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Old Jun 20, 2006, 04:21 PM   #1
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Ratchet
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Rage3D GeForce 7950 GX2 Review

We've just published our review of NVIDIA's new flagship 7950 GX2 graphics card. Check it out here.
The real kick in the pants, however, is that the 7950 GX2 is fully capable of running in SLI with another 7950 GX2. Putting two of them together in a single system gives you what NVIDIA calls Quad SLI, and with four GPUs running at the same time I can’t think of a more appropriate name for it. Some might not agree to look at Quad SLI specs the way NVIDIA does, or even the 7950 GX2 specs for that matter, but just for fun think about a graphics sub-system that has 96 pixel pipes, 32 vertex shaders, and provides 154 GB/s of memory bandwidth over a total of 2GB of graphics memory. If specs made people cool, Quad SLI would turn Steve Urkel into Steve McQueen.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 04:38 PM   #2
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What was the rational to not comparing this card to the SLI and CF version of the other two cards? In reality, its just two cards slapped together isn't it?
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 05:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDwoods[TeamATi]
What was the rational to not comparing this card to the SLI and CF version of the other two cards? In reality, its just two cards slapped together isn't it?
Well, you can't buy half a 7950 GX2 and you can't take it apart and have two graphics cards on your hands, so I don't think you can look at it as "two cards slapped together". It's one SKU, a single product. That's how I think it should be looked at, and that's how I compared it. It's a single 7950 GX2 compared to a single 7900 GTX and a single X1900 XTX.

If I was going to use two 7900 GTXs and two X1900s then I'd have to get another GX2 to make it fair.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 05:20 PM   #4
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OK good point. I guess I was thinking of it from a different perspective.

Great review anyway. I just wondered why you decided to go the way you did.

Thanks for your response.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 05:26 PM   #5
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Sure thing, thanks for your feedback.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 05:36 PM   #6
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Ratchet, awesome review. I enjoyed reading that.

I still would like to get one of these guys. I however think I would have to sell off the 7800GTXKO to do so however.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 05:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
Well, you can't buy half a 7950 GX2 and you can't take it apart and have two graphics cards on your hands, so I don't think you can look at it as "two cards slapped together". It's one SKU, a single product. That's how I think it should be looked at, and that's how I compared it. It's a single 7950 GX2 compared to a single 7900 GTX and a single X1900 XTX.

If I was going to use two 7900 GTXs and two X1900s then I'd have to get another GX2 to make it fair.
I don't agree, If NV calls 2xGX2 Quad SLI (quad because of the 4 cores) then one GX2 should be SLI (because you have two cores), and in fact it's SLI.

And It would've been great to include a X1900XTX Crossfire and a 7900GTX SLI setup to compare it against GX2. Why? Beacause maybe it's better to pay a little more and have a system with two powerful cores that performs better than two weak cores (GX2 cores) and *maybe* you get better price/performance ratio... and that's what the users that read video cards reviews care about.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 06:01 PM   #8
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Good review but I would have liked to see it compared to an SLI Nvidia system and a Crossfire ATI system.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 06:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monrad
I don't agree, If NV calls 2xGX2 Quad SLI (quad because of the 4 cores) then one GX2 should be SLI (because you have two cores), and in fact it's SLI.

*snip*
WTF?!

You dont agree that it cant be taken apart?

Its a single card solution, plugs into a single slot, technically making it a single card. Dual cores have been put onto a single PCB before, and those (even tho operating as SLI internally) were considered a single card solution.

I mean, I see what you are saying, but broken down (as Ratchet has explained) its not a "dual card" solution.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 06:10 PM   #10
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Heh, that kind of thinking would be almost like saying "A Voodoo 5 5500 isn't really one card, and it should be compared to 2 x GeForce 2's."

GX2... one slot, $600. X1900 XT + X1900 CrossFire, approx $950 to $1000.

