IntroductionThe race to build the ultimate Direct3D9 accelerator isn't over yet. You might have thought that GeForce 7900 GTX and Radeon X1900 XTX were it, before both ATI and NVIDIA release D3D10 chips and products built around them when Vista finally shows; and you'd be forgiven for thinking so, given the levels of IQ and performance on offer from the pair.
The duality of image quality and performance (and note the order I write them) is the big battlefield the two main IHVs fight each other on. The gradual shift in focus from frames per second to better looking screen pixels is a welcome one, the tradeoffs required to get both at acceptable levels at the same time becoming less and less, as each successive generation arrives.
And it's at the high-end where both come in to sharp focus, especially for the consumer spending the big bucks on products that claim panaceas in both areas, as well as elsewhere of course. The heavy-hitting flagship products, and also those just one or two rungs down, are the ones that must compromise the least, as the industry makes its way forward and the consumer demands. And it's a game that influences all of consumer graphics, from the top down.
So as each successive flagship arrives to stake a claim for Best Pixel Generator Ever, we examine things and see what's what.
With XP and D3D9 what's here today, that's the playground where the one-upmanship continues. NVIDIA think they've got something to take the top spot away from ATI Radeon X1900 XTX, after their GeForce 7900 GTX didn't quite move the game on enough to do so.
So does today's review focus -- NVIDIA's brand new GeForce 7950 GX2 -- change enough to do the job that GeForce 7900 GTX hasn't, dethroning Radeon X1900 XTX as the compelling single-board purchase on the PC right now? That's what we seek to answer for you in this piece. Join us as we give it a go, starting with just what the heck a 7950 GX2 is, since it's not the norm!