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XFX 7600GT XXX Edition Review Review - Page 1 of 6

INTRODUCTION

Do you remember a few years back, when the GeForce4 line was brand new and the promise of performance from those cards was causing a gleamin every gamer's eye? The top-of-the-line graphics card when the GF4 was brand new cost around $250. These days, $250 barely buys a decent processor, let alone a graphics card that is worthy of bragging about. The people at XFX would like to change the negative stigma associated with a mid-range or "budget" video card and their solution was the supercharged 7600GT XXX Edition of NVIDIA's versatile and formidable mid-range GPU.

Inno3D GeForce 7600GST

Rounding out the top end of the middle road of the GeForce 7-series, the 7600GT XXX is nothing to scoff at. Clocked at 590MHz/1.6GHz on the core and memory respectively (596/1618 on mine), the XXX Edition packs some serious firepower. And at sub-$200 prices, it seems quite and enticing purchase. Can the allure of a cheap pricetag, insane clock speeds and all the features of the GeForce 7-series combine to make a card worth spending your money on? The results speak for themselves.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

When I opened the box to see the two new XXX edition cards wrapped up in packing peanuts and bubble wrap, I was a little surprised. The boxes are so small! About half again as wide and tall as a standard small-form computer game box (and slightly thicker) the boxes are quite small. I was a little disappointed the cards weren't in the trademark X-shaped box that XFX is known for, but that definitely is not a big deal, nor is it any sort of indication that these cards aren't worthy of the XFX branding.

 

XFX 7600GT XXX Edition Box Contents
7600GST Package Contents

 

Included in the box is a manual, s-video cable, HDTV adapter and driver CD. I was a little disappointed there was no bundled game and surprised at the same time since this card is supposed to be such a powerhouse – even for being a mid-range part. But, in the long run, if it keeps the price of the card down, that's better in my eyes.

INSTALLATION AND TEST SYSTEM

There were absolutely no problems installing either video cards. Going from my previous dual-6800GTs, having shorter cards that didn't require power connectors but promised performance that would embarass the 6800GTs was a novelty. Even after looking at the Inno3D 7600GST (which, when overclocked, was slightly slower than these XFX cards) and seeing how well that mid-range card stacked up against the previous high-end, I couldn't help but doubt that these two 7600GTs would really be that powerful...but the benchmarks are coming in a few more paragraphs!

The test system used is as follows:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Venice) @ 2.377GHz
  • 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair XMS PC3200 DDR400 RAM @ 433MHz
  • eVGA GeForce 6800GT graphics card (and a second for SLI benchmarks)
  • Inno3D GeForce 7600GST graphics card (for benchmark comparison)
  • XFX GeForce 7600GT XXX Edition graphics card (and a second for SLI benchmarks)
  • Creative X-Fi Elite Pro soundcard
  • Logitech Z-5300 THX-certified 5.1 surround speakers
  • Western Digital WD740GD 74GB Raptor 10,000RPM HDD
  • ForceWare 84.21 WHQL

7600 FAMILY COMPARISON

Just to show a comparison of how the cards listed above stack up with one another and the rest of the 7600 family of cards, the following chart shows a few of the more important stats on each of the cards

7600 Family and 6800GT Comparison
  7600GS 7600GST 7600GT 7600GT XXX 6800GT
Memory 256MB DDR2 256MB
DDR3
256MB
DDR3
256MB
DDR3
256MB
DDR3
Core Frequency 400MHz 500MHz 560MHz 590MHz 350MHz
Memory Frequency 800MHz 1400MHz 1400MHz 1600MHz 1000MHz
Memory Bus 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 256-bit
Pixel Pipelines 12 12 12 12 16
SLI Ready Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

 

Comparing the XXX Edition to its vanilla flavored brethen, there is a roughly 5% increase in core clock speed and over a 14% increase in memory speed. As a note, due to the close proximity of reviews, most of the scores on the following pages have been reused from my Inno3D 7600GST review for that card and the 6800GTs. At the time of writing this the 6800GTs were unavailable to me and therefore I was not able to benchmark those cards in FEAR for a comparison.

On to the first round of benchmarks!

3DMARK06 RESULTS

I ran 3DMark06 to see how the XXX cards stacked up against the GST and the 6800GTs. The SLI results were amazing.

3DMark06 Benchmarks
3DMark06 Results

 

The XXX cards in SLI scored half again as high as the 6800GTs. Unreal! Even with a smaller memory bus, the increased core and memory speeds along with the more efficient 7-series core managed to send the 6800GTs home crying.

Now...to see how these cards performed in some games!

Next Page: Counter-Strike: Source Stress Test

 

Last Updated on June 18, 2006


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