Snip: Nvidia’s 7900 series is arguably the most attractive high-end graphics option for PC enthusiasts. With great gaming performance, low power consumption, mature multi-GPU rendering via SLI, and lower power consumption than ATI’s Radeon X1900 GPU, the green team’s G71 graphics processor has a lot going for it. What it doesn’t have, however, is an NVIDIA-built graphics card to call home. Unlike ATI, NVIDIA relies exclusively on board partners to build graphics cards based on its latest GPUs. Fortunately, those partners have become increasingly adept at differentiating their offerings, giving prospective buyers additional options beyond the graphics chip.
Although partner cards share the same GPU and basic board design, manufacturers are free to play around with bundled software and extras, coolers, clock speeds, and of course, pricing. Factory "overclocking" has become particularly popular of late, with some manufacturers increasing core and memory clock speeds by as much as 25% beyond "default" speeds?a margin that can have more than just a modest impact on performance. Higher clock speeds don’t always come cheap, of course, but they can go a long way toward making a card stand out. So can a great game bundle, a quieter cooler, or a lifetime warranty.
To get an idea of how different board manufacturers are approaching NVIDIA’s GeForce 7900 series, we’ve rounded up a collection of cards from Asus, Biostar, BFG, and XFX. Read on to find out which offers the best performance, extras, and overall value.
Full review @ Tech Report