I would like to say I was extremely impressed with the 7950 GX2 and all that it offers, and in most cases I am. It’s undeniably fast. It can tear through games at an unprecedented clip, even making a bottleneck out a FX-60 CPU in many cases. High resolutions and settings are what this card loves, and it makes things like Anti-Aliasing something that you can leave on and forget about.
It’s also quiet, which is surprising for a card with two fans. Even under load with the fans spinning up the thing is about as quiet as a church mouse.
Overclocking was also extremely impressive. Anytime you hit the limits on an overclocking tool, without even really trying, you know you’re onto something good (makes you wonder why the thing wasn’t clocked even higher than it is, really).
Unfortunately, NVIDIA still needs to do a little work on the drivers. I did experience some crashing during various games at random intervals, even after I changed from the 91.29 betas that were provided to reviews to the newer public 91.31 betas.
I also experienced a few performance anomalies which are noticeable in F.E.A.R. with AA enabled and, to a lesser extent, with Battlefield 2 benchmarking. There were some other cases where I had to struggle with the drivers--uninstalling, cleaning, and reinstalling--to get accurate results as well. In contrast, the 7900 GTX and X1900 XTX testing procedures went smooth.
The GX2 is unquestionably the fastest card currently available. There’s no other single card out there that can touch it. It makes me wonder though: why does this thing even exist? NVIDIA’s own 7900 GTX was and still is an extremely impressive part and easily a match for ATI’s X1900 XTX flagship, so it’s not like NVIDIA was desperately playing catch up. The GX2 doesn’t introduce DX10 capabilities, or HDR+AA, or even angle-independent filtering. In fact, it offers no new features over the 7900 GTX at all. Was the GX2 a design challenge, an opportunity maybe for NVIDIA engineers to get their feet wet with a multi-GPU SKU? Or, more likely, was it designed simply to lay claim to the Speed crown, bragging rights that marketing departments hold so dear and that allow them to sell so many cards? It certainly seems that way, and if speed and the great FPS counter is what you are primarily interested in, the GX2 definitely delivers. If next gen features and image quality are what you’re looking for then there’s still some waiting to do as the 7950 GX2 doesn’t deliver anything in that department.
Ultimately, what we have here is the world’s fastest single graphics card. There is no debate, no argument, and no other choice if what you want is framerate.
- Undeniably the fastest card available
- Very quiet
- Great overclocker
- Doesn’t require an SLI, or even an NVIDIA, motherboard
- Two PCBs gets you chicks (or so I’ve heard)
- No new feature introduced
- Performance anomalies during testing in some games
- Some stability problems during testing
- Motherboards may need a BIOS update
- Same disadvantages as a traditional multi-card SLI setup
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