Feeds
85%
MSI_7900GT_tiny

MSI GeForce 7900 GT card

NX7900GT-T2D256E, to be precise

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

First UK Review It has now been a few days since Nvidia announced its latest range of graphics cards and stocks are already running low at most retailers. In Nvidia's defence, there were cards available to buy from day one, although some online retailers charged a fair amount extra for the cards. The first board to arrive at Reg Hardware's office is MSI's not-so-snazzily named NX7900GT-T2D256E, based on the GeForce 7900 GT GPU...

MSI_7900GT_3d

Let's start by taking a look at what has changed from the 7800 series to the 7900 series. The least noticeable change - but an important improvement nonetheless - is that 7900-class GPUs are manufactured using a 90nm process. This results in cooler-running chips that draw less power, which in turn means that they can be clocked faster. It also means that there's no need for big noisy coolers, as ATI has found out with the X1900 series which can get very noisy.

Amazingly, the transistor count has been lowered as well, from 302m to 278m. That's not what you'd expect - normally the transistor count goes up in a new and faster part. For the 7900 GT, the stock clock speeds have increased quite substantially. The core has been bumped up from 400MHz to 450MHz - the same as most 7800 GTX retail cards. The vertex engine is running even faster: 470MHz, compared to the 7800 GT's 440MHz. Memory speeds have also been increased, from an effective 1GHz to 1.32GHz, which is also a fair speed increase.

The improvements don't stop there. Nvidia has increased the number of pixel shaders from 20 to 24, and the vertex shader count has been increased from seven to eight. This puts the 7900 GT ahead of the 256MB 7800 GTX, something that is likely to upset a lot of 7800 GTX buyers as the 7900 GT is rather cheaper.

The rest of the 7900 GT specs are much the same as those of the 7800 series, and I won't bore you with all the details. However, Nvidia is touting the 7900 series as having been designed for what it calls XHD - Extreme High Definition - gaming. I have to say that I'm not quite following Nvidia's reasoning here. Although the 7900 GT is more than able to run games at high resolutions, most affordable TFT screens - read that as 17 and 19in models - are limited to 1,280 x 1,024 resolution. Sure, you can get high-resolution widescreen displays cheaper than ever, but the quoted price of sub-$400 for a 1,680 x 1,050 display might be true in the US, but you can't find them for that on this side of the pond.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?