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BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E

September 29, 2006



TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Introduction
  2. Video cards' features
  3. Testbed configurations, benchmarks
  4. Test results
  5. Conclusions



There once lived VisionTek, but it specialized only in the American market. We all know how overheated this market is. A company cannot possibly live on America only. So all former hot-shots that used to be looking down their noses at Europe and Asia are now going all out to get there. They have to, so to speak...

OK, it would happen later, but at that time VisionTek (the old company) worked only with NVIDIA and manufactured products only for the North American market. And then the company turned bankrupt, burst like a soap-bubble. There is something in common between the deaths of ELSA, Visiontek, disappearance of Hercules video cards... When the reference design is not modified at all, the companies just buy reference cards and try to resell them at incredible prices, broadcasting through local media about the exceptional quality of their products. It's impossible. People will believe for several years, but then they will fall to thinking. Why pay through your nose, when you can get the same products from Gigabyte, MSI and other companies at cheaper prices. Besides, their bundles are richer.

So, the new BFG company was founded on the ruins of old VisionTek. But without the VisionTek brand. The former owner managed to sell it, so a new company with this name manufactures and sells ATI-based video cards now. That's why you shouldn't mix up the old VisionTek and the new one.

Yep, everything had to be done from scratch. Everything. From scratch. Fortunately, the company still had old bridges, liaisons, so the new channels were formed fast. The company remained loyal to NVIDIA. The latter helped BFG to grow. The new management just estimated the situation right and decided to penetrate into other markets, European in the first place. By the way, we should also mention the 5-year warranty, it's real. You can make sure it's true in all stores that sell accelerators from this manufacturer. Though 3DFuzion cards are backed up by a two-year warranty (you will read about it below).

Let's start the ball rolling. BFG manufactures all its cards in China on a rented plant. It has nothing to do with Hi-End cards though - they are manufactured by NVIDIA (to be more exact, it places orders to third-party plants, like Flextronix.) There is one common peculiarity for all series - each family contains overclocked models marked with the OC suffix (overclocked). All such cards are tested individually and overclocked via BIOS, that is you don't need any additional overclocking utilities.

Let's examine several video cards from BFG. Our lab tested five such accelerators. One of them comes under the 3DFuzion trademark. It's a subdivision of BFG. This trademark will be used for usual video cards without overclocking or modifications. It's the second trademark of BFG.

Video Cards



BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7300 GT (G73)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 375 MHz (nominal - 350 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical/effective): 333 (666) MHz (nominal - 333 (666) MHz)

Memory bus width: 128bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 4

Number of pixel pipelines: 8

Number of texture processors: 8

Number of ROPs: 4

Dimensions: 170x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: blue.

Output connectors: VGA (d-Sub), DVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7600 GT (G73)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 575 MHz (nominal - 560 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical/effective): 722 (1444) MHz (nominal - 700 (1400) MHz)

Memory bus width: 128bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 5

Number of pixel pipelines: 12

Number of texture processors: 12

Number of ROPs: 8

Dimensions: 180x100x32mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: blue.

Output connectors: 2 x DVI (1 x Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7600 GT (G73)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 560 MHz (nominal - 560 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical/effective): 700 (1400) MHz (nominal - 700 (1400) MHz)

Memory bus width: 128bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 5

Number of pixel pipelines: 12

Number of texture processors: 12

Number of ROPs: 8

Dimensions: 180x100x32mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: blue.

Output connectors: 2 x DVI (1 x Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7900 GT (G71)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 475 MHz (nominal - 450 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical/effective): 680 (1360) MHz (nominal - 660 (1320) MHz)

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 8

Number of pixel pipelines: 24

Number of texture processors: 24

Number of ROPs: 16

Dimensions: 170x100x15mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: green.

Output connectors: 2 x DVI (2 x Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.




BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E
GPU: GeForce 7900 GTX (G71)

Interface: PCI-Express x16

GPU frequencies: 670 MHz (nominal - 650 MHz)

Memory frequencies (physical/effective): 820 (1640) MHz (nominal - 800 (1600) MHz)

Memory bus width: 256bit

Number of vertex pipelines: 8

Number of pixel pipelines: 24

Number of texture processors: 24

Number of ROPs: 16

Dimensions: 210x100x31mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a video card).

PCB color: green.

