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Digital-Daily : Video : 7950gt_chaintech_and_msi

Two GeForce 7950GT by Chaintech and MSI

Two GeForce 7950GT by Chaintech and MSI
Author: Dmitry Sofronov
Date: 21.10.2006

Today, we are examining two video cards based on GeForce 7950GT which NVIDIA announced in September along with the GeForce 7900GS chip. We are already familiar with one of the video cards based on 7900GS. Therefore, a joint announcement of these two solutions is quite logical. In fact, both 7900GS and 7950GT have the same roots. Both these chips are derivatives of 7900GT which by now has been laid off production. While 7900GS is produced through a cut-down in the number of pipelines to 20/7, the 7950GT has preserved its pipelines at 24/8 but acquired much higher clock speeds. That is understandable. The finer process technology favors to good overclocking, so why not to earn some more with that? The G71 chip has already been polished to the full, so operation at increased clock speeds is not risky for stability.

Chaintech 7950GT

The first video card which we are examining today is one produced by Chaintech Walton Corp. The financial contributions by Walton which acquired Chaintech was not in vain, and the merged company is increasingly active at production of novelties and their marketing. Let's see what engineers at Chaintech have got for us this time.

box-front.jpg

The setting of the box is traditional for Chaintech produce. A lot of varied labels on the front side give a visual idea of the supported technologies. More interesting info can be found on the box side where it says that the GPU frequency is 550 MHz. That is the frequency recommended by NVIDIA for 7950GT. Running ahead, we say that the real GPU frequency of the specimen that has been to our test lab was 605 MHz, that is, the video card runs by default at somehow overclocked speed. There is no contradiction about that. The thing is that we got a video card of the "speedy" series called APOGEE, but by that time the boxes for these video cards had not yet been ready. You can take a look at how they should look over here.

box-back.jpg

The reverse side of the box for "regular" 7950GT video cards looks ordinarily. Along with the cliches of supported technologies, there is a list of accessories which are part of the video card's package bundle. Since we are reviewing an "advanced" version of the video card, the kit of its accessories will be somehow different. The package bundle includes:

  • a cable for additional power supply
  • S-Video cable
  • a "Tulip" connection cable
  • HDTV-out adapter
  • DVI/D-SUB adapters - 2 pcs;
  • User's manual
  • drivers and utilities CD
  • a CD with WinCinema, including WinDVD5 - 6 ch.
  • CD with games Age of Wonders2, Serious Sam2, Rally Trophy, Max Payne, Tropico.
  • A handy screwdriver in the form of a highlighter. There are both flat and patterned nozzles - two sizes for each

front.jpg

Chaintech's video cards of the APOGEE series make a substantial difference from reference video cards, and primarily due to the installation of a Zalman cooler. Use of these powerful and noiseless coolers saves the ears of the user and allows boosting performance of the video card due to the rise of the VPU frequency.

front-wocooler.jpg

As was already stated, the 7950GT chip is a derivative of 7900GT, so the PCB design has remained the same. That is well seen on the photo with the cooler removed. We've seen a similar PCB layout on both 7900GT and 7900GS video cards. We should not reproach the developers with laziness simply because this approach is easy and cost-effective.

back.jpg

Nothing to say about the reverse side of the PCB. It is the same "reference" which we've seen many times.

gpu.jpg

The GPU of 7950GT nor makes much difference from its brethren in class. The size of the chip, layout of the bridges - all has remained the way it used to be. Only the "GT2" characters have been added to the marking of the chip. To all appearances, for NVIDIA the new chip is simply a speedier version of the regular 7900GT. The VPU of Chaintech 7950GT APOGEE runs at 605 MHz. As compared to the recommended 550 MHz, the frequency has gone up by 10%.

memory.jpg

The overall onboard memory capacity on Chaintech 7950GT APOGEE amounts to 512 MB. That is another difference from the "regular" 7900GT video cards which were normally equipped with merely 256 MB of video memory. The increase in capacity has been achieved due to use of 512-Mbit chips. The chips are made by Infineon, the access time is 1.4 ns, which is equivalent to the nominal 1400 MHz DDR frequency. The nominal operating memory frequency of Chaintech 7950GT APOGEE is 1540 MHz DDR. As we can see, the frequency is again increased by 10%.

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