January 24, the desktop 3D graphics market welcomed yet another landmark product, ATI Technologies’ Radeon X1900. The company claimed technological superiority with this chip that incorporated an unprecedented 48 pixel shader processors. Graphics cards carrying this GPU on board proved to deliver generally more performance than the GeForce 7800 GTX 512, not to mention Nvidia’s weaker products on the G70 graphics processor.
A severe deficit of G70 chips capable of working at high clock rates transformed the single competitive solution from Nvidia in the ultra high-end sector – GeForce 7800 GTX 512 – into a rarity. Nvidia found itself virtually unarmed against the onslaught of ATI’s new Radeon X1900 series, although their next GPU was indeed under development. And on March 9, the GeForce 7900 graphics processor, codenamed G71, came out to succeed to the glorious G70.
Two new graphics card models were announced alongside: the GeForce 7900 GTX and GeForce 7900 GT are meant to replace the corresponding GeForce 7800 models and come at a recommended price of $499 and $299, respectively, which is much cheaper than the recommended price of the Radeon X1900 XTX ($549) and Radeon X1900 XT ($475). So, this is a very aggressive answer to ATI Technologies, yet it’s not enough just to announce a product to win the customer’s heart. The new product must be available for purchase and we hope Nvidia will do better now than with the GeForce 7800 GTX 512 and will provide the new cards in as many quantities as necessary.
And now let’s see what’s so new about the new graphics processor.