PCI-E x1 UsagePCI-E x1 Usage Situations- Desktop Real EstateWhen looking at adding another graphics card to your system, the typical computer enthusiast thinks you do it for the additional power. Well, there is more to multiple graphics cards then pure speed. The ability that SLI gave us was that we could easily have four monitors set up and running at the same time.With old style PCI slots not only being valuable due to many devices still requiring them and PCI graphics cards not only being slow but also expensive, it would make sense that an alternative option was made available. nVidia's nForce 680i chipset from nVidia provides three x16 slots but at a very high price. The ability to go out and buy a good quality (but cheaper) Intel 965P board from manufactories like Gigabyte and ASUS means that with a trio of these GeForce 7300GT graphics cards (two utilizing the PCI-E x16 slots and one the x1 slot), we can get six monitors up and running quite cheaply. Keep in mind they won't run at x16 just because you've placed them in an x16 slot but they'll still work perfectly fine at x1 bandwidth speeds.This is perfect for people who need nothing more than huge amounts of desktop real estate - it's something that is becoming more and more common amongst heavy computer users and certain industries.- HTPCNext on the list are home theater computers. Your average home theater PC doesn't come with much expansion ability; motherboard manufactures also feel that with the integrated graphics, there is no real point or need in offering a PCI-E x16 slot - well, as far as we are concerned, that's not a problem now. So, you are having some trouble playing back 720p movies thanks to the lack of grunt on offer from the onboard video, look no further. If you get yourself a PCI-E x1 graphics card with HDCP support (unfortunately the Galaxy card lacks along with all other cards under the 7600 class range) you're going to be ready for all that next generation movie watching from HD-DVD and Blu-ray titles.- Budget Gaming RigSo you thought to yourself, "Onboard graphics is fine for me..." Time goes on and you want to start playing some of those newer games that are being released - you don't need AA or AF, 1600 x 1200 or all high detail but you would like around 30FPS, not fantastic but playable. Not thinking that it was ever going to bother you, the motherboard for your system you purchased never had a PCI-E x16 slot.Now instead of having to go out buy a new motherboard and a new graphics card, you can hunt for a PCI-E x1 graphics card that's not going to cost a fortunate and receives a decent upgrade from that shocking integrated 3D solution.As you can see, there are plenty of uses for a PCI-E x1 graphics card, if you just think outside of the performance square for a moment. Let's move on and have a closer look at the actual card on offer today from Galaxy.
Galaxy's PCI-E x1 7300GTThe PackageSitting at the lower end of the scale we have ourselves a stylish-looking box that lists the main features of the card on the front of the box - 128MB of DDR-3 memory along with HDTV and DVI. The bottom left corner also shows us that the card is PCI-E x1 and tells us know that it supports Windows Vista along with what situations a PCI-E x1 graphics card might benefit you like we have just mentioned.
Benchmarks - Test System Setup and 3DMark05Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3150MHz (350MHz FSB 1:1)Motherboard(s): ASUS P5B Deluxe (Supplied by ASUS)Memory: 2 X 1GB G.Skill HZ PC8000 @ 350MHz 4-4-4-12 (Supplied by Bronet)Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA 2 Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2Drivers: nVidia ForceWare 93.71 and DX9cWe didn't want to focus too much time on the performance aspects of the Galaxy graphics card. Although, since we have a regular Palit 7300GT DDR-3 that utilizes the full speed x16 slot, we thought that it was a good opportunity to find out if there is actually any difference between PCI-E x1 and PCI-E x16 bus speeds. As discussed in the introduction, there is a total of 500MB/s of bandwidth (Single Data Lane - Both Directions) available on x1 slots compared to 8000MB/s of bandwidth compared to x16 slots, so the results should be interesting.It's not a perfect world, so our testing couldn't be entirely spot on. The Palit 7300GT comes with a slightly higher memory clock speed of 600MHz vs. 500MHz on the Galaxy 7300GT. It shouldn't make a huge amount of difference but it's something to keep in mind while looking at the benchmark results.We are running a cut down version of our benchmarks while still covering simulation and real-world environments. We will actually be using the same layout as the Catalyst line up minus the inclusion of our High Quality tests which utilize AA and AF. These types of tests are really too much for this level of low-end graphics cards and it's pointless including those types of tests.Let's get started now!3DMark05Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.comProduct Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/Buy It Here
Benchmarks - 3DMark063DMark06Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110Developer 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: Latest from SteamTimedemo 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 - Final ThoughtsFinal ThoughtsIt's clear that you're not going to be breaking any new 3DMark records with Galaxy's GeForce 7300GT. While we didn't want to put too much emphasis on straight out performance of the card, I expected it to perform slightly better than it did. Even though the PCI-E x16 card we were comparing against had a higher memory clock speed, we didn't expect to see so much difference in performance between both slots. Since it's been years since we have really used a motherboard with onboard graphics, we can't really give a 100% straight out answer on if it's a better option. We would think so mainly due to the fact that not only do you gain your memory back that the onboard video is using but also taking load off other parts of the system.We would really love to see a HDMI variant of the card, preferably low profile as well. This would be an absolutely killer option (and if it had these features, it would have got a higher rating and better award) for anyone wanting to build a good home theater PC with some basic gaming ability. If Galaxy doesn't do it, we hope that a manufacturer out there reading decides to as this type of market segment would really benefit from such a graphics card.In all the Galaxy GeForce 7300GT 128MB DDR-3 PCI-E x1 graphics card is a great option for those who don't have a motherboard with PCI-E x16 slots and want to add a third or even a forth monitor to their system without spending loads of cash. It's also a great option for someone who has built a low-end system or a HTPC and wants to upgrade their 3D graphics performances a little and not break the bank while doing it. There really are a number of great uses for the product that lets it be such a perfect option in a number of different environments. You just have to understand that you're not going to be playing upcoming games like Crysis at 2560 x 1600.- ProsGreat options for many categoriesSomething which finally makes full use of PCI-E x1Great onboard video upgrade option for users with no PCI-E x16 slotEasy to setup, just like a normal graphics cardAffordably add more monitors to your system- ConsSmall packageLacks HDCP supportLow profile would have been even nicerRating - 8.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award!
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