Leadtek WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme

Review

posted 9/20/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
Until recently, if you wanted a GeForce 7900 GS you'd have to pick up a machine from Dell. Well that's changing now as there are a few manufacturers releasing this card to the building public. Leadtek was kind enough to send us one of their cards so today we're going to look at the WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme. Let's see how this card stacks up.

WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme

The WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme is a PCI-E card built on the 90nm process. At the heart of the card is the G71 GPU with some changes. 20 pixel shader pipelines and 7 vertex shader units are on this card rather than 24 pixel shader pipelines and 8 vertex shader units of the 7900 GT. A normal GeForce 7900 GS will run at 450MHz for the core and 1.32GHz for the memory. But this is no ordinary GeForce 7900. We're talking Extreme here folks so there's a little overclocking on this card right out of the box. The WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme sits at 520MHz for the GPU and 1.4GHz for the memory. That's a nice little 70MHz increase in the core and 80MHz increase in the memory. I've always liked Leadtek's Extreme line that gives you a little more for a small premium in price and Leadtek doesn't disappoint here. 256MB of GDDR3 memory rounds out the features of this card.

From the looks, you can see the card looks pretty close to the reference design. There's a nice little Leadtek branding with the black/blue heatsink fan to help cool the card down. I would've liked to have seen Leadtek do something to the card to help separate it from other manufacturers but that's not too big of a deal. As with all NVIDIA PCI-E cards these days, the WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme also has an SLI link at the top so if you want to improve your graphical performance by sticking another card with it on an SLI motherboard, you're free to do so.

A variable speed fan is on this card which is a welcomed feature. When not using the 3D functions, the card's really quiet. Even when running 3D applications, the card's fan wasn't that loud or overly annoying. One of my test setups include a fanless NForce board and I was able to get a pretty quiet setup with the PX7900 GS TDH Extreme in the system. Overall I was quite pleased with the change to include the variable speed on the fan.

Sizewise, the card isn't as long as the GeForce 7800GT card that I compare this with. There is the six pin power connector as this card does need some extra juice that the PCI-E bus cannot fully provide. Leadtek has included a cable to convert two Molex connectors to one PCI-E power connector.

The card is also HDCP capable. What that means is that if you want to use this card to view high definition content through a digital connection, you'll be able to view it as long as you connect to an HDCP capable display device. With HD DVD and Blu-ray becoming available for computer users, you'll need HDCP capable products to view them on your PC. While you can still connect this card to a TV using the included component connectors for some high definition viewing, you'll want a card with HDCP for the future when you want to connect the card using the digital connection.

Output for the card consists of two DVI connectors for dual monitor support. If you want to attach it to a television, Leadtek has included a pigtail that houses component connections as well as an S-VGA out. If your monitor is the old VGA style, there's also an included adapter to convert the DVI connection. I've used a few Leadtek cards to connect my HTPC to my LCD television with the component connector and it does a very good job when you don't have anymore digital connections.

A few pieces of software is included when you pick up this card. The usual array of Leadtek tools comes bundled with the card and two games: Serious Sam 2 and  Spell Force 2: Shadow Wars. Serious Sam 2 might be a little long on the tooth but Spell Force 2: Shadow Wars is a little more recent and offers a nice little blend of RPG and real time strategy.

So how much is this card coming in at? The WinFast PX7900 GS TDH Extreme will have a price of $229 or a $20 markup over the non-Extreme version. It's positioned to compete with ATI's X1900 GT for your midrange dollars. We don't have an X1900 GT in the labs here yet to test against this card but we'll be sure to see how it matches up to it once we get one in. For now, we'll see how it compares to a 7800 GT card near the same price.
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