Now, throwing a wrench into things, GX2 vs. 7900 GT SLI... that would be more appropriate, as the grand price equals each other pretty nicely. Still... if you had $600 to spend, would you go for dual GT's or go with a single GX2? I think personally I would gravitate to the GX2.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monrad
I don't agree, If NV calls 2xGX2 Quad SLI (quad because of the 4 cores) then one GX2 should be SLI (because you have two cores), and in fact it's SLI.

And It would've been great to include a X1900XTX Crossfire and a 7900GTX SLI setup to compare it against GX2. Why? Beacause maybe it's better to pay a little more and have a system with two powerful cores that performs better than two weak cores (GX2 cores) and *maybe* you get better price/performance ratio... and that's what the users that read video cards reviews care about.
If NVIDIA called it Octo-Super SLI To The Power of 10 Mega-Pak and it had 128 PCBs and 128 GPUs and a 1TB of ram on each board, it would still be a single card, sold as a single card SKU, and priced like a single high-end card.

How is it fair to compare a single $550-600 card to two other cards that would cost something like $300-350 more?

If I had a couple X1900GT cards or a couple of 7900 GT cards that go for about $250-300 then comparing those in Crossfire/SLI to the 7950 GX2 would be an interesting and fair comparison, but I don't have even one of those cards, let alone two.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 07:10 PM   #12
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ratchet great review as usual. i was wondering if you were able to see the difference in AF quality between the x1900xtx and the 7950gx2.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 07:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave
ratchet great review as usual. i was wondering if you were able to see the difference in AF quality between the x1900xtx and the 7950gx2.
In GT Legends the mipmap boundary line was fairly obvious, but it was the same for the GX2 as it was on the 7900 GTX (which is unsurprising). It did look better on the X1900 XTX in that case. I didn't notice anything noteworthy in any of the other games.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 08:16 PM   #14
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A quad-GPU setup may sound interesting, but using the term multi-core is incorrect. It's a dual-GPU card with the ability to go to a quad-GPU configuration.

Now, a true dual-core would mean you have two GPU cores on one GPU chip. If you think about it, ATI could easily come back with something similar with a minimum of effort. If ATI were to release a true dual-core GPU(similar to what AMD and then Intel put together), THEN you would have a true jump in technology.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 08:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Targon
A quad-GPU setup may sound interesting, but using the term multi-core is incorrect. It's a dual-GPU card with the ability to go to a quad-GPU configuration.

Now, a true dual-core would mean you have two GPU cores on one GPU chip. If you think about it, ATI could easily come back with something similar with a minimum of effort. If ATI were to release a true dual-core GPU(similar to what AMD and then Intel put together), THEN you would have a true jump in technology.
Hrm, did I use the phrase multi-core anywhere? If I did I will correct it.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 08:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave
ratchet great review as usual. i was wondering if you were able to see the difference in AF quality between the x1900xtx and the 7950gx2.
Ratchet, you are wonderful. I really mean that. Great review. Great job with the forums, great job! Thank you.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 08:46 PM   #17
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I don't understand why x16 filtering is not offered in BattleField 2. Sorry for my ignorance!
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 08:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SIrPauly
I don't understand why x16 filtering is not offered in BattleField 2. Sorry for my ignorance!
It's not supported in the game. The texture filtering slider in BF2, when set to maximum, equals only 4x AF (apparently), so in essence the results are shown as No AA / 4x AF and 4x AA / 4x AF
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 09:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropy were applied in the game engine where the options existed. For games that did not support those options natively, the graphics card control panel was used.
Couldn't of you forced the x16 filtering from the control panel?
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 09:14 PM   #20
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I still say its two cards... Its two seperate pcb's with one connector to the motherboard.

So its a main board and a daughter board...

I call shens... besides if you wanted to be fair you'd bench it against 2 7900GT's since thats what it really is.

But let us bow down to the mighty Nv and take the single connector dual card, all powerful 7900GT's in SLI as the fastest card on the planet. Can you say desperation! I know I can...
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 09:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamefoo21
I still say its two cards... Its two seperate pcb's with one connector to the motherboard.

