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Conclusion

With the results of practical tests on our hands, we can claim that the GeForce 7950 GT doesn’t have an overwhelming advantage if equipped with 512 megabytes of graphics memory instead of 256 megabytes.

It’s only in four out of 19 tests that the Foxconn GeForce 7950 GT 256MB has been indeed considerably slower than the ordinary GeForce 7950 GT, namely in Call of Duty 2 , Serious Sam 2 , Gothic 3 , and Company of Heroes . But Serious Sam 2 is known to have an immoderate appetite due to very uneconomic rendering methods, and in Gothic 3 the difference could only be seen in 1920x1200 resolution in which the average speed of the GeForce 7950 GT with enabled 4x FSAA is less than 20fps. Thus, there are actually only two games left - Call of Duty 2 and Company of Heroes – that can really use more than 256 megabytes of graphics memory. In all other cases there is no benefit at all from 512MB of memory or it is seen only in high resolutions when graphics cards of the GeForce 7950 GT class cannot maintain a comfortable frame rate anymore. Graphics cards of a higher class already come with this amount of memory, or even more, so they don’t face that problem.

Of course, there are many more games available than what we use in our tests, yet we think 19 games is enough to reveal a trend. It is obvious here: 512 megabytes of graphics memory does not provide much benefit for a performance-mainstream graphics card like GeForce 7950 GT. Most of today’s games don’t really need more than 256MB. Or they need more memory in extreme display modes only when the GPU performance and the memory bandwidth are too low for comfortable play. You will really need 512MB of memory if you are going to play such games as Call of Duty 2 or Company of Heroes with enabled full-screen antialiasing.

Your choice should depend on the price factor: if the model with 256MB of graphics memory proves to be just a little cheaper than its 512MB counterpart, you should buy the latter. But if it is much cheaper, you should take the 256MB version, especially if it is clocked at increased frequencies, like the described Foxconn FV-N79GM2D2-HPOC: the difference in the amount of memory will generally be compensated with interest by the increased frequencies.

The Foxconn FV-N79GM2D2-HPOC is a good product. It comes with a high-quality and quiet cooling system, offers increased performance over the reference card and has good accessories, particularly a gamepad.

The Gigabyte GV-NX795T512H-RH is worthy of our praise, too. Having a non-standard PCB design, this card was 100% stable throughout our tests, delivering the performance of the reference GeForce 7950 GT and boasting good overclockability. Besides that, it features a highly efficient and high-quality cooler from Zalman and a copy of Civilization 4 as part of the bundled software. The only serious downside of the Gigabyte product is its rather high level of noise.

Gigabyte GV-NX795T512H-RH

Highs:

  • Large video memory compared against Radeon X1900 XT 256MB;
  • Excellent overclocking potential;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Efficient cooling system – Zalman VF700-AlCu;
  • Compact size compared against Radeon X1900 XT/X1950 Pro;
  • Full version of Civilization IV game bundled with the card.

Lows:

  • Lower quality anisotropic filtering than that of the AMD solutions;
  • No simultaneous support for FSAA and FP HDR;
  • High level of generated noise.

Foxconn FV-N79GM2D2-HPOC

Highs:

  • Higher performance due to preliminary overclocking;
  • Low noise;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Compact and efficient cooling system;
  • Compact size compared against Radeon X1900 XT/X1950 Pro;
  • High quality gamepad bundled with the card.

Lows:

  • Sometimes yields to GeForce 7950 GT with 512MB of memory;
  • Lower quality anisotropic filtering than that of the AMD solutions;
  • No simultaneous support for FSAA and FP HDR;
  • Low overclocking potential.
 
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