MSI GeForce 7900 GT card
NX7900GT-T2D256E, to be precise
Let's take a closer look at the NX7900GT-T2D256E and what's on offer from MSI. The card itself is 3cm shorter than a 7800 GT board, which is a good thing as it will fit more easily into small cases and small form-factor systems. I'm not at all keen on the new cooler - it looks like something from a previous generation mid-range card - as it has a fairly small fan that produces far too much noise. The memory chips aren't cooled by the heatsink, but this shouldn't be an issue as the GDDR 3 memory modules don't get all that hot even after hours of usage.
It's clear that the NX7900GT-T2D256E is a reference card, so hopefully MSI will change the cooler once it brings out its own design for something a bit quieter. There are two DVI and a TV-out connectors. MSI supplies a dongle that provides composite S-Video and component video out, as well as an S-Video cable. Two DVI to D-sub adaptors are also part of the package as well as a power adaptor if your PSU doesn't feature a six-pin PCI Express graphics card power connector.
MSI hasn't included a whole lot of software - all you get is a copy of GT Legends and CyberLink PowerCinema.
The NX7900GT-T2D256E's core is clocked at 440MHz and its memory at an effective 1.32GHz, so we're talking stock speeds here. Rather than selling an overclocked card MSI supplies its own drivers which feature Dynamic Overclocking Technology (DOT). This allows you to set one of six different levels of automatic overclocking for the card, depending on how high the load is. The top level is ten per cent which might not sound like a lot, but it would result in an extra 44MHz on the core and 132MHz on the memory, which isn't a bad boost.
I tested the NX7900GT-T2D256E on an MSI K8N SLI motherboard with 1GB of Crucial Ballistix DDR400 memory, an AMD Athlon FX-60 CPU and a Western Digital SATA hard drive. The benchmark numbers are quite impressive, but this is not a top-of-the-range card, so there are much faster products available. Still, the 7900 GT isn't a bad performer by any means as long as you pay the manufacturer's retail price or less, rather than the inflated prices that some companies feel it's fit to charge for new graphics cards.