So its a main board and a daughter board...

I call shens... besides if you wanted to be fair you'd bench it against 2 7900GT's since thats what it really is.

But let us bow down to the mighty Nv and take the single connector dual card, all powerful 7900GT's in SLI as the fastest card on the planet. Can you say desperation! I know I can...
If they were desperate, they would have put some XFX something or another 7900 quadruple XTX super OC editions together in SLI on a single card.

*ahem*

This solution I see as perfectly acceptable in performance and price range. Much better price than say two 7900GTXs for SLI and with driver improvments, shows to be quite the performer.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 09:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VW_Factor
WTF?!

You dont agree that it cant be taken apart?

Its a single card solution, plugs into a single slot, technically making it a single card. Dual cores have been put onto a single PCB before, and those (even tho operating as SLI internally) were considered a single card solution.

I mean, I see what you are saying, but broken down (as Ratchet has explained) its not a "dual card" solution.
It's not a dual card solution but it's still SLI. It doesn't mind if you only use one slot. GX2 is two cards together working the same way a SLI setup works... so... it's a """"""""""""""dual card""""""""""""""" solution.

And if it's a "single card" like most of you think, explain to me why you can't use it in SLI mode? Well, the answer is there, you can't because you need to write new drivers to support up to 4 cards at the same time, SLI is being used with a single GX2 video card, how's that?

Finally... a Crossfire of X1900XTX is much faster than a single GX2. If you want to compare a Crossfire solution to a GX2 setup, you need to use something inferior to a Crossfire of X1900XTX. Now, do the benchmarks, calculate both prices and see what's better.

Look here and here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
If NVIDIA called it Octo-Super SLI To The Power of 10 Mega-Pak and it had 128 PCBs and 128 GPUs and a 1TB of ram on each board, it would still be a single card, sold as a single card SKU, and priced like a single high-end card.
Nope, those are two cards working with a single slot, it's not a "one card" solution. Suppose that ATI release one single product that bundles two X1900GT inside a box, would you call it "one card" or "one product" solution? No, we are not going to follow ATI's marketing department, those are two cards in a single box. It's a similar situation with the only difference that NV eliminated the need to plug in the second card and they plugged it into the first card instead of a PCI Express slot.

Quote:
How is it fair to compare a single $550-600 card to two other cards that would cost something like $300-350 more?
Something that costs 300-350 more performs much better. You can compare it using a price/performance ratio, you can have a winner there too.

Quote:
If I had a couple X1900GT cards or a couple of 7900 GT cards that go for about $250-300 then comparing those in Crossfire/SLI to the 7950 GX2 would be an interesting and fair comparison, but I don't have even one of those cards, let alone two.
Well, that's not my problem I only pointed out what would've been better.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 10:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monrad
It's not a dual card solution but it's still SLI. It doesn't mind if you only use one slot. GX2 is two cards together working the same way a SLI setup works... so... it's a """"""""""""""dual card""""""""""""""" solution.

And if it's a "single card" like most of you think, explain to me why you can't use it in SLI mode? Well, the answer is there, you can't because you need to write new drivers to support up to 4 cards at the same time, SLI is being used with a single GX2 video card, how's that?

Finally... a Crossfire of X1900XTX is much faster than a single GX2. If you want to compare a Crossfire solution to a GX2 setup, you need to use something inferior to a Crossfire of X1900XTX. Now, do the benchmarks, calculate both prices and see what's better.

Look here and here.



Nope, those are two cards working with a single slot, it's not a "one card" solution. Suppose that ATI release one single product that bundles two X1900GT inside a box, would you call it "one card" or "one product" solution? No, we are not going to follow ATI's marketing department, those are two cards in a single box. It's a similar situation with the only difference that NV eliminated the need to plug in the second card and they plugged it into the first card instead of a PCI Express slot.



Something that costs 300-350 more performs much better. You can compare it using a price/performance ratio, you can have a winner there too.



