XFX 7950 GX2 - price : Rs. 39,990 INTRODUCTION All and all the past year has probably been one of the most technologically significant years in the history of the graphics industry. We realize this is a rather bold statement, but think about it! We've seen graphics cards go from a standard of 128 Mb up to 256 Mb and then to a whopping 512 Mb of on-board, super high speed GDDR3 memory. We've witnessed the GPU speeds almost double and the quality of their output rise exponentially. We have seen the introduction of both SLI and Crossfire technologies that support multiple video cards working in unison on the same motherboard. Geez we're already breathless just thinking about these advancements, but we aren't finished yet! NVIDIA has launched the new Flagship of their graphics processor line, the 7950 GX2. The 7950 GX2 in itself is one of, if not the most highly anticipated products of the year. THE PRODUCT : What makes this product such a ball buster in theory is plain and simple if you sketch it out on paper. All the 7950 GX2 has to do is combine two extremely high performance GPUs running in total harmony on two conjoined, multi-layered PCB cards with plenty of speed and memory to get the job done better than its predecessors The two cards work in tandem, using SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology, and occupy only a single PCIe x16 slot. So, you don’t need an SLI-equipped motherboard to run this dual card configuration, just one with a PCIe x16 slot. However, not all boards have been certified by Nvidia, and you can fi nd the complete list of compatible motherboards on the Nvidia site. We compared the XFX card to a reference Geforce 7950 GX2 from Nvidia. On initial inspection, the XFX card looks like an exact replica of the Nvidia card—but for the XFX sticker. The 7950 GX2 uses two 7900GT chipsets, with 512MB of GDDR3 frame buffer per chipset. This means that the card comes with 1GB of dedicated GDDR3 memory—about ten times the standard memory configuration for most entrylevel graphics cards today. The core clock speeds have been bumped up to 500 MHz, while the memory is been brought down to 1000 MHz (effective) when compared to 1200MHz (effective) in the 7900GT. Since the card uses two GeForce 7900GT chipsets, it effectively employs 48 Pixel Shader units and 16 Vertex Shader units. With this kind of processing power and memory at its disposal, the 7950 GX2 supports a staggeringly high resolution of 2560x1600, and outputs them over dual-link DVI ports that can take advantage of the doubled efficiency and power. Physically, the card is longer than most of the mainstream cards and matches the GeForce 7900GTX in length. The design and implementation for the card is commendable, the card almost occupies the same space as an overclocked version of a Geforce 7900GTX or the ATI Radeon X1900XTX. Nvidia has also fine tuned the power consumption for the card, ensuring that it consumes less power than two separate 7900GT cards running in SLI mode. Our 500W Antec True Power PSU did not have any trouble powering a rig equipped with this card, two hard drives, a DVD writer and an AMD AM2 processor with 1 GB of DDR2 800 MHz memory. PERFORMANCE AND BECNCHMARKS : When it comes to performance, the XFX GeForce 7950GX2 is the fastest graphics card that money can buy— it easily beats the 7900GTX as well as the X1900XTX in all benchmarks. The GX2 recorded an impressive 7756 points on 3DMark 2006—almost 2000 points more than the 7900GTX and the X1900XTX cards. Even the most demanding games failed to keep the 7950 GX2 down, the card could easily run FEAR at maximum settings, giving a constant 106 frames per second. Same was the case with the Half-Life 2 Lost Coast, Doom 3 and Quake-4. CONCLUSION : The Geforce 7950 GX2 is an excellent option for demanding gamers with deep pockets. It can deliver super smooth game play at highest possible quality settings. The efficient design, cooling and power management compliments the brute power of the card, resulting in a very capable product. The down side is the steep price tag, it should have been priced at least Rs 5,000 less.