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XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 570M XXX review

XFX GeForce 7950 GX2 570M 1GB DDR3 XXX

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Technological Rat Race

Technological Rat Race

A prominent local blogger generated much commentary in the blogosphere after his satire lamenting the price of progress and cost of living in Singapore received a typically humorless retort from the authorities. While we are not getting into that issue here, it reminded us of the technological progress made in 3D graphics. From the very first appearance of 3D graphics accelerators for PCs from now defunct names like 3dfx and Rendition, the obvious graphical improvements quickly lead to both hardware and software developers working together to enable more realistic and immersive graphics. It was the beginning of an era. 3dfx was the first to market dual graphics card to increase 3D performance with their version of SLI but they went bankrupt within a couple of years. Its competitor NVIDIA acquired the remnants and reinvented the SLI brand with its own take on the multi-GPU concept.

One glance at any modern 3D game will convince anyone of the technological progress made since those early days. The goal towards ever-greater photo-realism has continued unabated and while the latest games may look amazing, the cost of getting a top end graphics card is probably as high as ever. For those who can still remember, a pair of Voodoo 2 for SLI cost around US$600 and well, that happens to be quite similar (inflation not withstanding) to NVIDIA's latest SLI advancement, the US$599 GeForce 7950 GX2, which combines two GPUs onto a single card ostensibly but both GPUs have their own PCB. Its main achievement however, has to be how NVIDIA has finally managed to do away with the requirement of a SLI compatible motherboard. This will definitely lower the barriers to entry for extreme graphics performance, though most enthusiasts who would consider getting the GeForce 7950 GX2 would most likely have a SLI motherboard.

In a sense, there has been unbelievable progress in the industry but the bar has also been raised correspondingly. And so the race will continue, as software developers will almost always find a use for more silicon while the hardware geeks will stretch the engineering limits of their products. As for the enthusiasts, the mantra seems to be - if you make it, they will buy it. That's why expensive high-end products have always found a market, niche it may be. And one vendor, XFX, recognizes this niche and its overclocked GeForce 7950 GX2 caters particularly to this breed of power users. For the gaming and hardware fanatics, here's a look at XFX's faster than usual GeForce 7950 GX2 card: