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7900GT: Unlocking the Beast Within

The card in the limelight in this particular article is the
reference 7900GT we’ve gotten from NVIDIA for our review just a short while
back. You can check out our experience maximizing performance with it in the
as well. 550MHz is not too bad at all with the thin copper cooler
that most of these cards come factory fitted with. With my trusty multimeter,
I found that these cards run at a signifcantly lower voltage than their 7900GTX
counterparts. If you compare the cores between the GT and GTX, you can see that
they are actually very similar, both G71s that wear a 24-pipe-lined shirt. Of
course, we can presume they are speed-binned such that the better ones are used
on the GTX. But this bodes well for the 7900GT owners as the potential is likely
there. My initial hunch is that the 7900GT are actually supplied with lower
voltages so that a very simple single slot cooling solution and a relatively
modestly rated power supply can be employed for these cards. True enough, from
my testings, improving the cooling for these cards alone do little to increase
the clock speed capaibility since they are so starved of voltage. Hence, we
did some voltage modificatrions to give these cores the juice they need. This
step is quite a neccesity if one truly wants to unlock the potential of these
cards. For the details, look into our article here.

We started off overclocking the card with 1.5v on the core
voltage. It got rather warm with the modest default cooler so I decided to switch
to something with more mass to chew on.

It is a nice copper cooler for previous generation CPUs. With
some cable ties, I easily secured it onto my card. For good airflow over the
heatsink and the entire card, I put on a silent 120mm fan.

The card was eventually tested on the ASUS
A8R32 MVP Deluxe
motherboard, with a mildly overclocked FX60 at 2.8GHz.

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