Wednesday, June 07, 2006

XFX 7900GT

No artifacts and stable at 520/700 and 74c under heavy load for 25min:

idle temp:
$245 (after $30 MIR shipping included)
double lifetime warranty
Came with a free copy of the full dvd version of Tomb Raider Legend which is a great game.

great app to put a heavy load on the graphics card:

coolbits to oc:

I only used ATItool to scan for defects at the pixel level. It can find artifacts that the human eye could never pick up. It's great for testing when overclocking.

Over a year has passed since my last big video card purchase. The price was just too good to pass up. I'll try and compare the numbers with my old ati x800xl.

driver version: 84.21 (later I upgraded to latest beta 91.31 to solve some tomb raider legend issues but I benched everything under 84.21)
ati I used cat 6.5

The one big feature I gained with the upgrade is shader 3.0 support.

stock for ref design is 450/650
stock speed for this specific card was core: 470, mem: 685
all benches at oc speeds of 520/700 unless otherwise noted.
I'll try and push to 520/750 next.
(ati was oc to 425/525)

ati x800xl: $300
nvidia 7900gt: $245

temps under heavy load:
ati: 80
nvidia: 77

3dmark ati
01: 24730
03: 11675
05: 5531
06: 1866

01: 27270
03: 17996
05: 8580
06: 4316

1600X1200 ati
doom 3: 54.8
cs source: 103.49

doom 3: 95
cs source: 158.49 (2xaa, 16xaf, max everything 130fps)

fear 1.05
min 29, avg 59, max 126

computer: medium
video card: custom

effects - all max except:
water: medium
volumetric light density: medium

graphics - all max except:
fsaa off
soft shadows off
4x anisotropic
videos medium
pixle double off
dx8 shaders off

nvidia same settings:
min 37, avg 91, max 210
1600X1200 maxed out except no aa and no soft shadows
36,62,128 (what's amazing is the minimum fps didn't move much. It plays excellent at this setting)

half life 2 episode 1 ati:
1600X1200, no aa or af, hdr on
around 30fps

around 60fps 2xAA, 4xAF, hdr on

detailed nvidia 3dmark06 stock vs oc
(470/685) (520/700)
06: 4052 4316
sm 2.0: 1845 2021
hdr/sm3 1841 1993
cpu 963 963

gt1- 14.798 fps 16.218
gt2 - 15.958 17.465
hdr1 - 16.531 17.907
hdr - 20.289 21.950
cpu1 - .302 .303
cpu2 - .490 .491

Overall this card is probably the best value for a graphics card near the high end. It pretty much lets me play any game at 1600X1200 with everything maxed out.

UPDATE: 7/12/06
So I was having some intermittent stability problems which I thought was related to the drivers. As it turns out I installed the card wrong. You see the card comes with a pcie power adapter -> 2 X molex to feed more power to the card. Like all splits I figured one was for power IN and the other was just a pass through so I only hooked up one power cable to the video card. WRONG!!! The card actually wants TWO molex power cables coming from the power supply. If you have a power supply with a PCIE power cable then you can just use that (which duh my antec neo power 480 modular system has that exact cable). Amazing how stable the card is once you actually give it enough juice.

UPDATE: 9/1/06
The XFX is dead. It degraded over the last two months to the point of constant crashing and that is at stock speeds. I'm getting another one cross shipped to me. XFX support has been ok (not great but not horrible either). I hope I get a good one. I'm back on my old ati x800xl and things have been running rock solid stable again.

UPDATE: 9/20/06
So here is the story so far:

- RMA issued on 8/21/06. The next day I get authorization for cross ship
- I fax them the info and then I find out they don't take discover
- I fax them again with the right information.
- A week later I get a message about not getting the faxed info
- I fax it again. Then they said there was a delay in shipment due to a clerical error.
- Next they tell me they accidentally charged my credit card for $228 (this is even before the replacement card has shipped).
- The charge was taken off.
- There is an attempted delivery by fedex on 9/12. Not delivered due to incorrect address. I find out somebody (hmmm maybe xfx, maybe fedex) transposed two of the numbers in my street address.
- I finally get the card on 9/13.
- The "speedier" option of cross ship process took a full 3 weeks and a lot of my time.
- did driver clean, swapped the cards, installed latest 91.47.
- fired up guild wars and within 10 warps I get the glitch.
- I then flip on 4XAA in guild wars. Also, in the 91.47 you can setup options for a specific game. So I max out AF for guild wars only. 100 warps and 3 hrs of guild wars with no issues. I did notice that the screen flickers now between warps (almost like a card reset or something) for the AA to kick in. My current theory is that helps clear up the issue.
- The last card got worse over time so It's still too early to tell if this card is good.

Conclusion: will never buy XFX again. Sure XFX offers double life time warranty. What they don't tell you is it takes most of your life to actually get your card serviced. I really hope ATI kicks nvidia ass in the next round of DX10 cards.

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