Gigabyte 7600GT Review

Bosco - 2006-11-10 05:05:02 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: Bosco   
Reviewed on: August 17, 2006
Gigabyte
Gfcity Computers
Price: $169

Introduction

7600GT….. We sure have come a long ways since the days of the fabled Geforce 2 MX400. This new series of cards (or GPU) from NVIDIA, called the 7600GT, is a new era of card all together. When that fabled call to upgrade comes, this 7600GT will be near the top of that list. A fusion of both performance and price, the Gigabyte 7600GT is definitely an eye grabber. Gigabyte was founded in the beginning of 1986 in a small lab. Gigabyte was then just a gleam in some people’s eyes. 20 years later they are a major supplier of Motherboards, Video cards, and other computer hardware. This 7600GT is bound to fly, coming from Gigabyte.

Closer Look

Upon receiving this new toy, I gave the box a hasty and relatively thorough examination, finding nothing out of the ordinary I cracked her open to get a glimpse of my new card.



Removing the supplied cables and the static bag containing… you guessed it the 7600GT.



Sliding the card out of the static wrap I was amazed at how much it actually weighed. I found out later that this was due to the fan less heat pipe cooler that Gigabyte has dubbed “Silent Pipe 2.”

Features and Benefits of Silent Pipe 2

Feature 1. Proprietary front-flow thermal module: the first Dual-slot heat pipe solution to utilize a convection slot at the back of the chassis to increase thermal dissipation.
Feature 2. Natural convection design: Silent-Pipe II technology artfully uses the temperature difference between the inside and outside of chassis, creating natural system convection.
Feature 3. High-precision die-casting process: uses the latest high-precision die forming technology to increase the thermal conductivity of the material that makes up the heat sink.
Feature 4. SLI ready: designed for compatibility with dual card configurations.
Feature 5. High performance heat pipe with sintered powder wicks: with the industry’s best powder-style pure copper heat pipe for ultra efficient thermal conductivity.
Feature 6. 3D performance ready: designed stability during demanding 3D applications.
Feature 7. Integrated architecture design: heat pipe and GPU actually make contact to provide unequalled heat conductivity. I  personally do not like the idea of not having a fan on the video card. It kind of worries me but at the same time I have found no faults in  their design that would  cause me to worry. I have had no problems with their Silent Pipe design on my other cards  whatsoever but it is nice to have it quiet.

 

This card is slightly larger than most, the back plate is double wide, so this was telling me it would be taking up two of my I/O slots.

 

Coming packed with two DVI-I ports, as well as a TV out port (requires adaptor) this seems to be the new standard for higher end cards. Something notable on this card was the weight, the fan less cooler added A LOT of weight to this card, whether this will be a strain on the PCI-E slot or not I will have to see.

Installation

Installation? What installation! It’s pretty easy to install your new shiny video card. Simply unscrew your old one, drop this one into the new slot (open up the adjacent I/O port first) screw it down and you’re ready to fly. Boot up your computer, uninstall your old drivers, and install the new ones. You can use the ones off the supplied disc, though I like to always get the latest ones from the NVIDIA site.

Specifications

Chipset NVIDIA Geforce 7600 GT
Memory 256Mb
Memory Bus 128Bit
Memory Type DDR 3 16mx32
PCB Form ATX
Bus Type PCI-E
Bus Speed 16
D-Sub

Y (By Adapter)

TV-Out Y
DVI Port Y (Dual DVI-I)
Vivo N
Multi View Y

Testing

Test setup
To test this video card we ran the standard set of games here at OCC.

Gaming Benchmarks 

Benchmark: Far Cry

To kickoff our benchmarking we will be using Far Cry. All games will be tested at the following resolutions (800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024)

 
Settings:
Maximum quality option, Direct3D rendered
Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
Pixel shader: model 2.0b
Antialiasing: 4×
Anisotropic filtering: 8×
HDR: disabled
Geometry Instancing: disabled
Normal-maps compression: disabled




As we see from the benchmarks, the 7600GT is more than holding its own in Far Cry, giving more than a playable frame rate in all settings. Coming out ahead of all the others the 7600GT is more than expected so far.

Benchmark: F.E.A.R

F.E.A.R. is one of the newer First person shooters on the market; this game has its own benchmark built into the game which was used with the following settings.

 
Settings:
  • FSAA: x4
  • Anisotropic: x16
  • Effects: Max
  • Computer: High
  • Soft Shadow: Off



Benchmark: Doom 3

Doom 3 may be old, though we still feel that it is a valid benchmark. Being an often played game in my collection, I am itching to see how it performs.

 

Settings:
Graphics: High Quality
Antialiasing: x4
Advanced Options: Enabled



Benchmark: Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2 is the second installment in the saga. With a new game comes new graphics. Using a lot of complex shaders, as well as lighting effects, COD2 is a very good overall benchmark.



Settings:






As we can see, COD2 is achieving a very playable frame rate on the 7600GT.

Benchmark: Quake 4

Quake 4 is a new installment in the Quake series, though it used a slightly modified Doom 3 Engine.



Settings:






Again the 7600GT pulls well ahead of the other two cards.

Benchmark: Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the latest addition to the Need For Speed series, and this is definitely one of the most graphics hungry.

Settings:






Scoring a decent framerate of 41 on the highest settings leaves this card at the top of the stack.

Conclusion

When it came to benchmarks, the 7600GT did very well. When you look at the 6600GT frames, most of the games would be unplayable at those frame rates. Taking a look at Paul’s XFX 7600 review with the 6800GT as a comparison card at times it looks like it may not be a worth while upgrade. Other than a 6800GT, if you had anything less, then I would suggest making the jump to the 7600gt.

Coming into this benchmarking session I was a little bit skeptical at first as to the performance of this video card.  After seeing how it performs, my initial skepticism soon vanished.  The Gigabyte 7600GT proved to be more than a contender in the performance video card group. The card really shined at the highest resolution and more and more people are starting to using bigger monitors, which makes this card a must have.  If you are looking for an upgrade card that will give you your best bang for buck ratio, the Gigabyte 7600GT is most definitely the card for you.  Providing great performance in games, and an affordable price makes this a great buy.

Pros

Cons