Feeds
85%
MSI_7900GT_tiny

MSI GeForce 7900 GT card

NX7900GT-T2D256E, to be precise

High performance access to file storage

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.