Output connectors: 2 x DVI (2 x Dual-Link), TV-Out.

VIVO: not available

TV-out: integrated into GPU.






BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR2 SDRAM memory, allocated in 8 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips (GDDR2). 2.8ns memory access time, which corresponds to 350 (700) MHz.




BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E ; 3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.




BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
The video card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.




BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E
The video card has 512 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.1ns memory access time, which corresponds to 900 (1800) MHz.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600 DDR2
BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT
BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX


Comparison with the reference design, back view
BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600 DDR2
BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT
BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX


We can see well that all video cards are based on reference designs, so there is nothing to analyze here. You can read the details in our baseline article about the new 7600-7900 series.

We have nothing to say about the 7900 GTX / 7900 GT cards - these cards are not manufactured by BFG, just reference cards. The 7300/7600 cards are manufactured by the company. We can see that the 7300GT copies its design from the geForce 6600 with DDR2 memory. Indeed, there is no point in reinventing the wheel. Besides, all G73 processors are pin-compatible with the NV43 series. GeForce 7600 GT cards are also based on the reference design.

The cards have TV-Out with a unique jack. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV-set via S-Video or RCA You can read about the TV-Out in more detail here.

Analog monitors with d-Sub (VGA) interface are connected with special DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit x85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface

What concerns MPEG2 playback features (DVD-Video), we analyzed this issue in 2002. Little has changed since that time. CPU load during video playback on all modern video cards does not exceed 25%.

Now about the cooling systems. There is no point in examining coolers on all the cards but the 7300GT, they are of the reference design and we already reviewed them before.

And the 7300GT is equipped with a usual rectangular cooler with a fan in the center. Theoretically, these cards will do well with passive cooling as well. So this system is excessive. But let's not forget that this card is slightly overclocked. The cooler is quiet, its fan rotates slowly. Such devices may get noisy in time, but you cannot possibly tell whether it will happen or not.

Bundle

3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers, utilities and other software, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter. As well as a composite output adapter.


BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E; BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E ; BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E
A similar bundle, but with two DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. The 7900 GT also comes with an external power adapter.


BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E
User's manual, CD with drivers, DVI-to-d-Sub and S-Video-to-RCA adapters, TV cords, composite output adapter. And a BONUS: a brand XL T-shirt from BFG and teflon-coated stickers for a mouse (to make it glide faster, smoother, and even glamorously). I already admired this bundle in the 7950 GX2 review.

This bonus is mentioned on the box.









Packages.

BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E

All the boxes except for the 7900 GTX are made in the same style.










BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E

There is a window to show off the card itself and another one at the back to show the serial number of the card.










3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E

Only 3DFuzion is not honored with such a window. However, I have already mentioned that this subdivision manufactures cheaper cards.







BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E

Each box lists characteristics of a GPU and the card as well as frequencies (compared to the nominal value), which is very important.










BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E

All components are arranged into sections. Cards are secured with plastic studs.









Installation and Drivers

Testbed configuration:

  • Athlon 64 (939Socket) based computer
    • CPU: AMD Athlon 4000+ (2400MHz) (L2=1024K)
    • Motherboard: MSI K8N Diamond Plus based on the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI X16 chipset
    • RAM: 2 GB DDR SDRAM 400MHz (CAS (tCL)=2.5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=3; Row Precharge (tRP)=3; tRAS=6)
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA

  • Operating system: Windows XP SP2 DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI Drivers (PCI-E video cards) CATALYST 6.8; NVIDIA Drivers 91.33.

VSync is disabled.

We analyzed operating temperatures of each card. We used the FEAR game to load the accelerators.

BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E




We detected no deviations, the temperature is normal.

BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E




The same thing. By the way, the cooler is a tad noisy.

3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E




We decided to use this card to see what will happen, if the fan speed (the cooler is just like in the previous card) is reduced by 25%. There will be sure no noise. But the temperature plummeted above 100°C (on the core). That's intolerable, so you have to put up with a noisy cooling system or to change it.

BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E




We have no gripes with it.

Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Splinter Cell Chaos of Theory v.1.04 (Ubisoft) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum test settings, shaders 3.0 (for NVIDIA cards)/shaders 2.0 (for ATI cards); HDR OFF!

  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, demo (ixbt01 . The tests were carried out with maximum quality, option -dxlevel 90, presets for video card types are removed from dxsupport.cfg.

