The top two graphics manufacturers still find gaps in the market, real or imaginary, to fit products into, which is great for them but mighty confusing to the rest of us.
One of the benefits that come from this is that as faster and faster graphics cards appear at the top of the pile, features from previous kings of the hill filter down the food chain to the more affordable end of the market.
One such card is the GeForce 7600GS, Nvidia’s latest card for the lower mainstream market. This card is built around the 90nm process G73 core with its 178 million transistors. It features 12 pixel and 5 vertex pipelines and a 128-bit memory bus through which the 256MB of GDDR2 memory runs. As standard it has a core clock speed of 400MHz while the memory runs at 400MHz (800MHz effective).
3D Fuzion may be a new name to some, but it is a subsidiary of the better-known BFG Technologies, offering reference Nvidia designs at a good price point.
The 3D Fuzion 7600GS is built on a blue PCB with a very small heatsink and fan to keep the GPU cool, while the memory chips are left uncovered, all of which means this is a quiet card and is ideal for those building a system on a tight budget.
The backplate holds single DVI and VGA ports along with a 10-pin port for the HDTV breakout cable, the end of which is a dongle which includes an S-Video port.
Performance-wise this card produced a 3DMark05 score of 4,099 when tested at a 1,024 by 768 resolution and 37fps when benched using Half Life 2 with details set to maximum – not great, but not bad figures in this price segment. Of course if you lower the detail features on any game you will get faster frame rates.
It’s nice to see a card packaged in such a way that the card itself doesn’t get tossed around in transit. This one sits snugly in a plastic tray on top of the DVI/VGA adapter recessed in the bottom of the packaging.
To keep costs down there’s no software or games bundled with the card; you just get a driver CD which includes a full installation PDF. But there is also a handy fold-out installation guide, which is one of the best we’ve seen; each step of the installation process is clearly illustrated, which is perfect for those who don’t often delve into the innards of their PC.
Company: 3D Fuzion