TABLE OF CONTENTS
It will be a small article, we'll just inform our readers about the existence of such cards. That's because GeForce 7900GS and 8800GTS cards have been reviewed already. And our today's cards are no different from the reference models.
FOXCONN is well known on the Russian market. But mostly owing to motherboards, PC cases, and various cooling systems, PSUs, etc. The company has been into video cards for a long time already, but they used to be manufactured as outsourcing only (i.e. ordered by various companies) and were never sold under its own trademark. We can say, of course, that Leadtek and TUL, directly dependent on FOXCONN, are actually selling what is manufactured at the plants of this IT giant. But these two companies are not completely absorbed, and FOXCONN can dictate its will only within certain limits. That's why Leadtek and TUL work independently to some degree.
Nevertheless, we can see the star of Leadtek paling. We'll talk about this sad issue later, when we describe cards from this company. But the fact remains, company's sales in Russia have dropped. It almost coincided with the appearance of FOXCONN products - we mean video cards, of course. So we can see a connection between these events.
So, video cards from FOXCONN. Only middle end and budget solutions offer individual designs. Expensive products, GeForce 7900 GTX and higher, are still bought from NVIDIA. They are just labeled, bundled, and packaged by FOXCONN. Interestingly, some of these cards sold by NVIDIA as ready products, not just chips or GPU+memory, are actually manufactured at FOXCONN plants. So this card may be a sterling product from this company - manufactured and sold by FOXCONN. It just passed through NVIDIA. Complete reference design, of course - no modifications.
So, let's examine two video cards: one of them represents the Mid-End segment, the second - High-End.
Photos are just another proof of the reference design. So there is no point in repeating ourselves. GeForce 7900GS is based on GeForce 7900GT (it just has a cut-down GPU), even their frequencies are identical. Simple design: chips are arranged in a semi-circle around the heart of the card, they are all on the front side of the PCB. The card requires external power, so it's equipped with an external power connector.
The 8800GTS-based card has a PCB with a 384-bit bus. But it actually uses only 320 bit, because two chips are missing, just empty seats. That's one of the ways to cut down a High-End solution to make it cheaper. We should talk about lines of video cards, why they are manufactured, and how. We'll do it in the next articles.
Let's return to our "muttons".
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:
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%. What concerns HDTV and other trendy video features, we are going to sort them out as soon as possible.
Now about the cooling systems. There is nothing to describe. Foxconn GeForce 7900 GS 256MB PCI-E is equipped with a trite cooler that affects only the core. It's a small closed heatsink with an off-center fan that drives air through it. Efficiency of this cooler is improved by copper alloys used in the heatsink. Unlike the same device in the 7600GT, which gets very noisy during initialization, this cooler is quiet. You will hear only noise from "third-party" sources, for example from a snoring gamer asleep on the keyboard.
Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB PCI-E demonstrates a more powerful and imposing device, which channels the heat from the GPU and memory chips out of a PC case. The turbine rotates rather slowly, so despite the power consumption of a lustre, the card is quiet and does not get very hot. However, you still cannot remove it from a computer right after power off - it'll burn your fingers. When I wanted to replace 8800GTS for another card at once, I had to cool it with a fan for two minutes for its temperature to get below the threshold of pain.
Installation and Drivers
VSync is disabled.
Test results: performance comparison
We used the following test applications:
Video cards' performance
Foxconn GeForce 7900 GS 256MB PCI-E is a usual representative of the numerous 7900GS family. Yep, we are inclined to say it at first glance, because the card offers no interesting features. But let's not forget that (1) the bundle includes a good joystick; (2) the price for this card is generally a tad lower than the average (we mean FOXCONN products). So you might have safely considered this device as one of your choices for your PC. But for RADEON X1950 PRO - a better choice, if their prices are identical. It offers anisotropy of higher quality, HDR+AA (this combo can be used in such cards). Besides, performance of AMD products slumps less, when you enable HDR. The choice is up to our readers.
Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB PCI-E - we can actually say the same words about the lack of interesting features, except for the bundle. But there are some nuances here: AMD hasn't offered a worthy competitor to this card yet. So the GTS card is very good in its price segment, it lacks drawbacks of the previous NVIDIA series. But there are still some problems with drivers. NVIDIA should be ashamed of selling cards at crazy prices. And there are still some gripes and artifacts in new games (all forums are trumpeting it!) We understand that MS Windows Vista requires updated drivers, but WinXP users shouldn't be abandoned!
Let's hope that the situation will change for the better in the nearest future. Users do not buy such products for three-six months. They buy them for long. So it's very important to supply them with bug-free software as soon as possible.
Both cards worked well, we had no gripes with them. A piece of advice to FOXCONN - bundles are important, but the company should also add proprietary features. FOXCONN is a large and wealthy company after all. It can afford modding, adding illumination to a cooler, or even replacing it with a more interesting, efficient, and quiet solution. Especially it concerns the 7900GS. Saving money and launching a usual reference card without any customizations is very strange. Or bundles should be enlarged. Along with the joystick, the company might have added various presents. Let's hope that the new cards will change this situation.
And the choice is up to our readers, as always. We can only inform you about this or that product. But we do not give direct instructions which products to choose.
You can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards in our 3Digest.
Our Excellent Package award
is given to...
We express our thanks to
for the provided video cards
Andrey Vorobiev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 29, 2007
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