The New GeForce 7900 GPUs
On March 9th, 2006, NVIDIA launched three new GeForce 7 series GPUs. Two of these GPUs are their new flagship cards - the GeForce 7900 GTX and the GeForce 7900 GT!
These new GPUs will feature a 90nm process technology, a framebuffer of up to 512MB, and support for resolutions of up to 2560x1600. They are, however, not the first NVIDIA GPU to feature the smaller 90nm process technology. That honour goes to the humble GeForce 7300 GS.
But these two new cards will replace the GeForce 7800 GTX and 7800 GT as NVIDIA's top graphics cards. Not only are they faster, they are also smaller, cooler and use less power!
Of course, that's not all that's new in these GPUs. Are they merely die-shrinked versions of the GeForce 7800 GPUs? Did NVIDIA add anything new into the die? Let's find out!
The GeForce 7900 GTX
The GeForce 7900 GTX is NVIDIA's new leading-edge GPU. Targeted at the ATI Radeon X1900 XTX and X1900 XT, the GeForce 7900 GTX will boast a lower target price range of USD 499 to USD 649.
The GeForce 7900 GTX is not a mere die-shrink of the GeForce 7800 GTX. NVIDIA was quite clear about that. In fact, it has fewer transistors at 278 million transistors. Take a look at its basic specifications :
|Number of Transistors||
24 Pixel Pipelines
16 ROPs - 16 colour, 16 blend
15.6 Gigapixels / sec.
4-way 64-bits memory interface
512 MB GDDR3
1.6 GHz DDR
8 Vertex Units
1400 million vertices / sec.
|Shader Model Version||
|NVIDIA IntelliSample Technology||
|NVIDIA SLI Technology||
|NVIDIA Quad SLI Technology||
|NVIDIA TurboCache Technology||
|64-bit Texture Filtering and Blending||
Two dual-linked DVI,
both integrated into the GPU
The GeForce 7900 GTX will also support Quad SLI. But while Dell demonstrated the Quad SLI concept with a pair of GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB cards, Quad SLI solutions will henceforth use only GeForce 7900 GTX-based cards.
Unfortunately, Quad SLI will not be available for retail sale. Instead, it will be made available only from system integrators like Dell and Alienware. However, NVIDIA did not preclude the availability of retail Quad SLI cards in the future.
For all the fuss and interest in Quad SLI, it is important to note that Quad SLI is really not for most users, even hardcore gamers. Unless you have a super-large 30" LCD display that supports the extremely high-definition resolution of 2560x1600 that NVIDIA has been touting, Quad SLI is really pointless. Hence, it makes sense for NVIDIA to push Quad SLI through system integrators.
Here's what the NVIDIA reference card looks like. As you can see, it uses a massive heatpiped aluminium cooler. There's no sign of any memory chips at the back, so evidently all memory chips were placed in the front.
As you can see, it's a dual slot solution. The lower part of the bracket houses a single HDTV-out connector and two DVI ports while the upper part has exhaust vents for the cooler.