Just recently, I took a look at the Inno3D GeForce 7300 GT and compared it to ATI’s Radeon X1300. The Inno3D card was actually a non-standard card with faster DDR3 memory and a higher core speed. This slightly skewed the comparison and I didn’t want everyone to run out and unwittingly buy a standard 7300 GT and then be disappointed with the performance, due to the slower DDR2 memory. Don’t get me wrong, the Inno3D card is absolutely amazing value for money and is still my choice card, but I felt the comparison was incomplete without a comparison to a standard 7300 GT.
As it happens, we were able to obtain a pair of standard clocked eVGA GeForce 7300 GTs, which serve to make a perfect comparison.
The card comes with a 350MHz core and 333.5MHz(667 effective) DDR2 memory. This is really quite a low spec over the 500MHz core and 700 (1,400MHz effective) DDR3 memory of the Inno3D card and as a result I expect to see some significant performance drops.
The cooler is very different from the standard GeForce 7600 GT cooler, which is made of copper. This is smaller and made of aluminium. It’s quite a bit quieter than the GeForce 7600 GT cooler, so it’s nice to see it isn’t a change for the sake of change.
Just like the Inno3D, this card uses the same PCB as the 7600 cards and also supports SLI. For some reason, there was a sticker over the SLI pins that suggested it needed the 90 series of drivers in order to work in SLI. Previously, I was using modified 84.21 drivers without a problem, but with these cards it would just give me a black screen when trying to run SLI – strange to say the least.
Just to recap my last review, this card is based on the G73 core, which is the same as used in the 7600 GS and 7600 GT. The difference is that one of the quads is disabled giving a total of eight pixel shaders and four vertex shaders. The most important point is there are still eight pixel output engines.
As this is an eVGA card, it comes with a lifetime warranty as well as the “Step-Up” program, where you can pay the difference to upgrade this card to a better model, up to 90 days after purchase date.
The bundle is minimal, with a DVI to D-Sub adapter, a ViVo breakout cable and an S-Video cable. This is usually the case with low-end cards.
I was able to overclock this card quite well – relatively speaking. An increase from 350MHz core to 570MHz and an increase of 333.5MHz memory to 440MHz (880MHz effective). As you can see in our performance results later, this gave a significant performance increase.
The nVidia cards were tested on an Asus A8N32-SLI using an Athlon 64 FX-60, 2GB of CMX1024-3500LLPRO RAM and a Seagate Barracuda ST340083A8 hard disk. Power was supplied by a Tagan 900W TG900-U95. For ATI testing, everything was kept the same except for the use of an Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe and an Etasis 850W ET850.
All of the nVidia cards were tested using the WHQL 84.21 ForceWare drivers, except for the eVGA 7300 GTs in SLI, which was using the 94.31 driver. Although the 7300 GT is not officially supported by this driver, I modified the INF file to support the new card. I don’t like to use beta drivers if I can get away with it and as this was not a new architecture there was no reason why I shouldn’t use WHQL drivers instead. The X1300 was tested using the official Catalyst 6.5 drivers.
Using our proprietary automated benchmarking suite, aptly dubbed ‘SpodeMark 3D’, I ran Call of Duty 2, Counter Strike: Source, Quake 4, Battlefield 2 and 3DMark 06. Bar 3DMark06, these all run 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. As these are low-end cards, I ran at slightly different resolutions. I ran each game test at 1,024 x 768, 1,280 x 1,024, 1,600 x 1,200 each at 0x FSAA with trilinear filtering, 2x FSAA with 4x AF and 4x FSAA with 8x AF.
In our performance graphs, I have included results from the Inno3D 7300 GT and the Sapphire X1300.
The difference between this 7300 GT and the Inno3D 7300 GT was huge – on average the Inno3D is 55 per cent faster. Even with two cards in SLI, it couldn’t quite match the performance of a single Inno3D card.
When overclocked, the performance gap was bridged considerably, but naturally still behind the Inno3D due to the lower clock speeds. It was interesting to see that most of the performance hit was from the core speed being too low, and not from memory bandwidth. Most G73 cores should be able to do 500MHz+, so bare this in mind.
The X1300 took quite a pasting when compared to the Inno3D 7300 GT and things don’t look that much better compared to the DDR2 eVGA version. On average the eVGA 7300 GT was 91 per cent faster than the Sapphire X1300. For comparison, the Inno3D 7300 GT was on average 200 per cent than the X1300 and 50 per cent faster than the eVGA 7300 GT.
At these lower clock speeds, the eVGA DDR2 7300 GT is still faster than the Sapphire Radeon X1300. Although there are DDR2 7300 GT cards by other brands available at around £45 (i.e cheaper than the Sapphire X1300), this particular card is pitched at around the same price as the previously reviewed DDR3 7300 GT – between 60 and 70 pounds. Although the eVGA comes with a lifetime warranty and the “Step-Up” program, I’d still sooner have the extra performance of the Inno3D card.
Score in detail
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