For gamers the most crucial part in the computer is the graphics card. It pretty much defines the graphical quality and the frame rate in the games and obviously faster is always better. Our latest graphics card review was made over two years ago and it's definitely time to see what new cards have to offer. As in this review there are multiple cards with the same GPU, we will be able to show if there really are differences between the brands. According to nVidia's SLI-zone, we should also be able to use cards from different manufacturers in SLI-mode but we'll see later on if that works in practice too.
This time there won't be top of the range cards but budget priced ones instead. In practice this means couple of nVidia 7600GTs. Three cards - from Leadtek, Palit and MSI - arrived to our tests in time. There are two kinds of people when it comes to choosing a new graphic card. Those who buy the cheapest one and those who think the brand makes difference and buy one they think is the best. In theory there should be no difference whatsoever between the cards as they all are 7600GTs and have the same GPU, same amount of memory and same memory bandwith but these cards can still have slightly different parts, different cooling solutions and difference in clock speeds.
|Number of transistors||278M*2||278M||178M||178M||112M|
|Memory Clock (actual data rate)||600(1200)MHz||660(1320)MHz||700(1400)MHz||400(800)MHz||400(800)|
|Core clock (Vertex, Core)||500/500||470/450MHz||560/560MHz||400/400MHz||550MHz|
Even the nVidias 8xxx-family is already around the corner, the 7xxx is still the newest one in stores with reasonable price tags. There are two versions of 7600 - GS and GT. The GS is obviously the cheaper version with its lower clock speeds and thereby lower performance. It would have been interesting to see how much difference this makes in performance tests, but this time we only test the GTs. According to other sites the difference is about 30%.
The accurate models of the cards in this review are MSI NX7600GT Diamond Plus, Palit 7600GT Sonic and Leadtek Winfast PX 7600GT TDH Extreme. It's pretty easy to say from the outlook of the cards which one is the factory-overclocked TDH version. Leadtek's cooler not only has the largest fan but also hides almost half of the card under it. There are also clear differences in the board designs. Whereas the Palit's shares the same board design with some other manufacturers, the Leadtek and MSI have made their own versions of it. Closer looks and more detailed differences in the following pages.
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