Foxconn GeForce 7900 GS (FV-N79SM2D2) video card review
As big league computer hardware manufacturers go, Foxconn's rise to prominence is a fascinating one. Some of the more eagle-eyed amongst you have probably been familiar with the Foxconn name for a long time, thanks to their work as a component provider - I would wager that if most of you took a closer look around your hardware components, you'd find Foxconn branding everywhere, from DVI ports on video cards to PCI slots on motherboards.
From that successful history as a component manufacturer, it was perhaps only a natural leap for the company to begin producing hardware under their own brand name - Thus, we began to see Foxconn branded motherboards, which very quickly garnered an impressive reputation for their stability and excellent build quality to the point where they became the reference board designers for NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI. As well as motherboards, Foxconn have also enjoyed a fair amount of success with their ranges of system chassis.
This brings us to today, and the latest branch of the hardware tree which Foxconn have decided to diversify into - The helter-skelter, 200MPH world of the graphics board manufacturer. Foxconn have decided to launch their new graphics brand under the steady NVIDIA ship, introducing a completely range of GeForce 7-based parts from top to bottom, and today we'll be taking a UK exclusive look at one of these new boards, in the form of one of NVIDIA's newest SKUs - The G71 variant GeForce 7900 GS. So, let's welcome Foxconn to the competitive graphics board market by putting this card through its paces, and seeing what it has to offer.
GeForce 7900 architecture
As we've just mentioned, the GeForce 7900 GS is (unsurprisingly) based around the 90 nanometre G71 architecture that powers the rest of the GeForce 7900, and indeed 7950, series of NVIDIA parts. However, the GeForce 7900 GS is the first part released by NVIDIA that uses a cut-down version of the core - While the rest of the range enjoys a full twenty-four fragment pipelines (or six fragment quads) coupled with eight vertex shaders, the 7900 GS finds itself with one quad of pipelines disabled (leaving it with a grand total of twenty) as well as a single vertex shader turned off, giving it seven in total. Naturally, this configuration allows NVIDIA to use cores which have come out of the manufacturing process with faulty fragment pipelines or vertex shaders, thus meaning that less dies are wasted thanks to the built-in redundancy in these chips.
Aside from the disabled fragment pipelines and vertex shader, the GeForce 7900 GS is identical in every other way to the GeForce 7900 GT, meaning that it comes complete with a 256-bit memory bus carrying 256MB of RAM, 16 ROPs, and core and memory clock speeds of 450MHz and 660MHz respectively.
You can see the entire feature set of the GeForce 7900 GS below.
- CineFX 4.0 Architecture
- Full DirectX9 Support
- DirectX9 Shader Model 3.0 Support
- Vertex Shader 3.0
- Pixel Shader 3.0
- Internal 128-bit Floating Point (FP32) Precisions
- Unlimited Shader Lengths
- Up to 16 textures per pass
- Support for FP16 Texture Formats with Filtering, FP32 without
- Non-Power of two texture support
- Multiple Render Targets
- NVIDIA High Precision Dynamic Range Technology
- Full FP16 Floating Point Support throughout the entire pipeline
- FP16 Floating Point Frame Buffer Support
- Intellisample 4.0
- Up to 4X, Gamma Adjusted, Native Multi-sampling FSAA with rotated grid sampling
- Transparent Multi-Sampling and Super-Sampling
- Lossless colour, texture, z-data compression
- Fast Z Clear
- Up to 16x Anisotropic Filtering
- UltraShadow Technology
- NVIDIA SLI Support
- NVIDIA Pure Video Technology
- Adaptable Programmable video processor
- High Definition MPEG2 and WMV9 acceleration
- Spatial Temporal de-interlacing
- Inverse 2:2 and 3:2 pull-down (Inverse Telecine)
- 4-tap horizontal, 5-tap vertical scaling
- Overlay color temperature correction
- Microsoft® Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) supports multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window
- Integrated HDTV output
- Advanced Display options
- Dedicated on-chip video processor
- nView Multi Display technology
- Single and Dual-Link TMDS Transmitter
- Digital Vibrance Control 3