XFX 7900 GTX XXX Edition Video Card Review

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The XFX GeForce 7900 GTX

Taking the XFX GeForce 7900 GTX out of the box we noticed it looks nearly identical to our GeForce 7800 GTX 512 with the exception of the sticker on the cooling fan.  Other than a couple capacitors and transistors on the PCB being different the 7800 and 7900 series of cards are hard to tell apart.

The XFX nVidia 7900GTX Retail Box

The XFX 7900 GTX retains the reference heatpipe heat sink and PCB color. Taking off the heat sink we found the core had a nice coating of thermal compound applied and each memory IC had thermal tape on them.  The cooler on the XFX 7900 GTX card  did a great job of keeping the card cool and it actually runs quietly. Load temps seldom went over 52 Celcius on our test system with idle temps sitting in the mid-high 30′s.

The nVidia 7900GTX Naked

With the cooling solution removed one can see how truly small the 196mm squared core is on the card. The NVIDIA G71 core is roughly the same size as the Samsung GDDR3 memory IC’s used on the card. The XFX 7900 GTX has 512MB of RAM clocked at 1.8 GHz (reference was 1.6GHz). With the die shrink XFX has been able to overclock the core clock to 700MHz, up 150 MHz from the 7800GTX 512, and 270 MHz from the 7800GTX 256. Memory clocks are actually up 100 MHz to 1.8GHz from 1.7 GHz found on the GTX 512.

The nVidia G71 Core

Taking a closer look at the core (see the image above) we find that it is an A2 revision of silicon made on the sixth week of 2006.  The core on out test card is not even one month old! 

The nVidia G71 Core

Pictured above is our 7900GTX and as you can tell it is a dual-slot design with dual dual-link DVI connectors. The 7900 GT has a single slot cooling solution, but still offers a dual dual-link DVI connector. Note the new 7-pin HDTV-out mini-din connector. With the 7-pin HDTV-out mini-din, a user can plug an S-video cable directly into the connector, or use a dongle for YPrPb (component) or composite outputs. Our prior 9-pin HDTV-out mini-din connector required a dongle to use S-video, YPrPb, and composite outputs. This is something we have wanted for a long time and it has finally arrived. Kudos to NVIDIA for taking the time to upgrade the mini-din connector.

The XFX nVidia 7900GTX Dual-Link DVI

We thought it would be fun to see our 7900GTX naked, so we stripped down all the heat sinks and took some photos.  The 7900 GTX requires the 6-pin PCI Express power header still as seen above.  

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