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NVIDIA's new 7900GT reference design

7900GT GPU Mockup

4-pin leads ready for an audio connector

PCIe power connector
We've uncovered some details about NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 7900GT

Surprise, surprise – here is NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 7900GT.  NVIDIA’s newest GPU, dubbed G71, will debut at CeBit 2006 in Hannover in a few weeks.

NVIDIA's new 7900GT is expected to use new Samsung GDDR3 memory that's reported to be operating at 1.4ns but frequencies are unconfirmed at this point. In contrast, ATI's X1800XT uses GDDR3 memory with a 1.2ns time running at 1400MHz. NVIDIA's 7800GTX 512 uses memory running at an effective rate of 1.7GHz.

We have a few images of the 7900GT from NVIDIA (right).  The 7900GT will feature a single slot cooling design, although the cooler demonstrated in the images we captured is not the stock cooler that will appear on the final design. An interesting engineering element on the reference board includes a set of 4-pin leads for what we are told is for an audio jack -- or at least the leads for an audio jack. If it is indeed an input for audio signals (appears to be SPDIF), then for upcoming graphics cards that boast HDMI connectivity, this would definitely make sense. As for the current reference design, there is no such connector featured and we will have to wait for final designs to see what happens.

NVIDIA roadmaps have confirmed to us that the 90nm 7900GT will feature 24 pipelines with a 450MHz core clock. Like the GeForce 7800GTX series, the 7900GT comes with this warning:

Note: For two GeForce 7900 GT-based graphics cards running in NVIDIA SLI configurations, a minimum 450W system power supply (with 12V rating of 26A) is recommended.

Quick specifications for GeForce 7900GT from NVIDIA documents:

  • PCIe native
  • 450MHz core frequency
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • 40GB/sec. memory bandwidth
  • 11B pixels/sec. fill rate
  • ~900M vertices/sec.
  • 24 pixels per cycle
  • Built in dual-link DVI support for 2560x1600 resolution

More to come. 

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The guys at Beyond3D
By Sharky974 on 2/21/2006 5:47:15 AM , Rating: 4
Claim this is clearly a photo of a 7600. They've compared them.

Come on Kristopher!

RE: The guys at Beyond3D
By Sharky974 on 2/21/2006 5:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah it's a 7600. Not 7900.

The resistors are in the same places exactly.

RE: The guys at Beyond3D
By Sharky974 on 2/21/2006 5:49:26 AM , Rating: 2
RE: The guys at Beyond3D
By geo1 on 2/21/2006 8:53:41 AM , Rating: 2

The chip has to be 7600. Not only is it a dead-ringer for the 7600 shot at VR. Not only does it have the same pattern around it as 6600. It also just isn't big enough to support a 256-bit bus.

Now, the pcb? Dunno, that looks more like 7900. Why would someone drop a 7600 package in a 7900 pcb? Good question.

RE: The guys at Beyond3D
By KristopherKubicki on 2/21/2006 8:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
It might be a dummy chip. I am posting the 7600 now and you can decide for yourself. It is a very different PCB.


RE: The guys at Beyond3D
By Whiz on 2/21/2006 3:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
Something is weird in the 7900 images because you can see a number of the differential pairs along the bottom terminate in the outer ring of BGA pads. Clearly the chip that's on there is not using at least the outer 3 rings of pads which doesn't seem right to me.

4-pin audio connector?
By Rys on 2/21/2006 11:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe Kris needs to book himself in with an optician, but that '4-pin audio' header is 2-pin, and for a fan.

RE: 4-pin audio connector?
By Rys on 2/21/2006 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe I need the opticians and what Kris really means is the unconnected pads just beside it?


RE: 4-pin audio connector?
By noxx83 on 2/22/2006 1:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
that is NOT a connector SPDIF but a connector for tachimeter fans

RE: 4-pin audio connector?
By Xenoterranos on 2/24/2006 1:27:09 AM , Rating: 1
Wow. Tell me you posted this before the guy above you corrected himself.

