NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT Video Card Review

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Brian’s Final Thoughts:

As we saw with the 7900GTX, Nvidia’s move to 90nm has afforded them quite a bit of headroom on their entire lineup. Nowhere is this more evident than with the 7900GT. It’s a great card for today?s demanding games and fits in very well at its intended price point. It’s faster than the X1800XL, which is also in the $300 range and often times it was just as fast as the X1800XT that is slightly more expensive. The 7900GT has the advantage over the X1800XL not only in performance but also in heat. The ATI card is significantly warmer and will add even more heat to the rest of your system. Although the X1800XT exhausts the heat out of the system it does so by a double slot cooler and is much louder than either the 7900 GT or 1800XL. Another advantage the 7900 GT has over either of the ATI cards is that it doesn’t require a more expensive, double slot design card to run in SLI/CrossFire. As of now the only way that the X1800XL will run in CrossFire is with the X1800XT Master card. We expect that ATI will remedy this soon but at this time it is still a huge disadvantage for them.

The final and most significant aspect of the 7900 GT is that these things overclock like crazy! Based on our testing on our reference card it was the equal in terms of performance to the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 and that says a ton. To think just two months ago the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 was selling for $899 and now we have a $299 card (NVIDIA MSRP) that can overclock to run right with it!

With the recent announcement that Windows Vista has been delayed things in the GPU world have been shaken up a bit. We can’t be sure how this has affected the timelines for ATI and Nvidia but at this point it seems that buying a new video card is a little less complicated. If you were waiting to buy the new tech video cards supporting DirectX 10 (WGF 1) it may not be worth it now and this would be a great card to purchase in the mean time until there is a use for such cards.

The final issue though comes down to availability. Two weeks ago we wrote how great it was that Nvidia had cards available all over the place, but we can’t say that at the moment. Either the 7900 series was so well received that they were bought by the truckload, or Nvidia only had enough supply to whet the appetite of the folks that had to have them in the first week. We aren’t sure what’s going on but this seems a lot like the 7800GTX 512 launch even though all of our sources say it is not. This makes our job difficult because it’s tough for us to give such a recommendation of a card that is hard to come by. Newegg currently lists eleven GeForce 7900 GT and only one is in stock when this article was printed. While we are not happy about the supply situation it is nothing like what ATI has done with their Radeon X1800 GTO.  We reviewed the ATI Radeon X1800 GTO here and put it up against the $50 less expensive GeForce 7600GT and it won many of the benchmarks.  Today we put Nvidia’s $50 more expensive card up against the Radeon X1800 GTO and found that it killed it in the vast majority of the games we tested.

As an enthusiast and over clocker I have to say that if you were planning to upgrade or building a new system I highly recommend looking long and hard at the 7900 GT. If you were thinking of spending within $75 of its asking price I would still look at the performance of this card and beg, steal, or borrow enough to purchase one. The added value that the 100MHz + overclock gives can’t be matched anywhere. A pair of these overclocked in SLI is an enthusiast?s dream of bang for the buck.

If you aren’t comfortable overclocking your new video card several board partners like XFX offer several different versions of the 7900 GT already overclocked for you, with a full warranty at that. They are priced differently based on the level of overclock but it’s piece of mind and guarantees you a certain level of performance.

The GeForce 7900 GT is a card that is ideal for enthusiasts and gamers. While Nvidia lists the MSRP on these cards at $299 many are going for $309-$349 due to the strong demand for the cards.  We do expect the prices to drop and when it does it will be at a price most can afford! What will make the prices drop faster?  ATI needs to bring their missing Radeon X1800 GTO out!  Nvidia came to play ball, but can’t do it when the other team doesn’t show up to the field.

TheLegit Bottom line: The 7900 GT is the leader of performance in its price segment. We just can’t say enough about how good this card really is. Sold? We are!

Nvidia 7900 GT Editor's Choice Award

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