  • FarCry 1.33 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, demo from the Research level (-DEVMODE startup option), Very High test settings.

  • DOOM III (id Software/Activision) — OpenGL, multitexturing, test settings — High Quality (ANIS8x), demo ixbt1 (33MB!). We have a sample batch file to start the game automatically with increased speed and reduced jerking (precaching) d3auto.rar. (DO NOT BE AFRAID of the black screen after the first menu, that's how it should be! It will last 5-10 seconds and then the demo should start)

  • 3DMark05 1.20 (FutureMark) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — trilinear,

  • The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay 1.10 (Starbreeze/Vivendi) — OpenGL, multitexturing, maximum texture quality, Shader 2.0, demo 44.

    I wish to thank Rinat Dosayev (AKA 4uckall) and Alexei Ostrovski (AKA Ducche), who have created a demo for this game. I also want to thank Alexei Berillo AKA Somebody Else for his help.

  • F.E.A.R. v.1.02 (Multiplayer) (Monolith/Sierra) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum test settings, Soft shadows disabled.

  • Call Of Duty 2 DEMO (Ubisoft) — DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings — maximum, shaders 2.0, tested in Benchemall, demo and a startup script, readme contains necessary instructions



Summary performance diagrams

Attention! We don't publish the data on cards operating at higher frequencies for the following reasons: The difference between the standard and increased clocks is not large, so the performance difference is below 7% nearly in all cards under review. So our readers may estimate the rating of a certain card on their own (get used to reading the articles and analyzing the diagrams). You may download the results in Excel format (Office 2003) archived in RAR 3.0 or ZIP.






Conclusions

  1. BFG GeForce 7300 GT OC 256MB PCI-E is a product below $100. This card fairs very well in this segment. Slightly overclocked, it has an advantage over its competitors. The product offers very high quality. Even the 2D quality was perfect even in 1600x1200@85Hz (I repeat, we speak of the analog output of our sample and monitor).

  2. BFG GeForce 7600 GT OC 256MB PCI-E is a very good choice for those who want to get a Middle-End accelerator for less than $200. But it has a significant drawback. It's well known that the reference cooler is a tad noisy, though it's not that noticeable at first. But people like to install these cards into barebones, which quiet operation is very important. Our sample worked great, no gripes, 2D quality in 1600x1200 was remarkable.

  3. 3DFuzion GeForce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E is a standard card in the same segment, a complete copy of the reference design. Its cooler also demonstrates some problems. The rest will depend on its price. We had no gripes with it.

  4. BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB PCI-E. On the one hand, it is a usual 7900GT reference card with a usual cooler, which is evidently not to overclockers' liking. But on the other hand, this sample works at higher frequencies. What concerns the card itself, we had no gripes with its operation. Its 2D quality is also all right. It will all be up to the price. If it's not above the average level for such cards, this product is highly recommended.



  5. BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E is a reference card, so there is no point in elaborating. There is much written about the 7900 GTX already. But don't forget that this product is overclocked. Besides, it has a luxurious bundle and its price turned out to be not higher than for the other products. So this card is highly recommended. We had no gripes with it.

    Attention! According to multiple posts from various forums, there have recently appeared more defective GeForce 7900GTX cards, even those not overclocked by manufacturers. They freeze the operating system after some time (from 10 minutes to 1 hour) or cause inexplicable slowdowns, frequency drops without overheating problems, etc. Considering that none of NVIDIA's partners manufacture these cards independently - they are all manufactured by NVIDIA's orders on a plant, it looks very strange that the american company lost control of the product quality. These cards are very expensive. But note that defective cards may start malfunctioning after some time, which automatically makes it impossible for a user to have the card replaced, because many retailers follow the following principle: if it starts up and works, there is no need to replace it or run extensive tests. So you should be very careful, when you buy such a card. You should find out the replacement rules of a given retailer before you buy it.








You can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards in our 3Digest.








BFG GeForce 7900 GTX OC 512MB PCI-E gets our Excellent Package award (September).








ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900 Reference

NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900 Reference



We express our thanks to
BFG Russia

and Alexei Lebedev
for the provided video cards.

I'd also like to thank Igor Illarionov for his participation in the collage



PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by HIPER




                               Motherboard for the testbed is kindly provided by the company












Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

September 28, 2006



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