NVIDIA's finally launched their GF8800 line of cards but they come at a pretty premium in price. With the new card, the prices of the older ones continue to fall making them a good bargain. The last generation GPU isn't dead yet and with that we have a card from a company that's more known for their motherboards. Foxconn's a pretty large company and they're slowly moving into the video card business. With that, we look at their implementation of the GeForce 7950GT in the FV-N79GM3D2-HPOC. Quite a mouthful to say isn't it?
The FV-N79GM3D2-HPOC is your basic GeForce 7950GT video card with 512MB of ram. For a quick briefing, the core is the G71 running at 580MHz. Memory sits at 1560MHz DDR and a total of 512MB is onboard. Now this is an overclocked edition so the frequencies are a bit higher. The stock 7950GT card 550MHz for the GPU and 1400MHz DDR for the memory. So you're looking at an increase of about 5% for the GPU and a 10% increase in memory performance. Compared to the Leadtek card we reviewed that was overclocked out of the box, the GPU runs slightly slower while the memory runs faster. Leadtek's card has the edge in GPU with a 30MHz increase but the memory runs at 130MHz DDR slower. We'll compare the two to see how these two differentiators affect performance along with the increase of memory. To round out the features of the card, there are 24 pixel pipelines and 8 vertex pipelines.
Unlike the GF8800 series, the GF 7950GT is a DirectX 9 compliant video card. That means if you want a card to truly take advantage of Vista and the new DirectX 10, you'll have to look at NVIDIA's latest. If you're just into gaming for the current generation, the GF 7950GT is the card you want to look into.
As you can see from the picture, the card's pretty much a straight reference design but the cooler covers the GPU and the memory and has the Foxconn branding. The heatsink fan setup features a variable speed fan so it provides quiet operation even during heavy load. When you're doing some general computing, you probably won't even hear the fan at all which is pretty good when you're looking to silence a computer. The art on the cooler follows Foxconn's "Art is More" motto with an abstract art design. The design follows to the packaging as the box as a different feel to it other than normal cardboard. It sure is different when you look at the competitor's way of marketing and it does stand out from the crowd. The normal SLI link is at the top allowing you to link up two of these cards in SLI configuration.
Dual DVI links encompass the digital connections for the card. A maximum resolution of 2560x1600 is available for both single and dual monitors. If you still need to connect to an older VGA connection, adapters are included in the card. TV out is supported via a pigtail that Foxconn has included in the package. Component connections and a S-Video out round out the ways you can connect this card to a display source.
Foxconn has a pretty unique bundle here. First off no game is included which is a minor disappoint. Instead you get two utilities in Virtual Drive and RestoreIT. These two can come in handy at times especially with RestoreIT. Probably the thing that sticks out the most in the bundle is the included USB gamepad. You don't see that in any other video card packaging and the USB gamepad that is included isn't too shabby. The gamepad's design looks like a compressed PlayStation controller which should be familiar with most people out there. All told, the bundle is unique just like Foxconn's branding.
For testing, I decided to pit it against Leadtek's GF7950 OC edition with 256MB of ram. Drivers used were version 91.47.The test setup also includes:
- AMD64 X2 3800+
- abit NF-M2 nView
- 2 GIG Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 (2 sticks of 1GB each)
- Seagate 160GIG 7200RPM HDD
- Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2
First up is Futuremark's 3D Mark 06
is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. We tested at the standard 1280x1024 resolution.
is Raven Software's true sequel to the id classic. The game uses an improved Doom 3
engine for some great graphics. For the test we ran a demo featuring a few enemies and some squad mates. We set the graphics qualities at maximum and ran it on three different resolutions.
One of the surprise hits out of Monolith was F.E.A.R.
This supernatural FPS looks incredible and really pushes a video card to its limits. For the benchmark, we ran three resolutions using the in game benchmark with all the settings set at max.
has been in development for many years but the folks at Human Head finally released the game this year. The game utilizes the Doom 3
engine like Quake 4
and features the really cool Portal technology to garner some interesting game play aspects. All settings were set to maximum and three resolutions were chosen for the test.
Company of Heroes
is an RTS that really pushes video cards. The game by the fine folks at Relic Entertainment is set in WWII and features deformable terrain as well as great physics. The level of detail in the game for an RTS is amazing. For the tests, we set everything at maximum or ultra to ensure that the card was taxed as much as possible
To test out how much of a performance decrease we get when turning on such features as anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, we ran the same benchmarks at both 4xAA 8xAF and 8xAA 16xAF. Here are the results for the 4xAA 8xAF tests:
You can see that depending on the game and the resolution, the two cards flip flop in terms of performance lead. Overall though, the Foxconn card comes out ahead in most tests and the extra 256MB helps out with the antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. The card is generally faster when turning on the two image quality enhancements over the Leadtek card.
Foxconn does have a unique bundle with this video card and while we don't have a final price yet on the setup it shouldn't come in more than $300. the GeForce 7950GT from Foxconn gives you a nice card overclocked out of the box with 512MB of ram. For all the current games now, this card does give you the performance to achieve some great framerates. It's also quiet and HDCP compliant making it a good choice also for an HTPC machine. While the Foxconn brand of video cards aren't commonly available yet, they show some good promise in delivering a good quality product and hopefully they'll become more prominent in the market soon.
It's too bad the GF8800 cards are out as this is a very good card with a unique bundle. As is, it's a great DirectX 9 card and should give you very good performance in current games.