The die is small
By Sharky974 on 2/21/2006 3:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
Means it's weak.

This could be a good value though, at a low enough price.

RE: The die is small
By Sharky974 on 2/21/2006 3:56:33 AM , Rating: 2
A 650 mhz 24 pipe 7800 would be competitive in some cases with X1900XTX, while losing overall.

But as small as the die is, it's got to be dirt cheap for Nvidia. They could really drop the price low. I'm thinking top end card in the 300's..this would be nice in it's own way.

RE: The die is small
By ComatoseDelirium on 2/24/2006 1:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
HAHA like that would ever @#*$ing happen.

Audio Out?
By Shinei on 2/21/2006 3:53:40 AM , Rating: 2
Has nVidia brought back Soundstorm as an integrated element of their GPUs? Or is this something completely unrelated and I'm just fishing for the nerdgasm of Soundstorm...
And hopefully the 7900GT will push the 7800GTX line into a more reasonable price bracket (read: <$350). :)

RE: Audio Out?
By AggressorPrime on 2/21/2006 7:04:31 AM , Rating: 2
It is an audio jack to receive audio from like an X-Fi card. It can't be used until HDMI is made standard. It is for HDMI because audio and video runs through that type of connection.

RE: Audio Out?
By CZroe on 2/21/2006 4:43:34 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that it was nVidia's intentions to eventually integrate SS into graphics cards for an all-in-one HDMI device (Hint hint, PCI is too slow for SS, but AGP and PCIe aren't ;)). After abandoning those plans, they simply created a pass-through.

I sure hope they make an AGP HDMI card to replace my 6600GT with... My dual-tuner Media Center PC is a rat's-nest! Some other people with an old nForce2 MCP-T-based MCE machine may have it even easier if their motherboard uses a slot + jumper for SPDIF output (Just connect the pins to the VGA instead and ELIMINATE all un-needed jacks from the back (Keyboard, Mouse, Printer, serial, DVI, VGA, etc).

Time to invest in some port caps. ;)

By Crescent13 on 2/21/2006 1:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
This doesn't look like it's going to be all that much. 7800GTX is 430MHz with 24 pipelines and BFG makes a preoverclocked one at 460MHz. Is the only difference between the 7900GT and the 7800GTX the HDMI audio support and the faster clock speed? I hope the 7900GTX isn't as dissapointing. My 7800GT @ 510/1250 would be faster than the 7900GT @ stock.

RE: I thought the 7900 cards were supposed to be fast
By Pino on 2/21/2006 2:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think the big point here is PRICE not performance!

Look at this PCB design, note how simple is the power circuit and how small is the GPU.

This baby can be really cheap!

By wuZheng on 2/21/2006 4:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm, correct me if I'm totally wrong on this but isn't the 7900 series supposed to be nVidia's new beast?? I've been hearing rumors about 32 pipe chips from just about everywhere and, yea I did expect something more PERFORMANCE oriented. Price would be reserved for the 7600GT, but if these specs are final, the card is basically a 7800GTX 256 sold at the price of a 7800GT or less. Hopefully the fully fledged version (slated to be @ 650Mhz core) is more impressive, but at this point nobobdys expecting more pipes.

By xyster on 2/21/2006 2:30:41 AM , Rating: 2
In contrast, NVIDIA's X1800XT uses GDDR3 memory with a 1.2ns time running at 1400MHz.

wow, nVidia has an X1800XT?!


RE: typo
By Tuan Nguyen on 2/21/2006 2:34:43 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks :) fixed.

Something doesn't add up
By Jep4444 on 2/21/2006 10:27:35 AM , Rating: 2
940M vertices/sec. is impossinle at 450mhz, it'd need a 470mhz clock to do that but a 10.8B pixels/sec. fillrate is just fine with the 450mhz spec(and is impossible at 470 for that matter), it appears the mVertices count should be 900M vertices/sec.

also the bandwidth is a slightly bizarre number although not completely impossible(requires 1320mhz RAM)

RE: Something doesn't add up
By coldpower27 on 2/21/2006 7:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well it depends, you do remember about Nvidia's ability to have independent gemometry, ROP and Pixel clocks.

