AMD Athlon X2 4400+
Abit KN8 Ultra
4 x 512 Corsair PC-3100 2-3-3-6
Sunbeamtech Nuuo 550 watt PSU
Silverstone TJ-05 case
XFX 7600GT Video Card
Installation for the 7900GS is pretty straightforward. First, go into your hardware manager and uninstall your present video card (If you happen to be using a 7300 series, 7600 series, or 7800 series GeForce card and you have the newest nVidia drivers, this isn't necessary). Turn your computer off and unplug the power supply. Remove your old card.
Earlier, I mentioned that the 7900GS is somewhat longer than the 7600GT I was using. If you notice, the SATA ports on my Abit motherboard are pretty close to the rear of the PCI-E slot. I hope that there isn't a problem. I'm going to remove my SATA cables before installing the card. If you do this, be sure that you replace your SATA cables in the same port they were in before, if not, you may have problems booting back up. If you do have to change ports, its no real problem, you just might have to go into the BIOS to change where your system looks for your O/S.
I did have to remove the SATA cables, but once I installed the 7900GS, there was plenty of room for them. Now, plug the 7900GS into the PCI-E slot and make sure that it locks in place. Plug power into the PCI-E power port on the card. If you forget, you will probably be told when you boot your system up (ask me how I know LOL).
Anyway, we're done. Let's fire this card up! The installation disk has some fairly worthless utilities on it. I used it to install the card, then I got the latest nVidia drivers to update them.
The stock fan is surprisingly quiet. It is no louder than my chipset fan, which is the loudest fan in my system. It's not that efficient though. The 7900GS idles at 52 degrees C. I'll definitely want to replace it before I do any overclocking.
I will be comparing the performance of the 7900GS to the 7600GT I replaced. This is not a head-to-head test, but merely a comparison to see if the 7900GS is a viable replacement for the 7600GT. I should add that the 7600GT replaced a 6600GT, and blew away the 6600GT in all benchmarks.
First, I ran 3DMark05, a video benchmark that really puts the GPU to the test. Next was 3DMark06, which also does some CPU stressing. The results were:
Though the 7600GT 's numbers were respectable and the graphics were good, the 7900GS scored 36% higher.
I had a fairly large choice of games to check out and decided on Company of Heroes, a fairly new RTS with some really incredible graphics. It gives lag to my grandson's 6600GT, so I thought that it would be a good choice for checking out the 7900GS. I will be using the on board benchmark, with all graphics settings set to "high" and anti aliasing enabled:
Once again, though the 7600GT performed well, the 7900GS pwned it. I played the game for a few hours at the same settings. This game has some great graphics and the 7900GS had no problems whatsoever.
I had planned to play another game or two, but decided that I had proven the point. Now for some overclocking!