Well, that's not my problem I only pointed out what would've been better.
That's the most illogical post I think I've read here all year. Exactly what is your argument? That a $900 setup would be faster than a $600 7950 GX2? I don't think anyone argued against that. Or are you arguing against the "card" idea, in that you equate a "card" to a PCB? In that case then yes, it's obviously dual "card", but I know for me at least when I say "card" I mean SKU, as in the entire product irregardless of how many PCBs it has.

Irregardless, comparing a $900 graphics subsystem to one that costs $600 isn't exactly fair, and as I said I don't have a 7900 GT or X1900GT to compare with, so you can't fault me for not using those.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 10:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
That's the most illogical post I think I've read here all year. Exactly what is your argument? That a $900 setup would be faster than a $600 7950 GX2? I don't think anyone argued against that.

Comparing a $900 graphics subsystem to one that costs $600 isn't exactly fair though, is it?
If it's illogical for you maybe it's because you don't understand my point which doesn't make my point illogical

Summary of what I said: You are comparing a dual card solution against a single card solution.

Enough said.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 10:30 PM   #25
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If it was a dual-card solution then, logically, you should be able to take it apart and end up with two graphics cards on your hands. Clearly you can't do that, so it clearly cannot be considered a "dual-card" setup.

Dual PCB yes, but wtf are you going to do with a PCB that doesn't even have a connector on it or another that doesn't even have a display output? How can you possibly consider that two graphics cards?
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 10:57 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
If it was a dual-card solution then, logically, you should be able to take it apart and end up with two graphics cards on your hands. Clearly you can't do that, so it clearly cannot be considered a "dual-card" setup.

Dual PCB yes, but wtf are you going to do with a PCB that doesn't even have a connector on it or another that doesn't even have a display output? How can you possibly consider that two graphics cards?
If it was a single card solution, then you wouldn't need SLI drivers. I know you won't agree with me, but I don't care, GX2 is still a stealth dual card solution. NV wanted people to call it a "single card" solution and it seems that they succeeded.
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 11:06 PM   #27
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Do you consider the Gigabyte 3D1 a dual-card solution? It needs SLI to work as well, but how can this be dual-card?



or what about this, it uses Crossfire to link the two GPUs... dual-card? Single card, surely.

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Old Jun 20, 2006, 11:09 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
Do you consider the Gigabyte 3D1 a dual-card solution? It needs SLI to work as well, but how can this be dual-card?

That is what I tried bringing up eariler. Its obviously not a dual card solution. However.. There are some people.......
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 11:29 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratchet
Do you consider the Gigabyte 3D1 a dual-card solution? It needs SLI to work as well, but how can this be dual-card?



or what about this, it uses Crossfire to link the two GPUs... dual-card? Single card, surely.

That's because Gigabyte and HIS went the easy way to make both cores work as a single core. Believe me, there are better ways to do that: working @ hardware level and not letting the driver (software level) balance the load of each GPU. They are still adding cores without using knowledge to make both cores work better.

But again... those pictures show ONE PCB video card and it's not the same product we are discussing here, a supposed single card with TWO PCBs and ONE CORE in EACH PCB. Can that monster be called a single card solution? Sry... but no, the monster should be called: "two dwarfs wearing the same clothes to simulate being taller/bigger or whatever you want to call it".

And final question: if those are single card solutions, that means that I can buy two of them and use them in SLI or Crossfire mode... oops I cant!
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I guess he didn't realize that knowledge is needed in order to "figure out how to collect"
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Old Jun 20, 2006, 11:40 PM   #30
SIrPauly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monrad
If it was a single card solution, then you wouldn't need SLI drivers.
A card can offer more than one chip! You're trying to blanket single card solutions as only one chip.

I define a single card solution by one PCI express adapter!

It may not be apples-to-apples to compare a one chip/single card solution to a Sli/single card solution. However, it's fair game to compare the fastest performing single card solutions available, imho.
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