Nobody Is Perfect: Achilles’ Heels
As we have already mentioned, GeForce 7950 GX2 yielded to Radeon X1900 XTX only in three tests out of 20. These three exceptions are Half-Life 2, X3: Reunion and Project: Snowblind. However, if in the first two games it is the peculiarities of the game itself that determined Nvidia’s loss, then in the third game we have a great illustration of GeForce 7950 GX2’s weakness.
The thing is that since GeForce 7950 GX2 is in fact an SLI tandem put together on a single PCB using one PCI Express x16 slot, it has to rely solely on SLI support in the ForceWare driver and game engine. This is exactly the weak point I am talking about: if there is no appropriate support, the performance of the new solution may not only drop down to the level of a single GeForce 7900 GT selling for $299. It can drop even lower, like in Project: Snowblind. Although this is the only case we detected throughout this test session, no one is guaranteed to be safe from the same situation in any other game that will be coming out soon. I just hope that Nvidia will work closely with the game developers: the user who spent so much money of a piece of hardware has the right to get the best out of this purchase, really.
GeForce 7950 GX2 has a few other drawbacks. In particular, there are very few mainboards today that support this new Nvidia solution. As we have already mentioned, at the time we were working on this review, the list of mainboards supporting this graphics adapter featured only 39 mainboards, which is not much at all, keeping in mind that there are tons of models with PCI Express x16 support out there. Of course, the list will continue growing and hopefully it will happen fast enough, but the current situation with GeForce 7950 GX2 compatibility still leaves much to be desired. At the same time, Radeon X1900 XTX provides pretty high performance in most games with FSAA 4x setting and works flawlessly on almost any mainboard with PCI Express x16 slot.
Another drawback of the new GeForce 7950 GX2 is not a significant one but may cause nasty problems to some users. I am talking about multi-monitor configurations support. Since Nvidia SLI technology (like ATI CrossFire) supports only one display in case both GPUs are involved, the owners of multi-monitor configurations will have to switch from multi-GPU mode to multi-monitor mode every time they finish playing games and vice versa. Of course, if you often switch between games and any other work that requires multi-monitor support, this may become a very annoying issue for you.