Can’t afford a top-shelf videocard like the screamin’ XFX model reviewed here? Take comfort in the knowledge that EVGA has an impressively overclocked version of the only slightly less powerful GeForce 7900 GT: Its $360 street price is $230 lower than the aforementioned 7900 GTX card.
eVGA’s main contribution was to factory-overclock the GPU and memory, from 450- and 660MHz, respectively, to 550MHz for the core and 790MHz for the 256MB of GDDR3 memory. But nVidia also deserves a share of the credit for this card’s performance. Unlike the 7800 GT, which achieved its cost savings by lopping off four pipes and one vertex shader, the 7900 GT has a full complement of 24 pixel pipelines and eight vertex shaders—just like its more costly cousins, the 7800 and 7900 GTXs.
As a result, you don’t need to sacrifice eye candy in the name of frame rate. Just take a look at the benchmark charts: Running Quake 4 in High Quality mode, with 4x antialiasing, 8x anisotropic filtering, and resolution ratcheted up to 1600x1200, a single card mustered an impressive 59.6 frames per second. The card was even more impressive in our FEAR benchmark: At the same resolution, but with soft shadows turned on and AA turned off (a bug in the game dictates enabling one or the other, but not both), eVGA’s card came within one frame per second of matching the much more expensive Sapphire Radeon X1900 XTX (reviewed here).
Things get even more exciting when you bring SLI into the picture. The two cards scaled well running in our new Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard, which allows both PCI Express slots to operate in x16 mode: We saw a 60 percent boost in performance running our Call of Duty 2 benchmark. This is one midrange card we expect to see on our on Best of the Best list for a while.