I mentioned near the end of my X1950 article last week that the X1900 XT 256MB was a hell of a card for $279, but issued a caveat that NVIDIA’s 7950 GT was coming very soon and would make things very interesting. Today we have the 7950 GT, and it does indeed make things extremely interesting, but not in the way I fully expected.
To be honest I expected the 7950 GT to be faster than the X1900 XT 256MB, what with double the memory and a fully spec’ed G71 GPU powering it, but that’s not the case at all. If you’re NVIDIA then at best it’s a toss-up, but for all intents and purposes the X1900 XT 256MB is the winner here today, especially when AA and AF are applied. Even with half the memory the X1900 managed faster average framerates in every benchmark where AA was applied; quite contrary to what was expected.
That’s not to say the 7950 GT is a slow card, far from it. If you look at the results it’s not all that far off NVIDIA’s own $449 7900 GTX. For a card that costs $150 less, that doesn’t require an enormous cooler, and that is compact enough to fit in all but the smallest cases, that’s definitely something to be proud of. It’s just that when compared to the X1900 XT 256MB, it doesn’t shine as brightly as it would have if it were released a month ago.
NVIDIA would obviously have liked to have the 7950 GT reviewed against the X1900 GT, and looking at the performance results the reason for that is clear, but it must have taken them back a little when they saw the X1900 XT 256MB coming in at such an attractive price. Undoubtedly unprepared, the only recourse for NVIDIA now is to reduce the 7950 GT asking price in order to compete. Either that or hope that the immense mindshare they’ve built up over the last couple years can pull the 7950 GT through.
Like I said last week, competition kicks ass.
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