Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT review: Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,920x1,440, Max/Shadows on grass off/Self shadows off  
1,600x1,200, Max/Shadows on grass off/Self shadows off  

Where Nvidia does get the win is with setup. For one, the 7950 GT is a single-slot card; the Radeon needs only one PCI Express slot, but its double-wide design takes up the space of two slots. Both cards require direct power-supply connections, but Nvidia recommends a 400-watt power supply, while ATI recommends 450 watts. It's a minor distinction, but if you're trying to make a small-form-factor PC or if you're concerned about heat and, in turn, fan noise, the GeForce 7950 GT is less demanding than the Radeon X1900 XT in terms of power consumption.

We should add that Nvidia's next-generation cards, code-named G80, are due out before the end of the year. We imagine that if you're looking for solid performance and aren't too concerned with setting frames-per-second records, the GeForce 7950 GT will serve you well for at least another year or so. If you really want to get the most from your gaming hardware, however, and you don't mind waiting a few months, you might be able to get a more futureproof 3D card for a similar price. Still, priced at a reasonable $300, the GeForce 7950 GT shouldn't leave you with a case of buyer's remorse when the new cards hit (unlike Nvidia's fast-but-pricey $600 GeForce 7950 GX2).

Finally, we must thank GameSpot's Sarju Shah and James Yu, who provided us with the test results for this review, as they have for the last couple 3D cards we've covered. They've now completed a comprehensive roundup of the current state of the graphics card picture, covering four different market segments. If you're totally overwhelmed with the prospect of buying a new 3D card, that's the first place to look.

Test bed
AMD Athlon 64 FX-62; Asus A8RMVP-Deluxe motherboard; 1GB Corsair XMS 3200XL DDR SDRAM; 160GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drive; ATI Catalyst beta version 6.8_8.282.1 graphics driver software; Nvidia ForceWare 91.31 graphics driver software

What you'll pay

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