To test I used our standard selection of benchmarks in our reference Intel 975XBX “Bad Axe” motherboard, with an Intel X6800 Core 2 Duo, coupled with 2GB of Corsair CMX1024-6400C4 running at 800MHz with latency settings of 4-4-4-12.
The GeForce 7600 GT has been king of the mainstream market ever since its release, back in March, when it took over from the previous midrange king, the 6600 GT – yes, nVidia really has been that dominant in this segment. However, ATI’s new X1650 XT is reputed to give the 7600 GT some genuine competition and we will be putting it through its paces as soon as we get one in.
In the mean time, I've recalled the stock 7600 GT results from our nVidia 7600 GT vs ATI X1800 GTO article to compare to today's results. I've also included results for the X1950 Pro and 7900 GS to see how this overclocked midrange card compares to the cut down high-end cards which are around £20 - £50 more. These results were taken using a different test bed than we use now – based on an Athlon 64 X2 FX60 rather than today's X6800 Core 2 Duo – but scores should still be comparable.
I ran Call of Duty 2, Counter Strike: Source, Quake 4, Battlefield 2 and 3DMark06. Bar 3DMark06, these all ran using our in-house pre-recorded timedemos in the most intense sections of each game I could find. Each setting is run three times and the average is taken, for reproducible and accurate results. I ran each game test at 1,280 x 1,024, 1,600 x 1,200 and 2,048 x 1,536 each at 0x FSAA with trilinear filtering, 2x FSAA with 4x AF and 4x FSAA with 8x AF.
On average the Fatal1ty card is 18 per cent faster than stock ,which almost exactly corresponds with the overclock percentage, as you would expect. Results are also very even across the board, reflecting the fact that the underlying technology is identical. The overclock really shows its worth when compared to the more expensive 7900 GS and X1950 Pro where, even though results are more mixed, the Fatal1ty still holds its own. All of which would suggest this card is cracking value. However, it's always worth remembering that the 7xxx series of cards don't support HDR and FSAA simultaneously and still have poor quality texture filtering compared to ATI’s cards. So, if either of these issues is a concern, this may not be the card for you. If you are not adamant about getting a silent card then for an extra £25 an ATI X1950 Pro would be a very worthwhile investment.
Also, with DirectX 10 upon us, the longevity of this card is inherently limited.
If you’re in the market specifically for a silent card but your budget can only stretch to the mid-range then this card has a lot going for it. The overclock from this Fatal1ty version provides a noticeable and worthwhile boost that’s worth paying for and the card will also look great should you have a window in your PC.