IntroductionIntroductionSo you loaded up the article and thought what the heck is TweakTown doing?You're probably wondering why a high-end nVidia graphics card roundup is being published just one week away from the launch of the brand new G80 - GeForce 8800GTX and 8800GTS.Well with the release of the new nVidia G80 cards, we are going to see an absolute flurry of previous (current) generation high-end cards hit the second hand market as all those people who want the best sell off their current top end cards.We're going to be having a look at the current cream of the crop nVidia cards to see what you want to buy with those hard earned dollars of yours. We will have a brief look at the cards but our main intention will be to see how they fair in a straight out comparison in our normal array of benchmarks.We will be looking at five cards today - the 7900GS Extreme from XFX starts the roundup off. From there we will be looking at the highly popular 7900GT. The newly released 7950GT is next on the list with the original bad boy of high-end, the 7900GTX and finally we will be throwing in the 7950GX2 which no doubt will be hitting the second hand market hard and fast.There is no doubt you're going to pick up some good deals in the following weeks, so let's have a quick look at what is in the line up and see what performance looks like across the board.
The CardsXFX 7900GS ExtremeThe GeForce 7900GS is one of the best bang for buck cards you can buy at the moment as far as we are concerned. It's safe to assume this card will pop up a fair bit since a lot of people purchased it as something to do them over till the new 8800 series arrives.Majority cards offer a huge overclock which gives a massive performance. If you're on the prowl for a 7900GS we would recommend that you find out what kind of overclock they had so you don't get yourself a dud.
The Cards ContinuedXFX 7950GT ExtremeI made my thoughts quite clear at a few places about the 7950GT. The thing is it's not a bad card; it really is just a remake of the 512MB variant of the 7900GT though. Chances are this is the one card that we will see very little. It wasn't too popular due to the fact it was only slightly faster then the 7900GT but slower then the 7900GTX. It offers quite a poor overclock in general and the price wasn't all that good.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3430MHz (381MHz FSB with 4:5 memory)Motherboard(s): DFI Infinity 975X (Supplied by Bronet)Memory: 2 X 1GB G.Skill HZ PC8000 @ 476MHz 4-4-4-12 (Supplied by Bronet)Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80Gig 7200RPM SATA 2 Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2Drivers: nVidia ForceWare 91.47 and DX9cRunning through our normal benchmark line up we will be looking at where each card sits.We have looked at all the cards before but never all together. What we mainly want to look at is what card is going to be best for you. It's not worth spending more money if you don't need too.3DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 120Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - 3DMark063DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 102Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)Half Life 2 (Lost Coast)Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Custom TimedemoDeveloper Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - PREYPREYVersion and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom BenchmarkDeveloper Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com Product Homepage: http://www.prey.comBuy It Here
Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.F.E.A.R.Version and / or Patch Used: UnpatchedTimedemo or Level Used: Built-in TestDeveloper Homepage: http://www.vugames.com Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AFHigh Quality AA and AFOur high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.
Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsLooking at what you're going to run on we will give you an idea of where you want to be.1024 x 768 - At 1024 x 768 your really have got the pick of the litter. Everything is going to do what you want but the bottom line is anything really above the 7900GS is just going to be throwing money down the drain. With the OC potential available from the 7900GS, it clearly is going to give you excellent performance and give you a good run for your money until we begin to see not only mainstream DX10 cards but DX10 games.1280 x 1024 - The most common resolution amongst most gamers thanks to it being seen on pretty much any 17" and 19" LCD. Depending on what sort of graphics level you want, you're going to be looking A O K with the 7900GS again when overclocked. You want to start mixing it up with some AA and AF we would probably recommend that you venture across to the 7900GT or even the 7950GT if you can pick one up cheap.1600 x 1200 - That resolution for all those stubborn gamers that have their heart set that LCDs are the work of people who never game. If you're running a 19" CRT and above the chances are this is what you game at. This is quite a jump in the resolution from 1280 x 1024 and you want to start looking at the 7950GT and 7900GTX of which both offer 512MB of DDR3. You're going to be able to game at the higher resolution and some slight degrees of AA are possible. If you want to get serious and really turn up the image quality, you want to venture into 7950GX2 land.1680 x 1050 - From a pure pixel push out rate your looking at something that is pretty similar to 1600 x 1200. You're going to again be looking at the 7950GT and 7900GTX for some higher end detail gaming. 1920 x 1200 and above Here is where the big boys come out to play, for top single card performance you're not going to want to look past the 7950GX2. If you already own one or a 7900GTX it's time to start shopping for that second one so you can start bumping up that AA and AF image quality. Either that or go buy an 8800GTX launch day.There's a bit of everything for every kind of resolution. The thing is though - you go to forums all around the world and pick up on what people are saying and owners of 24" LCD monitors pumping out 1920 x 1200 are saying how fantastic every game runs at max with their cheap GeForce 7600GT. Well it's clear that they haven't used something as nice as the 7900GTX or 7950GX2. Your wallet is really going to do all the talking but if you're looking at having something for a while now is the time to try and pick up something second hand as chances are, you're going to get a good deal and some pleasant gaming experience for quite a while.
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