Power Consumption and Final Thoughts

Power Consumption

Looking at the power consumption on these lower-end video cards is a breath of fresh air compared to the likes of the power-starved 7950 GX2 and X1950 XTX flagship cards.

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The XFX 7900 GS and the ATI X1800 GTO use identical amounts of power in our testing, with the 7600 GT OC card from BFG pulling less than both. 

Performance

In our tests, there was really no debating that the XFX 7900 GS was the best card for the $200 price point that NVIDIA set.  The 7900 GS was able to play at resolutions of 1600×1200 and 1920×1200, and keep frame rates respectably high.  The X1800 GTO and 7600 GT couldn’t even come close on many of the tests, leaving the 7900 GS to look like it has no competition.  Of course, if we had upped the price point on this review, we could have included the ATI X1900 GT and even the 7900 GT/GTX cards that would have shown up the 7900 GS.

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For a $200 card, the 7900 GS has the best overall performance, hands down.

SLI Configurations

We can’t just run past performance without mentioning SLI.  While we didn’t get two of these cards to test with yet, based on what we know about SLI and our prior experiences with it, especially on these lower-end GPUs, SLI gains are going to be substantial.  I would fully expect to find at least a 50% gain in overall performance going from a single 7900 GS card to two of them in SLI; 75-80% gains are going to be seen in many games such as Call of Duty 2 and FEAR I am certain as well. 

This is one area where NVIDIA as a company has the advantage over ATI; their multi-GPU strategy is simply leaps and bounds beyond ATI’s CrossFire in terms of stability, support and performance.  And for a combined cost of $400, two 7900 GS cards in an SLI configuration could be a fantastic upgrade path. 

Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, we couldn’t find any 7900 GS cards for sale (which makes sense as the NDA expires 12 hours from now), but I have assurances from several card manufacturers that you will find stock cards for under the $200 mark and overclocked cards for around $220.  Compared to the ATI X1800 GTO that is priced no less than $240, the 7900 GS looks like it is going to be a bargain!  NVIDIA claims to have wide availability of these cards today and if they keep their promise, I’d imagine these cards will be selling well.

Update: We haven’t found these cards in our Pricegrabber database yet, but they are available at Newegg right now!  The XFX 7900 GS OC (that we reviewed here) is for sale for $219 – $20 MIR, totaling at $199!  Another XFX model running at stock speeds can be purchased for $179 after MIR!  There are three EVGA models available too, at varying clock speeds: 450/1320 for $199, 500/1380 for $219 and another 500/1380 for $229.

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA today announced a new mid-range card in the 7900 GS and a new enthusiast-class card in the 7950 GT.  While only the 7900 GS is available today, the XFX model that we reviewed here shows that NVIDIA is out for blood against the new ATI/AMD conglomerate.  Remember when I told you that by the end of this review you’d agree that competition is good for consumers?  The NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS is all the proof we need. 

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