of this card is phenomenal, I have thrown every game I own at it with MAXIMUM detail and it just laughs and asks for more. My previous 3d Mark 2005 score was just over 5600 my new card gives me over 8500 now.
Just so you can draw a comparison my system is an Athlon 64x2 4600+ with 2GB of RAM.
I must admit though this card is a little louder than my old one, but for the performance boost it really isn't something im going to loose sleep over.
From my point of view this card gets 9.5 out of 10 for value for money, build quality and manufacturer support.
As a last thought though, some review websites have over clocked this card further, something I have not done yet, with the further clocking they did see performance boosts of 10-15% can be achieved, this can differ from card to card.