After a week of so much pain and so little sleep, you think that you would be left with a bad taste in your mouth but we're left quite pleased with the latest graphics card offering from nVidia and XFX.
Even at 2560 x 1600 with a dual core CPU setup with AA and AF turned on to high levels, we are able to play games. Some people may feel that it even looks pretty good at these settings without AA and AF but once you turn the AA to 8 and the AF to 16, your jaw real does drop as you see your 30" LCD screen light up like it never has before. The problem is that the performance just isn't available without some serious CPU overclocking. The thing is though, there are plenty of people out there who don't want to overclock and this is obvious with companies like XFX making these XXX versions which are apparently selling absolutely crazy.
It is not till our final page of benchmarks where we finally sit back and think... "Boy, there is actually a use for Quad SLI - I really couldn't play Doom 3 at 40FPS." Let's hope that Quad SLI initially sees an increase of around 60% for which case we are then looking at an average frame rate of 64FPS, which is a huge difference and now we are in playable territory.
Games are only getting more intensive as well so there is no doubt that Quad SLI is going to be useful but we have to ask ourselves something. Are games going to make use of this card and technology before the next batch of ATI and nVidia cards come out? Time will only tell.
Exactly what we want to see now is a driver for Quad SLI, more games to make use of the AGEIA PhysX games and more companies producing 30" LCDs which offer a 2560 x 1600 native resolution to help drive price down thus making it a more affordable option. We probably would not recommend Quad SLI to someone who was using a monitor that offered 1920 x 1200 or below.
XFX have done a fantastic job with this card and it is clear that the performance increase it offers over the Leadtek is quite good. It also makes the 7950GX2 a better option over an SLI combination especially considering you have a wider range of other non-SLI motherboards to choose from when looking for a compatible product for your new graphics card.
The real question is what to buy and that is simple - what monitor do you have? If your monitor's maximum resolution is 1600 x 1200, you have two options: Buy the 7950GX2 XXX without even considering purchasing another in the future for Quad SLI or buy two GeForce 7900GT 512MB cards and put them into SLI.
If your monitor's maximum resolution is 1920 x 1200 get a 7950GX2 XXX with the thought of buying one in the near future so you can bump your AA more again and really experience what people are calling "HD Gaming".
If your monitor's maximum resolution is 2560 x 1600 get a 7950GX2 XXX now and start saving those dollars for a second one for when the proper Quad SLI driver follows in the following weeks. For you 30" users with plenty of money to spend, SLI was so yesterday... Quad SLI is what you want!
Quad SLI (four GPU) is coming soon for true HD Gaming!
XXX is fXXXing fast even when at high resolutions
Greatly improved over 7900GX2 design, ready for end-user consumption
Full version game included
Quad SLI not ready yet - quickly please, nVidia!
Quad SLI labeling on certain partner cards may confuse buyers (not XFX drawback)
Make sure your wallet is stacked with cash
Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Performance Award