940 MV/s is entirely possible, if clcoked at 470MHZ which wouldn't be a stretech at all, the 7900 GTX seems to have 1450MV/s which would correspond to 725MHZ geometry clock, but it has 655MHZ Core clock. For Nvidia this configuration is not impossible.

By bnme on 2/21/2006 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
Is this card suppose to be faster than the 7800GT or slower, or possibly even faster than the 7800GTX?

By Mr Perfect on 2/21/2006 6:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
The 7800 GT has 20 pixel shaders and a default clocks of 400C/500M. These specs say the 7900 GT has 24 pixel shaders and default core clock of 450MHz. It's actually looking a lot like a 7800 GTX 256. If it can fit into or near the $300 - $320 price range that the 7800 GT is in now, it should be a nice card.

By bummelch on 2/21/2006 4:02:45 AM , Rating: 2
hi there,

think the CeBit is in Ha nn<b/>over.
Quite an interesting card. Hope it will push the price of other cards and force ATI to draw levels. IMHO the x1600 cards and below aren't worth buying.


My predictions:
By Hacp on 2/21/2006 10:32:40 AM , Rating: 2
7800GTX running at 450MHZ with 32 pipes. Let the games begin!

By yacoub on 2/21/2006 11:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
If they release this card with these specs at $400USD and reviews show it performs better than the current 7800GTX (256MB), it will sell well. Within a few weeks it should also drop to $350 which is a nice pricepoint for it.

What matters most to me right now though, is what the cooling looks like. If it's the typical crappy, loud hsf setup most GPUs use these days, I'll wait until Gigabyte or Asus or someone else comes out with a more quietly cooled version.

GT before GTX?
By Rock Hydra on 2/21/2006 12:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
So, this is just the GT version...correct? There is going to be a GTX version right, which is probably going to be more competitive with the X1900XTX? Or did they change the meanings of the suffix yet again?

By threEchelon on 2/21/2006 12:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
NVIDIA roadmaps have confirmed to us that the 90nm 7900GT will feature 24 pipelines with a 450MHz core clock.

So the only difference is 90nm and HDCP?

By Assimilator87 on 2/21/2006 1:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone's been waiting for the 700Mhz 32 pipeline monster to show ATi how its done, but now we're just getting this junk which will only be marginally faster than the 7800 series. I'm so disappointed right now, even though I won't buy another video card 'till DirectX 10 support is built.

X1800 XT
By coldpower27 on 2/21/2006 7:21:32 PM , Rating: 2

Memory speed of the X1800 XT is 1500MHZ not 1400MHZ.

By monster64 on 2/25/2006 10:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone is complaining about how it will only have 24 pipelines. Did people forget that the x1800 xl has pretty much exactly the same specs as a x800 xt on paper, yet it is a lot better in reality? I'm sure the 90nm process isn't the only thing different here. That would be pointless. All we can do now is wait and see.

By toattett on 2/26/2006 4:54:30 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone is complaining about how it will only have 24 pipelines. Did people forget that the x1800 xl has pretty much exactly the same specs as a x800 xt on paper, yet it is a lot better in reality? I'm sure the 90nm process isn't the only thing different here. That would be pointless. All we can do now is wait and see.

It's because that R520 is a new design as opposed to G71 which is just a refresh of G70.

By Griswold on 2/21/2006 8:07:09 AM , Rating: 1
I want to see cards with Samsungs new 80nm GDDR4 0,6ns 1600MHz real clock speed (3200 effective), seeing how well these cards seem to scale with more memory bandwith in current games.

ATI is ready for it, as their current memory controller supports GDDR4 specs. Wonder if Nvidia has that ace up their sleeve as well.

Samsung expects to commence mass production around the end of Q2 - could that be any indication for when the next generation of GPU's arrives?

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