Back at the beginning of September, nVidia launched the 7900 GS and 7950 GT. Although I covered this in a news story, it's only now that I have managed to take a look at the 7900 GS. With the ATI X1950 Pro launched today, and G80 just around the corner, I felt I couldn't really review the former without first looking at this card first.
The 7900 GS card I was sent came courtesy of Inno3D. Inno3D has really impressed me recently with it's great pricing and balanced products. Its 7300 GT has definitely stuck in my mind, because of its amazing price and performance balance.
The 7900 GS is exactly the same as a 7900 GT with a couple of minor tweaks. The PCB hasn't changed one iota, and the chip is still the same (G71). However, it has been crippled somewhat, no longer having the full 24 pipelines, instead making do with only 20. By disabling this quad, we also see a drop from eight to seven vertex shaders. Clock speeds are the same as current 7900 GT cards with a 450MHz core and 256MB of 660MHz (1320MHz effective) memory.
There is nothing new in the underlying technology, and it still can't do full precision HDR and FSAA simultaneously. However, this reduction in pipelines means that a lot of the chips that didn't quite make the 7900 GT/GTX cut will be usable, helping drive the price down. At the moment, this card will cost you £118.99 from Dabs, which is amazing value for money.
The bundle with this card is pretty minimalistic, with an S-video cable, component output cable, molex to PCI-Express converter and a DVI to D-SUB adapter.
This particular card came with a Zalman cooler attached as standard. This is something you have to pay extra for, and we haven't found it in stock anywhere yet. However, the cooler is excellent – being very similar to the recently reviewed VF700 but in aluminium rather than copper.