The GeForce 7600GT debuted with the GeForce 7900GTX and 7900GT. It is built on Nvidia's latest 90 nm process. The target for this card is the midrange consumer market or, in practical terms, people who love to game, but have restricted budgets for graphics hardware. The design for this segment is the same as the GeForce 6600GT that launched after the 7800GTX. Nvidia wanted a new card for the masses. Powered by the G73 graphics core, it has about half of the power of the G71 in the 7900 series cards. It has five vertex shaders and 12 pixel shaders.
We will focus on the GT models, as the GS versions are clocked down versions of the GT. The GS has a passive cooling solution and is more a HTPC card than a gaming product. Even when narrowing your search for 7600GT cards, you will need to pay attention to the various model numbers available for each card. XFX has three separate variations of practically the same card. The differences are only in clock speeds for the graphics core and memory.
We received the PV-T73G-UDD3 that has a 590 MHz core and 800 MHz memory (1.6 GHz DDR) frequency speeds. This card is the fastest 7600GT model available from XFX and falls under its XXX (Triple X) branding. It features a 128 bit memory bus with 256 MB GDDR3 memory modules, is HDTV ready providing 1080i output support and can be connected to a second GeForce 7600GT card for SLI operation. It has Dual Link DVI out, so this card can power 30" monitors at a resolution of 2560x1600. Equally, the card has 400 MHz RAMDACs to run dual 2048x1526 CRT monitors.
When spending a lot of money on graphics hardware, you want to make sure the card is backed by an ironclad warranty. XFX offers what it calls a Double Lifetime Warranty for its GeForce 6 and 7 series cards. This means that they will repair or replace cards that are defective. If you sell or give your card to someone else, they also are protected under the warranty. All owners need to do is register online with XFX. To note, a line saying "overclocking will void your warranty" is in there as well as "improper installation" warnings and a host of other disclaimers. However, most people certainly aren't planning on cashing in on a graphics warranty. This warranty is the same for all other XFX cards in the review.
Before we move on, there is one great design point of the XFX card - and one drawback. The positive is that XFX added a support bar that runs the length of the card to add rigidity to the entire card. This makes it a good card for LAN party gamers, as the card should do better in transport.
The negative design element is the small high speed fan on the cooler. When in 2D mode, the card is quiet, but when a 3D application is launched the fan ramps up the speed to increase cooling. Additional cooling is great, but the noise level is more than noticeable. This is not an XFX-specific issue, as most GeForce 7900GT cards come with the standard air cooler.