Review Index:

XFX GeForce 7900 GS 480M: NVIDIA's New Mid-Range Monster!

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: XFX

The XFX 7900 GS and Competition

The XFX 7900 GS

XFX was kind enough to send us a sample of their upcoming GeForce 7900 GS model PVT71PUDE3.  Yeah, that one. 

Scheduled to be on sale today for $219.99 with a $20 MIR, this 7900 GS model is clocked at 480 MHz core and 700 MHz memory speeds, a slight overclock compared to the stock reference speeds of 450 MHz and 660 MHz, respectively.  The card features two dual-link DVI outputs and a single HDTV/VIVO output for connecting your PC to your television.  The slick black PCB coloring comes standard as well.

The XFX 7-series of graphics card also have a black bar across the top of the card that is used for support when installed into a case.  You can see here as well that the 7900 GS has the same SLI connector (as if there was any doubt). 

The core on our sample reads "G71-N-A2" leading me to believe that we are looking at a core that was initially intended for a 7900 GT, GTX or GX2 model that didn't quite cut the mustard.  By simply disabling a handful of the pixel pipelines on the GPU, NVIDIA was probably able to save the core for sale as a slightly cheaper, less powerful 7900 GS model.  Whether or not any over-achieving hackers will be able to find a way to "unlock these pipes" will be determined in the weeks to come.

The XFX model we were sent came with a small dose of extras including a DVI-to-VGA adaptor, power adaptor, S-Video output cable, driver disk and manual. 

The Competition

Competing against the newly released 7900 GS we have one video card from ATI and another from NVIDIA that previously held the 7900 GS price slot. 

Here we have the ATI X1800 GTO, a card that features the X1800 core and a single slot cooling design that is also noticeably quieter.  I have not previously reviewed the X1800 GTO, but you can read all about the X1000-series technologies in the GPU by looking at our initial review here.

The X1800 GTO can be found online at prices ranging from $199 to $215 and up to $250 and beyond, setting it up on the same playing field as the expected 7900 GS price point. 

Until today, if you wanted a $200 video card from NVIDIA, your best option was the 7600 GT, seen above.  These cards offered the same 7-series of features but with only 12 pixel pipes, and other cut down options from its big brothers.  Today, 7600 GT cards can be found around the web for prices starting at around $160 and going up to $200 for overclocked models.  As we'll soon see, these prices are going to need to come down.

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