XpertVision GeForce 7900GS Sonic 256MB

The XpertVision GeForce 7900GS Sonic 256MB

The XpertVision GeForce 7900GS Sonic 256MB

That large, two-slot cooler is probably the most prominent feature on the XpertVision Sonic. It means that the XpertVision will take up an adjacent expansion slot. One may ask why the need for such an aggressive cooler and the answer is, as in most cases, for better heat dissipation and lower noise output. These two issues have confounded graphics manufacturers forever and while XpertVision's take on it may not be perfect - sacrificing an expansion slot may be too extreme for some - we have to admit that in terms of noise at least, the Sonic gets it right. This is a very quiet card that reminds us of the cooler on the GeForce 7900 GTX.

The layout of the capacitors and power transistors on the XpertVision is different from the NVIDIA reference board. Again, this practice is similar to the other Sonic boards we have seen.

1.2ns DDR3 memory modules are used instead of the slower 1.4ns found on most GeForce 7900 GS cards. The extra allowance should enable higher overclocking on the XpertVision.

The XpertVision is overclocked out of the box and compared to the competition, the clock speeds are quite typical. The 500MHz core is a fairly common clock speed among overclocked variants, as it is a safe yet distinct speed. The DDR3 memory is at 1400MHz DDR. The specifications listed on XpertVision's website lists the DDR3 memory on the Sonic as 1.4ns but the ones we found on our review unit (as well as those from the current batch with our local distributor) are the higher performing 1.2ns memory chips. For the casual user, this slight difference will not matter but for enthusiasts planning to overclock, the better spec'd memory chips are just asking to be overclocked. However, looking at the official specifications, there's a possibility that the 1.2ns versions could be a special and limited batch that may not be repeated (the Palit GeForce 7900GS Sonic also shows 1.4ns on its website and corresponds with the actual card). So if that's your target, you should check carefully before purchasing. For those not too critical, be it 1.2 or 1.4ns versions, both definitely offer good tolerance for overclocking as we've found from experience.

As is the XpertVision/Palit tradition, the better known Rubycon brand of capacitors are preferred over other generic brands. However, the NVIDIA reference board did come with solid capacitors, which are probably better and more expensive too.

Since HDCP support is not standard for the GeForce 7900 GS and there are no indications otherwise on the XpertVision packaging, we are certain that HDCP support is not present on this card.

HDCP support is not a standard feature on the GeForce 7900 GS and with no hint of it on the packaging or website of the XpertVision GeForce 7900GS Sonic, we have to assume that this is not present. Although this feature can be found on other overclocked or special edition GeForce 7900 GS, it does not make or break the card. If you really need it, there are other alternatives available. For the enthusiasts who upgrade their hardware often, HDCP support shouldn't be that important since the High Definition content hasn't exactly arrived yet and by the time such content is widely available, DirectX 10 cards should be the new standard.

XpertVision managed to provide a competent bundle to go along with its hardware wizardry. It may not be ranked among the more luxurious graphics card packages but nonetheless the basics are provided. A decent DVD playback application and a recent RPG game, SpellForce 2 should satisfy most consumers. Together with a modest selection of accessories, XpertVision does just about enough. Here then are the items in our package:

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • 6-pin PCIe to 4-pin Molex power plug converter
  • Driver CD
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • User Manual
  • CyberLink Power DVD 6.0
  • SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (full game)

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